Midsummer Night’s Dream fairy ritual for group

Midsummer falls on the summer solstice, on the shortest night of the year.

This is a time when evenings are long and hot, and days seem to stretch endlessly. If celebrating on the actual day of Midsummer is not possible, celebrate the festival on the Sunday, which is the day sacred to Helios, the God of the Sun.

If the rite is to take place outside, these staffs can usually be thrust straight into the ground. If, however, the rite is to take place inside, the staffs can either be held by the Priest/esses of the quarters, then laid down parallel to the edge of the Circle as each element is called in; or they can be stood in pails filled with sand or earth. As many members as possible have torches to hand (battery operated, not open flames).

If possible, the lights of their torches should be many different colours – this can be achieved with colored cellophane over the lenses.

Donations gathered in this rite – if it is a public / open ceremony – should go to a children’s charity, such as a children’s hospital or the Starlight Foundation.

titania

The ritual

In the middle of the circle stands a large glass bowl, filled with rosewater and with rose petals spread across the surface of the water.

The base of the glass bowl should be filled with glass beads, small coins and other shiny objects (shells are ideal). Just outside the Circle a Priestess, dressed as Fairy Queen Titania, rests with her Consort.

The Circle is drawn…

Fairies of the Wind
Of all things seen and unseen
Of the intellect, of the mind, of communication
Be with us now!

Fairies of the Flames
Of lust, passion, creativity, desire
Be with us now!

Fairies of the Waters
Of emotion, intuition, empathy, connection
Be with us now!

Fairies of the Earth
Of strength, wisdom, tradition, the body
Be with us now!

This Circle is cast
We are within the Fairy realm!

Let one Covenor recite the following:

Over hill, over dale,
Through bush, through briar,
Over park, over pale,
Through blood, through fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moone’s sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green.
The cowslips tall her pensioners be:
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours:
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.

Let a second Covenor recite the following:

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where ox-lips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;

Let a third Covenor recite the following:

I have been everywhere, faster than the moon
across the sky to serve the fairy queen.
I put the drops of dew upon the plants.
The tall goldenflowers are her bodyguards.
The spots that freckle the flowers are her jewels.
Now I must go find a dewdrop to hang on every flower.
Goodbye,I must go. Our queen and her elves are coming soon.

At this point, the Fairy Queen rises, and makes her way to the circle.

In the Eastern quarter of the Circle, two Covenors make a gateway with their hands and she passes through. They then sprinkle rose petals in her hair and before her feet.

One Covenor says the following:

Hush – the Fairy Queen enters!

The Consort says the following:

When the night is short and the evening warm
When the days seem to stretch endlessly
When the summer Solstice is born
My Fairy Queen has come to me
Sweet Titania, fairest of the fair
Bless all who have gathered in your honour here.

Titania says the following:

I thank you for your welcome
I thank you for your blessing
I ask now that you come forward, one by one
And bless others less fortunate with gifts of your own
As you give, make a wish
Then cast your blessing into the water.

One by one, the Covenors come forward, first to curtsy before Titania, then they cast small coins into the water and say or meditate on their wish.

Titania says the following:

I thank you for your gifts: they will go to make the Solstice bright
For those who have little, and who are in pain.
Giving is a blessed act: I thank you in their names.
In return, I give you the joys of summer:
Speak now, and tell me what summer means to you!

The Covenors now begin the rite of free-form speech, each randomly speaking of what summer means to them. Gradually, the random blessings of summer become the group whispering:

Summer is! Summer is! Summer is! Summer! Summer! Summer!

Titania says the following:

May your summer be all you hope for.
May your nights be long and blessed!
May the sun shine brightly on your days!

The rite is done. The Covenors guarding the quarters raise their staffs and say:

This Circle is open
But remains unbroken!
We send our blessings forth
So mote it be!


Image is John Simmons (1823-1876), “There Lies Titania”

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