Midsummer rite and spell for coven

This ritual is designed for a medium-sized group and is a lovely way to celebrate the hottest part of the year, when days are longest and nights shortest. 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.

At Midsummer, many countries and areas are under the restriction of total fire bans. This means no cauldron fires, no open flames and candles, and no bonfires.

Consequently, a different approach to the rites of Midsummer is needed, and it is quite different in feel to the rites traditionally celebrated at Sabbats such as Beltane.

This ritual marks the quarters of the Circle with staves decorated to represent the elements – Air (East), Fire (North), Water (West) and Earth (South).

These staffs are made from lengths of broomstick or wood, bound with ribbons in the traditional elemental colors and decorated with seasonal flowers. They can also be anointed with oils associated with the different elements and directions.

The staffs can either be held by the Priests/Priestesses of the quarters.

Volunteers from the group are needed for the following tasks and roles:

Air Priest/ess
Fire Priest/ess
Water Priest/ess
Earth Priest/ess
Group Priest/ess or Leader (this should be an experienced Witch)
Altar Priest/ess to hold the mortar while the ingredients are placed within.
Handmaiden/Page to collect the empty ingredient bowls, and return them to the Altar.
Members of the group who will cast the ingredients of the incense into the mortar for grinding
Members of the group to set and decorate the Altar.

Note: These roles can be doubled over as required.

W Heath Robinson, "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
W Heath Robinson, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

The rite

Requirements:

Elemental staves (see above)
Mortar and pestle
Ingredients for Midsummer Incense bags:
3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Benzoin
1 part Dragon’s Blood
1 part Thyme
1 part Rosemary
1 part Vervain
Small bags of red cloth
Short pieces of gold ribbon to tie the bags closed.
Cakes and Ale.

Before the ritual:

The staves should be given to the Elemental Priest/esses.
The mortar and pestle should be on the altar, and the altar should be set by members of the group.
Bowls containing the ingredients necessary for the Midsummer Incense should be given out to various members of the group who will take charge of each ingredient.

The Circle is cast in the following way by members of the group.

Air Priest/ess:

I call the Element of Air
The Wind, the Breeze, the Dawn, the East –
Be with us now!

Fire Priest/ess:

I call the Element of Fire
The Flame, the Passion, the Will, the North –
Be with us now!

Water Priest/ess:

I call the Element of Water
The Wave, the Tide, the Storm, the Sunset –
Be with us now!

Earth Priest/ess:

I call the Element of Earth
The Land, the Strength, the Body, the Midnight Hour –
Be with us now!

Group Priest/ess or Leader:

By Air, and Fire, and Water and Earth (group repeats line)
This Circle is Cast, So Mote It Be! (group repeats line).

Group Priest/ess or Leader:

Here at the time of Midsummer
When days are longest
When nights are shortest
And the Gods of the Sun are glorious in their power and strength
We make our offerings
And ask for aid in the coming year.
Please be seated.

The group sits and make themselves comfortable, except for the Altar Priestess.

The Altar Priest/ess takes Midsummer Incense bags from the Altar and passes them around the group deosil.

S/he then takes the mortar and pestle from the Altar and moves deosil around the group to the members who hold the ingredients necessary for the Incense.

One by one, they cast their ingredients into the mortar, stating the name of their ingredient. In return, she replies “Blessed Be.”

The Handmaiden/Page collects the empty bowls and places them beneath/beside the Altar.

Once the Altar Priest/ess has collected the ingredients for the Incense, s/he shows the mortar and pestle to the group (walking deosil around the group) with the following words:

Take your time to work the spell
As you grind, focus your blessings into the bowl
And cast your good wishes for the year to come.

The Altar Priest/ess then passes the mortar (containing the ingredients) and pestle to the Air Priest/ess, and returns to his/her position in the Circle.

The Air Priest/ess takes the mortar and pestle and grind the mix together, focusing good intent into the Incense. When s/he feels that the intent has been cast, s/he passes it to the next member of the group in a deosil direction, and the process repeats itself.

Once the Incense has been passed around the group, and the Incense is thoroughly mixed, the Handmaiden/Page takes the Incense mix and, circling the group, offers a small amount to each of the group members. They put it into their Midsummer Incense bags.

Handmaiden/Page:

Tie your Incense bags
And the spell will be tied.
Seal your Incense bags
And the spell will be sealed.
When you are home, alone, tonight
Give thanks for your blessings
And burn the Incense
In the name of the Lord and Lady.
Blessed be!

The group ties their bags closed.

The Handmaiden/Page now moves to the Altar, and blesses the Bread and Juice, which s/he then passes around the group for Feasting.

Once the Feasting is done, the Circle is closed in the following way:

Earth Priest/ess:

The Element of Earth
We hail and farewell!

Water Priest/ess:

The Element of Water
We hail and farewell!

Fire Priest/ess:

The Element of Fire
We hail and farewell!

Air Priest/ess:

The Element of Air
We hail and farewell!

Group Priest/ess or Leader:

This Circle is open
Yet remains unbroken
Merry Meet, and Merry Part, and Merry Meet again.
Blessed be!

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