Summer Solstice, Midsummer, Litha
By Tara Sutphen
“In the world’s audience hall, the simple blade of grass sits on the same carpet with the sunbeams, and the stars of midnight” – Rabindranath Tagore (Indian Poet, Playwright and Essayist, Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, 1861-1941)
Summer Solstice marks the end of the waxing year. And the rays of the sun directly strike one of the two tropical latitude lines. June 21 marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere, as winter begins in the southern hemisphere. On this day, the earth’s “circle of luminescence” will be from the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic Circle. The equator receives twelve hours of daylight, as there will be 24 hours of daylight at the North Pole and 24 hours of darkness at the South Pole. All over the world people honor this day as an important reminder of the apex of light and to cast away evil and their problems. Northern Hemisphere inhabitants use June 21 as the day of celebration, but the splendor of light lasts from new moon to full moon.
Worshipping the Sun’s great power, all cultures celebrate in some way. Celts and Slavs dance around bonfires while Chinese marked the day honoring Li, the Goddess of Light. The celebrants of modern and ancient ceremonies tune in that life comes from the sun. It is life giving and life supporting. We’ve recently had the good fortune to have electricity, greenhouses, and shipment suppliers. How will you celebrate? We all may not get a chance to dance around the bonfire but it’s a time to bask in the light, sit in the sun, cast our worries away and awaken to our lives.
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon chopped chives
3 small cucumbers, thinly sliced
1. Combine the sour cream, parsley, vinegar, sugar, and chives.
2. Gently fold in cucumbers
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1-1/2 teaspoons minced onion
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 bag (10 ounces) fresh spinach
- 1 pint strawberries, sliced thin
In a blender, combine the sugar, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, oil, and vinegar. Blend well. If the dressing seems thick, add a few drops of water.
Remove the stems from the spinach and tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. Arrange them on individual salad plates or in a salad bowl. Arrange the strawberries on top. Drizzle the dressing over the strawberries and serve.
Bonnie Brae Strawberry Pie
A mixture of cooked and fresh berries helped make this pie a family favorite.
- 1 quart strawberries or 1 large package frozen strawberries, thawed and drained
- 3/4 cup water
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup sliced berries, fresh or frozen, thawed and drained
- whipped cream
- whole berries for garnish
Combine strawberries and water in saucepan. Cook until just softened, about 4 or 5 minutes. (Let frozen berries thaw; heat but don’t cook them.) Mix together cornstarch, sugar, and water until smooth; add to hot berries. Cook over medium heat until clear. Add lemon juice; immediately remove from heat and let cool. Place sliced berries in cooked pie shell. To assemble pie, pour cooked mixture over berries, top with whipped cream, and garnish with whole berries.
Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Wedding Cake
Yield: Makes 12 to 16 servings.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
- 3 cups sugar
- 4 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 6 egg whites
Preheat over to 350° F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pour in buttermilk and begin mixing slowly. Continue to mix until well blended. Add flavorings and stir. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold the egg whites into the cake batter. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes at 350° F, then lower heat to 300°F and bake for about 25 minutes longer, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove cakes from oven and cool on racks. After 10 minutes, remove from pans and continue cooling on racks.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
No wedding needed to have this cake
Other food /drink ideas –
- mint iced teas, dandelion salads, strawberry shortcakes, geranium leaf sorbet, berry pies
The Druids celebrated with “The Wedding of Heaven and Earth”.
- Two people represent Mother Earth and the Sun King. Create a Bonfire, dancers adorned in garlands and flowers, and young men jumping through the tall flames. A time of cleansing and renewal. The participants playing Mother Earth and the Sun King go to each participant, and speak to each person as though planting seeds of growth, imparting words of love, wisdom, thankfulness and prosperity.
Candle or Bonfire Ritual
- With a candle or your bonfire – Give blessings in the 4 directions. Cast a blessing for yourself, a blessing for the harvest, a blessing for your loved ones, and a blessing for the earth. (make this blessing 3-5 sentences long for each subject)
A Call to Love
- Single women are to sleep with 4 flowers under their pillow
- Flowers blooming in your area, also daisies, roses, lilyof the valley, calendulas, marigolds
- daisy chains, lavender wreaths, rosemary garlands
- Circle base, thin gauge wire, or vines and tie or wire on flowers of your choice
- Fire to celebrate the power of the sun, Sun Wheels, Medicine Wheels, Stone Circles, Candle Circles, Mother Goddess, Ripening fruits, Sun Dials, Feathers, and Swords/Blades.
- Green & Blue representing the earth
- White representing God light