||[Jun. 18th, 2006|05:25 pm]
Wyrdsisters: Witchcraft Untamed
This is the week of the summer solstice (or Litha, to you witches and western neo-pagans.) Not many know precisely how the ancients celebrated this particular time of the year. We might have lots of watered down folk festivals or Christianized versions of many of the holidays, like Xmas from Yule or Easter from Ostara, but the summer celebrations seem to get wiped off the collective consciousness altogether.
Which is a terrible thing, in my estimation, because both the summer solstice and Lunasa (Lughnasad) were very active times for pagan celebration. Come on, it was SUMMER! You think that didn't make a difference?
Yes, there is some evidence that the Greenman was a big part of many rituals (though, really, different aspects of the Greenman are a part of many holidays, as would be expected for any agricultural culture) as was the Sun. However, they weren't the major focus...
So, then... what was?
Here's where my love of history and the study of the paranormal come together in perfect synchronicity. Many of the best tidbits we get about lost cultural beliefs can be found in the mythology of the past, and the one theme that seems to pop up the most for Summer Solstice (in Europe and some Native American tribes, at least) is that of faeries. Even as late as Shakespeare, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, we see the theme. Other Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and Manx tales seem to concur. I remember when I found this pattern, many years ago, how it sparked a flash of insight and curiosity-- Was there some specific reason why people spoke of "little people," "the gentry," "fairies," odd "will o' the wisps" and so forth at this time of the year as opposed to any other time? Was it coincidence that so many cultures (not just Celtic) brought up the idea?
Now, you have to keep in mind that classic Faeries are not, repeat NOT, cute little winged sprites that sit on flowers and look all adorable. What were called faeries then would be today called any number of strange names: goblins, kobalds, imps, gremlins, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, etc. Basically, in your classic mythos, "faerie" covered any denizen of a reality that didn't seem to jive with what we deem OUR everyday reality. Interesting, no?
And, yes, there IS a reason why such things were celebrated, marked, or revered in awe at the Summer Solstice-- because statistically, more paranormal events happen in the week of the summer solstice than any other time of the year! I've noted a pattern in my own curious meanderings, but never did an analysis of the numbers myself. But others have. John Keel, who investigates everything weird you can imagine-- a true paranormal generalist, not just into ghosts, or UFOs, or what-have-you-- made this observation by the 1970s and since then, the statistics bear him out. An actual, well-funded, scientific team found the same to be true when they ran reports thru computers of paranormal events in past years.
Now-- just a side note, if people create these things from their minds alone, our collective culture should totally insure that most reports statistically occur at, oh-- I don't know-- HALLOWEEN!? But they do not. June 19-22 has consistently shown more freaky happenings than any other time. And evidentally, even our so-called "primitive" ancestors copped a clue on the pattern of it all! Amazing.
From the other side of things, magick and prayer and personal directed will should be far more effective at manifesting results at this time of year than at any other. And, once more, statistics bear this out. (One wonders if the sun's energy being prominent has anything to do with it. For example, do the Aboriginal Australians have beliefs about THEIR summer solstice, which is our winter solstice? I wonder...)
Happy Summer Solstice Week, everyone!