Author’s Note: My group and my spiritual path are both called CUSP (Climbing Up the Spiral Pathway), detailed in the books CUSP: A New Way to Walk the Old Path, The Real Magic, and Energy Magic Compleat and on the website, www.thecuspway.com. We use the ancient agricultural cycle of planning, planting, nurturing, and harvesting in conjunction with the eight high holidays to create a process of manifestation that makes life improvements every singling year, building on the manifestations of the previous year. We invest magical energy into what we wish to harvest in the fall and also invest physical energy into making that happen. By using the blend of magical efforts and mundane follow-through, we work aggressively toward creating the best life available, tuning into our own manifest destiny and taking full accountability for our own life experiences.
At Midsummer/Litha, we have worked hard both mentally and magically from Yule through Ostara to plan what we should plant to harvest in the fall. The planting at Ostara symbolizes the transition into the active time of the year and we begin our efforts in the outside world as well. By Midsummer, our crops stand tall in the fields and although they are not yet ready for harvest, barring unforeseen calamity, we know the outcome is assured. Likewise, in our mundane lives we begin to see how our goals will manifest in the fall, so this is truly a time for celebration.
A CUSP Midsummer Ritual
Setting: Wildflowers are plentiful at Midsummer and are a theme of our Midsummer rituals. We see summer flowers as the “promise” of the God and Goddess of the coming harvest. Their sweetness and beauty reflect the rewards of the coming new life we will have when our goals are accomplished in the fall. Although Faeries are active all through the year, they are particularly busy during the very magical time of summer. We use the Midsummer ritual to honor the Faeries and other benevolent little critters indigenous to the area. Each Midsummer, we create a place for them, either a circle of stones or an altar with tiny “toys,” like shiny objects, pretty stones, pennies, flowers and other things the Faeries like.
The Opening (Group Leader): At Midsummer, the crops stand tall, proud, and strong in the field and the sense is that the harvest is assured. The crop, however, is still immature and now is not the time to rush the process. Care is still needed to bring about a successful harvest and although we may, in our own lives, see direct evidence of how the harvest will manifest, it is not usually here yet and patience is still advised. We gather here to celebrate the height of the Sun’s power in the sky and herald in the coming dark of the year. Male energy is strong and we welcome the Faeries join us in our sacred place to celebrate and bless the growing, healthy crops in the field. We see the promise of the wonderful bounty that is to come both in the healthy plants and the beautiful flowers that God and Goddess send to us at this time
The Joining (Group Leader): Reach your hands out to one another to join together for the time of this ritual. [The group touches hands, palm to palm, fingers up.] Pull your energy up from Mother Earth and down from Father Sky and blend with it with your own personal energy at the solar plexus. Move that energy from your solar plexus out your right hand, projecting into the left hand of the person next to you. Receive the energy through your left hand from the right hand of the person on the other side. Feel the energy as it courses hand-to-hand, person-to-person, heart-to-heart, and spirit-to-spirit, joining us together for the duration of this ceremony. See the strands of energy wrapping around one another, blending the energy of the Divine with our own personal energies into an impenetrable bond that connects us. As you lower your hands, continue to feel that we are joined together by our combined energies, even though we are no longer touching. Those who are within the circle become the circle. Those who manifest the will, become the means. The circle is cast.
The Activity (Group Leader): [Yellow or gold flat marbles, enough for each participant to take one, are left out in the sunlight for a couple of hours before the ceremony to absorb the heat. They are distributed to each person.] Feel the warmth of the Sun that has been instilled into these stones. Feel the life the Sun has given these pieces. They are the Sun’s token to you; the promise that the harvest will come and you will be protected always. Feel the strength that burgeons within the stone. Take this stone home and put it on your altar or carry it with you in a mojo bag or pocket to bless the harvest until its completion at Samhain.
A designated participant welcomes the Faeries and dedicates the new area to their enjoyment as an offering of friendship.
The Release: [The group is led in a cone of power toward the goal of protecting the nearly ready harvest. The chant for the cone of power is…]
High and strong, strong and high, harvest time is drawing nigh!
[Start the chant off slow and soft, faster and louder until a roaring climax as the energy releases.
The Cone of Power is a practice frequently used in our CUSP group to discharge the raised energy of our circle. It is very important to remember that when you raise energy in a ceremony, it needs to be discharged to a particular goal or embedded into an object such as the seeds we plant. The Cone of Power can be performed in a number of ways. The basic premise is that an energy building exercise is done in the joined circle of energy, built to a climax, and then released upward and outward toward the goal of the ceremony.
The energy may be raised in any number of ways. A simple chant may be repeated over and over. We have found it best to keep the number of words chanted for a Cone of Power to a minimum to condense the energy. The words should flow rhythmically and be spoken clearly and intently. The cadence should build and quicken and when the energy is at its highest, the group leader gives the signal (usually a shout or a particular movement or even a “Three, two, one” countdown.) that tells everyone to release the energy and fall into silence. This practice, when done correctly, is extremely profound.
Rather than chanting (or in addition to), the energy may also be built with musical instruments or with rhythmic humming that builds to a climax. Hand movements (such as squeezing the left hand and then the right of the persons beside you to create a pulse around the circle) or dancing may also be used to build the energy.
Once the energy releases, any additional energy should be grounded by touching the earth or a stone.]
The Communion (Group Leader):[Pieces of bread, cake or cookies are provided, as well as a drink. Our customary drink for Litha is sweet, fresh lemonade. No one consumes until we do so together. Everyone holds up his or her cake.]
We share this cake in joyful celebration of the bounty provided to us by the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. We take it within us to allow their blessings to dwell in our bodies and we return a piece of the cake back to the earth to return it to the elements from which it came. [Everyone crumbles a bit of the cake on the ground.]
We share this drink in joyful celebration of the bounty provided to us by God and Goddess. We take it within us to allow their blessings to dwell in our bodies and we return a bit of the drink back to the earth to return it to the elements from which it came. [Everyone lets a bit of the drink drip onto the ground and then everyone together says…]
As above; so below.
The Graciousness (Group Leader): We give thanks to the earthly elements of which all things are formed and forged for blessing our ceremony and for the bounty they provide to us. We give thanks to God and Goddess for blessing our ceremony and speaking to us through the Spark of light of how we can best change our lives. May there be peace between us now and forever. So be it.
The Untwining (Group Leader): Reach your hands out to one another and feel the energy that still pulses between us, joining us together. Begin to gently unwind your energy strands away from those of the others in the group and pull it back into yourself. You will find that there is additional energy created by the synergistic effect of the circle. Feel the energy slow as it passes through your hands from person to person. See the strands unwinding one from another and moving back into the person from which they came. When your energy has returned to you, move your hand away from the persons next to you and touch the ground to release any residual energy. The circle is open, but unbroken.