New Family Summer Solstice Celebration

For various reasons, we held our family summer solstice celebration during the daytime this year.  Last year it was night time and I took advantage of the darkness.  We danced around a fire wearing homemade masks (and likely terrified any neighbors who happened to see us.)  I posted the outline of last year’s ritual here.  This year, I decided to do something different.  I made it much simpler and took advantage of the sunny day.  Here’s the outline:

Opening: “Sunny” by Marvin Gaye

Mmm, Sunny, yesterday my heart was filled with rain.
Sunny, you smiled at me and really eased the pain.

Oh, the dark days are done, and the bright days are here,
My sunny one shines so sincere,
Sunny one so true, I love you.

Sunny, thank you for the sunshine bouquet.
Aw, Sunny, thank you for the love you’ve brought my way.

Aw, You gave to me your all and all,
Now I feel ten feet tall,
Ah, Sunny one so true, I love you.

Mmm, Sunny, thank you for the truth you’ve let me see.
Yeah, Sunny, thank you for the facts from A to Z.

Aw, My life was torn like wind blown sand,
Then a rock was formed when you held my hand.
Sunny one so true, I love you.

[Yes, Sunny, thank you for that smile upon your face.
Ah, Sunny, thank you for that gleam that glows with grace.

Ah, You’re my spark of nature’s fire,
You’re my sweet complete desire.
Sunny one so true, I love you.]  (repeat)

Readings and Discussion

[My son reads:] The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year and the shortest night.  The sun has grown to its full strength and summer begins.  But it is also the day when the sun begins to grow weak again and the days begin to get shorter.

[My daughter reads:] When we celebrated the winter solstice, the longest night, we celebrated the birth of the Sun Child from his mother, the Goddess, Mother Night.  Today, on the longest day, we celebrate the birth of the Dark Child from his mother, the Goddess of the Sun.

The transit of Venus. The Romans designated the morning aspect of Venus as “Lucifer”, the “Light-Bringer”.

[My son reads:] The Child of Light and the Dark Child are mirror twins.  In fact, they are actually two faces of one God, the Pagan God who has a light side and a dark side.

[My daughter reads:] There is a dark side to all things.  This dark side is not harmful or negative, unless it is out of balance.  We cannot be whole without both aspects.  Life is the interplay of these opposites.

[My son reads:] Without darkness there can be no birth and nothing creative can take place. Without destruction there can be no cycle of life and no growth.


Sit quietly for one minute and think about the blessings of the sun.

I read:

I am the Sun King,
Sol Invictus, the unconquered sun,
Lord of the summer sky.
I have been known by many names:
Ra to the Egyptians,
Apollo to the Greeks,
and the Christ to you.
I am the god of light and life,
the god of revelation and consciousness.
I am the sun at noon,
pure and fiery bright,
immortal flame, glory of the heavens,
the eternal eye that illumines all the sky.

In my golden chariot, I scale the heavens,
bursting the clouds, pouring forth a thousand rays
that chase away the darkness,
giving life and spreading beauty freely.

I am the fierce warrior, slayer of the dragon,
foe to the wicked and guide to the good,
dispenser of justice, defender of right.
My gaze is terrible, my kiss is fire,
and the heat of my wrath consumes.

All words of truth,
all vision of discernment,
all acts of justice:
these are my worship.

Ritual: Text from “Moods of Summer” by Sydney Henry Knight

Face the sun.  Look at the light on the ground.


When the summer sun is shining
Over golden land and sea,
And the flowers in the hedgerow
Welcome butterfly and bee:
Then my open heart is glowing,
Full of warmth for everyone,
And I feel an inner beauty
Which reflects the summer sun.

Hold the pitcher of water in front of you and notice the light reflected in the water.

Now turn away from the sun.  Look at your shadow on the ground.


When the summer clouds of thunder
Bring the long-awaited rain,
And the thirsty soil is moistened,
And the grass is green again;
Then I long for summer sunshine,
But I know that clouds and tears
Are a part of life’s refreshment,
Like the rainbow’s hopes and fears.

Pour the water onto your shadow.


Sit quietly for one minute and think about the blessings of darkness.


I am the Dark Child,
the Dark Twin,
the Midnight Sun,
the Other.
I have been known by many other names
which are not spoken.

Born from the compulsion and malice of what is forbidden,
I am the seed of destruction at the heart of all life.
I am the Worm that eats the Season,
the serpent that gnaws at the roots of the World Tree.
I am darkness leaping out of the fire,
leaping out of you.

I have no worship,
but I am present in all your deeds,
and all your thoughts,
and all your desires,
and all your dreams.
Seek me there.

Closing: “Shadows” by Woodland

Shadows, shadows dance away the fire,
from summer green to fallen leaves,
oh light the sylvan pyre;
for the day is red and ripe upon the branch,
leaves of autumn turn to gold,
shadows, shadows dance away the fire.

For there is a summer in each life,
until the shadows ride the samhain wind,
to a twilight celebration;
and there is a shadow to each light,
a dusk to every morning spring,
to a seasons celebration in the dark.

Shadows, shadows wash away our pain,
feel the harvest hour of letting go,
‘til the hearth’s alight again;
for the night is sweet
and ripe upon the vine,
she seeds dreams within her herbs,
and ancient grains of wisdom in her wine.

For there is a winter in each life,
‘til springtime blooms carry us,
to a maidens celebration;
and there is a fire in each night,
a sleep unto awakening,
to a seasons celebration in the light.

Shadows, shadows carry us to rest,
to roots of willow and beds of stone,
to hillsides where our ashes are blown.
Time, time, dance away the cold,
feel the starlight in the wintery hood,
the summers gift, the fire in the wood.

For there is a season to each life,
a hope for sorrow and despair,
shadows, shadows dance away the fire.
For there is a season to each life,
a gift of joy for every pain,
to a season’s celebration in the heart.


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