The DruWitch Way: The Bells, The Bells – A Solstice Faerie Rite

The DruWitch Way: The Bells, The Bells – A Solstice Faerie Rite June 18, 2020

Bells and their use in ritual are a world-wide phenomenon. Shinto temples use bells to call to the Gods and to protect against evil. The Catholic church performs their rite of excommunication with 12 candles and a bell. Rung at the end of the ritual it is a sound of driving out, of finality and exit, whereas in the Hindu faith the entrances to many temples are adorned with a bell so that the faithful can announce their arrival; if rung whilst also performing a mantra it is a form of invocation, however the mantra also has an apotropaic purpose. Roughly translated it says:

“I start my worship by ringing the bell, I pray that the divine may enter me and that all Demonic forces both within and without depart”

Bells, and their use in ritual, are a world-wide phenomenon. Photo by grunge texture via Pexels.

Considering the relationships that the Fae often have with man’s belief systems it’s not surprising to find that they have a bit of a love/hate relationship with bells, particularly church bells. Within a 20 minutes’ drive (either North or South) of where I live, I can come across a folklore regarding Faeries who have stolen a church bell or caused a church to be built in an alternative location because they were offended by the bells.

It’s a common theme, common enough that for a long time the considered opinion has been that you can banish a Faerie with a bell and it is true. I thoroughly recommend that you have some “jingle bells” about you if you are up to magickal shenanigans in remote places, however it’s not all bad; there are also times when the Fae positively love to ring bells and Mid-summer is one of those times.

The Gwragedd Annwn (the Fairy wives of the otherworld) were often considered to be lake fairies in folklore and again the sound of bells features in their tales. Crumlyn Lake in South Wales is the recipient of an interesting curse. The Faeries there were said to have insulted St. Patrick whilst he was on a visit from Ireland to see his mate St. David to discuss ‘saintly’ things, snakes probably. But because of their insult (they didn’t ask him how he was) St. Patrick decreed that the sun would only shine upon the lake for one week out of every year.

Although in these tales the actual date is not disclosed, it’s not a far fetch to assume it is the days surrounding the summer solstice when not only are the days the longest, but the sun is also at its highest altitude in the sky. During those days, it is said that great towers rise from the lake revealing the Faerie realms and the sound of bells fill the air.

A church in Dorset has a Fairy door to let the Fae in, and it is said that on certain nights of the year the Faeries come and dance and play the church bells with great joy –  again I suspect we are looking at dates during the summer months for the legend states that they ring the bells by sprinkling dew upon the bells rather than using the clappers. So, I feel we have to consider that like many of the tales we have regarding the otherworld it isn’t the bells themselves that are the issue, it is the manner in which they are wielded. Therefore, on a solstice night I like to perform the following simple ritual to honour the Fae in my local area.

As the sun goes down just take a moment to focus. Photo by Pixabay via Pexels.

As the sun goes down just take a moment to focus on what it is you are actually contacting the Fae for. We always talk about acknowledging our local spirits, but what does that personally mean for you?

This year for example, I’ve had the most amazing good luck with growing all kinds of things in my garden, literally throwing seeds in the ground and pots and hoping for the best, so on Saturday evening I will be paying extra attention to the Plant Devas in my thoughts. As it’s considered bad luck to out and out thank a Faerie then genuine, heart-felt, well thought out gratitude always goes a long way.

Take a moment to really feel it, let that internal emotion out. When it comes to the Fae don’t be perfunctory. Whilst you do this let the night close in around you, feel the change in the energy and when the time is right, strike a single bell tone (singing bowls are excellent for this). A sound of welcome, a sound that says the space is clear and safe for the Fae to enter. Quietly at first but maybe if the spirit moves you increasing in speed and urgency chant the following mantra:

Faerie Fair & Faerie Bright
In stillness & Movement, Come to my sight,
Harkening, beckoning, Left and right,
In stillness & Movement, Come to my sight,
Faerie Dark & Faerie Night
In stillness & Movement, Come to my sight,
Harkening, beckoning, Left and right,
In stillness & Movement, Come to my sight!

Dance, sing, drum, feel the passion and the ecstasy, keep ringing those bells if you want, but do this FOR the Fae who undoubtedly still live near you, even in the busiest of cities. Give this, your time and your energy as a gift. And when you are ready and you feel you cannot take any more, just lie on the floor and wait until the sun rises around you. And as it rises, ring a single bell to mark the end of the rite.

Happy Solstice!

About Tara Sanchez
I am a Gardnerian Witch with heavy Druidic tendencies which I think my coven mates mostly tolerate, or at least they humour me when I come up with oddball rituals based on snippets of folklore or myth. I can often be found getting up to mayhem and magick on the wonderful Island of Anglesey, a place where Gin is a sacramental offering. My love of divination is unbridled and I currently own well over a hundred Tarot decks (but please no-one tell my husband! ) and I love to teach and give talks and workshops on Magick, Folklore, Oracular techniques and not surprisingly the Tarot. You can find a whole host of articles and information about my current research at http://tarasanchez.com/. You can read more about the author here.
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