Mid-Summer/Feast of Lights

Hi Everyone here is this weeks blog,
I hope everybody has had a lovely Christmas and that you are continuing to enjoy the holiday season.
I celebrate Christmas with my family as well but just before Christmas I have a day very special to me The Feast of Lights in my household or mid-Summer, Summer Solstice/Litha to others.
Therefore this blog is Pagan in it’s themes including the optional impression. If that is not your cup of tea you’ll want to skip this blog.
If your staying, thankyou and I hope you enjoy this blog.

Take care all
Tikarma
xxxx

 

Feast of Lights

La Niña embraces the heavens
Her lliclla thick, obscuring the sun.

We shan’t see the dawn
Not a crimson streak
Nor orange bloom of it’s glory.

The day cast with a cooler light
The breeze a southern chill.
Yet the majesty of the sun
Glorified in the towering sculptures of clouds.

Tree and shrubs
Are full of leaf and flower.

Wheat and barley
Have bowed their heads.
Full with seeds, ready for harvesting.

The land has browned, despite the rain.
Only pockets of green remain.
Yet vegetables grow, fruit ripens.
A harvest still to come.

The wind blows
Rain threatens.

The air crisp with delight.
Tagine stewing,
Teasing with a feast to come.

Laughter still rings
Flows down hills into valleys.
Spirits are high as lanterns are mounted
stars and sun disks gilttering gold.

Strings of lights surround window frames.
Candles nestled in sills await dusk.

Solstice nears
Draws out the day
To be the longest.

Reflecting the brilliance of the sun,
We celebrate with joy and song.
We celebrate with food plenty.
We are blessed.

We dance with strength
We dance with warmth in our hearts.

Sprits are renewed the soul rejoicing
The glory of the Sun
A treasured gift of God.

Lanterns all sorts and colours
Begin to glow brighter and shine
Reflecting the colour
The beauty of all summer’s delights.

A feast of early evening light.
The clouds part to allow the sun a hail and farewell.

Amber and golden rays
Sparkling ribbons
Draping the valleys to our humble home.

Smiles beaming bright as the suns last light.
On this blessed Mid-summer’s eve,
We delay the sun’s passing
With a feast of lights.

 

© 2010 Tikarma Vodicka

* La Niña is a weather pattern that brings cooler temperatures, often more rain and lower temperatures.
*An lliclla is a wollen shawl worn by Peruvian women
*A tagine is a traditional Moroccan slow cooked stew and the name of the dish it is cooked in.

Poetical Impressions Mid-Summer/Feast of Lights, December 27th 2010

Very early one Mid-Summer’s morning well before dawn a family woke.
A small fire was lit to warm themselves and provide light. The mother cooked a simple breakfast as provisons and cooking pots were packed into a cart. Two bundles of fire wood were also made. One for the families cooking and one as part of the families contribution to the bon-fire that would be made that evening. Two little children held bunches of flowers and the mother carried a wreath made of dried vines and flowers.
They waited in the courtyard of their collective for the rest of their community and set out with them travelling to a barrow that contained the bones of their ancestors.
Travelling with them was a treasured bull and the community priests who served their regions.
They arrived at the barrow to see the other two communites they shared this scared space with also arriving.
The priest readied themselves for dawn and children played and women gossiped as they made small fires and readied stews. The men folk exchanged stories about their villiages and traded hints and tips on animal rearing and crop growing.

As the first rays of the sun carressed the horizon the communites were gathered together outside of the entrance to their barrow. An Elder for each community was chosen to enter the barrow with the priests and lay down the bunches of flowers and wreaths in the grave beds where their ancestors lay.
The priests and elders emerged and prayers were spoken. There was silence as the communities watched a ray of golden light from the sun trace it’s path to the barrow and enter through the passgeway illuminatng the whole barrow and setting the entrance aglow.
The priests prayed some more and made devotions to their sun God.
The community was reassured their loved ones who were recently desceased were now taken up in the ray of the sun’s light to the afterworld.

There were a few tears but much rejoicing. The communities moved to fields near to their respectives villages where they reunited with friends and other family members; talking, laughing, dancing, playing music and preparing for the large bon-fires that would soon light up the night.

Every community had contributed fire wood for the bonfires. Children excitedly helped stack the piles of wood and men made torches that would be carried around the cropping fields.
As dusk began to approach, the exictment was almost fever pitched. The smells of food hung in the air and joviality was high.
Again the communites were gathered as the priest prayed for prosperity and protection for the communties and their fields and livestock. The community’s elders stood by the bonfires and as the last light of the sun touched the horizon the bonfires were lit to much cheering.

These were the times when beliefs were becoming more complex. Religious themes and mythologies more rich. To our ancestors, life with their ancestors was normal. Barrows to lay their dead were made in prominent areas where their ancestors could look down on them and protect them. For our ancestors, life and death were one.

While we can’t know exactly what they did back then, we can see a glimpse through the festivals that survived and the placement of their scared sites and burial mounds. Many were aligned to be greeted by either the Mid-Summer or Mid-Winter sun.
For our ancestors, Summer was a joyous time. There was plenty of light, the air was temperate and there was a bountiful supply of food. Life was at its best.
Mid-summer bought about the first change. They knew that Solstice would hail an end to the longer days and the cold would slowly creep back in. The days would slowly begin to grow shorter.
Crops were about knee height and there was anxiety that they would not grow tall enough and reap a large enough harvest for the communites to survive the winter. Livestock too was needed to be healthy and breed that there would meat and milk throughout the harder days.
At Mid-Summer the fires were lit in a last attempt to hold back the night just a little longer.

Our ancestors believed that fire was cleansing and purifying and bestowed upon them fertility and health. The young boys and girls would jump the fires as they were first lit in the hopes of marriage. Cattle were driven between fires to ensure their fertility and health. Men would go around their fields with torches to drive away evil spirits and ensure a good crop. For many communites, they believed that the height of children jumping the fires would be the height of their grain fields.
It was a night of great joy and celebration as much as it was night to protect their future intrests as they knew how.

Many thousands of years later as I sit on my hill here in Strathalbyn I have a stange nostalgia for those bonfires. In the southern parts of Australia, fire and summer do not mix. We have firebans that don’t allow us such pleasures. Instead, I compensate with a feast of lights. Fairy lights, candles, lanterns. As many as I can, as my little community remembers our ancestors and we too try to hold back the night with our lights as we take joy in the beauty and wonder that is Summer is Australia.

I hope you all have a most lovely week to come. May the lights from many a Christmas celebration fill you warmth and a smile and may you all enjoy your eve seeing in the new calander year!

Tikarma
xxxx

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14 thoughts on “Mid-Summer/Feast of Lights

  1. Yay for me cause I’m glad Christmas is over. That pressure of getting the perfect gift is overrated and we seemed to have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas anyway.

    Great poem and blog…I love the story. Even if this kind of religion is not someone’s cup of tea, they should still read because your writing is awesome!!!

    I hope you had a great Christmas.

    *HUGS*

    –Diana

    1. Thankyou very much Diana,

      You make me blush. 🙂 I’m really very glad you enjoyed the story and poem. 🙂
      Unfortuantly for many my religion and beliefs are very offensive.
      Seeing as I don’t know who will click on my blog I like to give people the option of going away before they get all worked up and cranky. 🙂

      Thankyou, I did have a lovely Christmas with my family. I hope despite the stress you still had a lovely Christmas overall?

      I do agree with you I think for many the reason for celebrating Christmas has been lost, if it ever had meaning for them. I think too Christmas has come to have different meanings for different people, but we have certainly lost a lot of the chairty, hope and peace that is meant to be a part of this time of year. Too often it just looks like greed.
      I do hope your lead up to the new calendar year is not so hectic for you. 🙂

      Thankyou very much again for reading!

      ((HUGS))
      Tikarma
      xxxx

  2. Very warming and joyous! – making the connection to ages past, and the same joys, wishes and hopes here now!
    Your little lights in the photo look so wonderful too!
    Thanks for sharing!
    hugs, mum

    1. Hi Mum,

      Thankyou very much for reading.
      I’m really glad you enjoyed the blog and felt so much joy and warmth from my celebrations and the connections through the ages. Some desires in life never change. 🙂
      I’m glad too you like the photo of my little lanterns. They’ve become my favourites. 😉

      I wish you all the best in the upcoming days and a lovely New Year Eve!!

      (((BIG HUGS)))
      with much love
      Tikarma
      xoxoxo

  3. Hi Tikarma,

    This poem is so wonderful and means so much to me as it is our Midsummer. What you have done is captured a memory so beautifully and completely and have preserved it for all time. This is so much more than any photo could ever capture. Every word you have written we have lived, and now we can revisit this day anytime, and hopefully, in our old age it will bring all the memories flooding back. This poem gives me great joy beyond measure! Thank you for capturing our Midsummer so well and giving a constant reminder of it’s beauty with you wonderful words.

    Once again, you have written a wonderful story! It never ceases to amaze me the truth I always find in these stories, and they always take me back to the lands of my ancestors. Your research into the acheology, mythology, history and surviving folk practices give it creedence and truth that can not be denied. It enriches it so much. That, along with your sense of folk memory (the natural way of doing things) along with your own creative talents, gives a worthwhile, educational and entertaining delight to read.

    Thank you for capturing the true essence of Midsummer and sharing it with us. I know it definately enriches me.

    With all my love always,

    Jamie

    ♥♥♥

    1. Hi Jamie,

      Thankyou very much for all your lovely and sweet comments. I’m really glad that you’ve enjoyed this blog and the poem so much.
      I’m very glad too and humbled that you feel I’ve captured our celebrations in a way which is of value, joy and meaning to you.

      These poetical essays? are for us ultimately, that growing body of work for our faith. The homework needed is a lot but in the end worth it, to give us both texts that have spritual value for us both.
      I hope in your old age these poems and essays will spark a delight in you that they do now. 🙂
      Thanks again and thankyou for helping to be part of that Mid-Summer magic

      Yours in love always.
      Tikarma
      xoxoxox

  4. Tikarma,

    I love the poem, I love the picture and I love the story.

    I read theae words –

    “Amber and golden rays
    Sparkling ribbons
    Draping the valleys to our humble home”

    and felt I was sitting on that hill in Strathalbyn by your side.

    The ambience of your poem will help me get into that space I like to go into at this time of year – a space where I reflect on what has been and what is to come and where I can be grateful for what I have.

    Some deep breathing in that space too!! 🙂

    Arohanui
    (((BSH)))
    David
    xoxox

    1. Hi David,

      Thankyou for taking the time out to read and for your lovely comments. I’m really glad that you have enjoyed this poem and blog so much. 🙂
      It’s a nice thought to think of you sitting up here on my hill with me. 🙂

      I’m also humbled that the poem is able to help you find that more calm and peaceful state of mind where you can feel a gratitude for your life. Deep breathing is important, especially this time of year! 🙂
      As I take in several deep breathes of my own I’ll be thinking you calm, with a smile on your face ready to take on the new calendar year. 🙂

      Again thankyou very much. 🙂

      You take good care and stay well rugged up!
      Arohanui
      (((BSH)))
      Tikarma
      xoxoxoox

  5. Thanks for sharing your well put together poem Tikarma 🙂
    It’s great reading other people’s perspective about this time of year, Christmas in particular. You give us a real insight into your special time.
    I think too many people these days celebrate it all for the wrong reasons, instead of acknowledging what it all means, and being grateful. (in which ever way we celebrate it, or appreciating the significant seasons that make our Universe work) Hope that makes sense?:)

    Jules xoxo

    1. Hi Jules,

      Thanks for taking the time out to read my blog. I’m really glad you enjoyed the poem and found it interesting.
      I hope it helps with understanding some of my little world. 🙂

      I do agree this festive time of year people just go mad and forget why they’re even celebrating. I think too for many people they’re just doing it because it’s what you do, it doesn’t have any real meaning for them which I personally find sad.

      I agree too these time are certainly there to feel some gratitiude at the very least. We’re so lucky to live in the manner we do. Taking time out to celebrate with others acknowledge the world around you. It’s good for you I think…even if it does get a little crazy. *LOL*

      Thanks again. I hope you enjoy being here on wordpress. Have fun and stay cool! This heat!! Where did it come from?? *LOL*

      Tikarma
      xoxoxoxo

  6. Tikarma,

    This is a refreshing read in the middle of all this winter (here). I think I would love sitting with you and watching the lights. I sat here imagining how exciting it must have been for people to experience this tradition with real fire, and how they knew to honor the elements and keep their importance to survival sacred in their ceremonies.

    All seasons are a part of renewal, as your poetry and writing often reminds us. I know I can usually look forward to a renewal of spirit when I visit your blog.

    I am sorry for being late, again. I have been sick for the past week, and still not completely well. I have printed this poem and your impression, along with a couple of comments, to read closely when I have more strength.

    There is so much to like here, so many lines to read again and find new meaning. I especially love those last lines, and this one:

    “A feast of early evening light.
    The clouds part to allow the sun a hail and farewell.”

    These words wrap themselves around my mind like a soft silk scarf.

    I hope this year brings many wonderful things for you and Jamie.

    Much love xoxoxo
    (((BIG HUGS)))
    Shirley

    1. Hi Shirley,

      Thankyou so much for taking the time out to read especially when I know you aren’t feeling well at all. ((Healing HUGS)).
      My wishes to you for a speedy recovery!
      As always there’s no need to apologise! There are far more important things going on in our lives and the world to worry about such things. My blog isn’t going anywhere and I’m not one of those people who have a time limit on blog responses. 🙂

      I am very glad that you enjoyed the poem and the blog. I hope it holds up to reading at a later date and you are able to find much again to lift your spirits.
      I’m am very humbled that these blogs do lift your spirits. 🙂

      I think it would be most lovely to have you here with me watching the lights. That’s a nice thought 🙂 It’s very peaceful and certainly imbues a sense of mid-Summer magic. 🙂

      I hope the cold weather isn’t getting you down too much and I hope you see some sunshine soon.
      Thankyou again it’s always a pleasure to see you here in my blog!
      Thankyou too for the New Year wishes.
      I hope for you that your New Year is filled with many bright and beautiful things and much good health to last you all year through. 🙂

      Take care and stay warm!
      (((BIG WARM AUSSIE HUGS)))
      Tikarma
      xoxoxoxo

  7. Hi T,

    I enjoyed the picture, poem and story very much, especially the story as it gave me a kind of sense of earths full belly..not entirely sure why 🙂 Probably because it makes me think of earthly connections – past, present etc..the fullness of human and natures history..the links we all have with it and the idea of ceremony as a very real reminder. As is often the case I’m probably making little sense 🙂 yet I take warmth in the fullest sense from this.

    L.x

    1. Hi Leigh,

      Thanks so much! I feel very spoiled having you comment twice in one day. 🙂
      I’m really glad you enjoyed this blog.
      Your comments do indeed make sense, Summer is certainly full belly season! 🙂
      The reminder that ceremony or even the carry over of tradition I think has value in life. That pause for thought or feeling gives us a chance to establish a greater meaning to the everyday tirvialities of our lives, that any chance to feel a sense of gratitude I believe is good heart food. 🙂
      I’m really touched that you felt so much connection and warmth from the poem and impression.

      I hope you see some sunshine soon. 🙂
      ((WARM HUGS)))
      T.
      xxx

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