Midsummer’s Night & Day – A “Yang” Time of Year

by Linda Lenore on June 25, 2011

Acknowledging Midsummer's Night and Midsummer's Day are rather new to me and both represent something about which I've been writing recently - "Yang" energy. Midsummer's Night, or Midsummer's Eve, is celebrated on June 23 with Midsummer's Day being the next day, June 24 - at least according to my first introduction to them in Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Midsummer's Day at the vineyards

Midsummer's Day at the vineyards

In "Googling" the word - Midsummer's Day - I found, "Midsummer may simply refer to the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, but more often refers to specific European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place on a day between June 21 and June 24, and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between different cultures."

Another site states it is a celebration of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. "The Nativity of St. John the Baptist is a Christian feast day celebrating the birth of John the Baptist, a prophet who foretold the coming of the Messiah in the person of Jesus and who was baptized Jesus."

In 1995 when Sarah's book first appeared in the world, I was in the mist of discovering who I was and exploring who I wanted to be. Simple Abundance spoke to me on so many levels, I explored, contemplated and incorporated much of the "Daybook of Comfort and Joy" into my life. Honoring both Midsummer's Night and Midsummer's Day were two days filled with ideas for "comfort and joy" I've integrated and savored.

I had read Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream in English class years ago. Sarah's writing had nothing to do with Shakespeare's play - other than the use of the words as a title for June 23. In fact, here is the quote she used to start the page:

"Now is the high-tide of the year,

Wine & drink table for Midsummer's celebration

Wine & drink table for Midsummer's celebration

And whatever of life hath ebbed away

Comes flooding back with ripply cheer

Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,

We are happy now, because God wills it."

- James Russell Lowell

Sarah's writing starts, "For centuries, wise women have known that a bit of midsummer madness and magic are good for the soul. This probably explains why in Europe, Midsummer's Eve (June 23) has traditionally been set aside as the night for high-spirited merrymaking and lighthearted bewitchment. Midsummer's Night is also the high holy feast of the 'Stillwaters,' a mock New England sect."

Celebration of family and friends for Midsummer's Eve

Midsummer's Celebration in the vineyard by the Loyal Order of the Grape Knife - a gathering of "family and friends who believe that life's simple pleasures are meant to be savored and that Nature is to be revered."

"High-spirited merrymaking" is definitely a Yang energy. The activity of dancing and singing awakens the Feng Shui chi and invokes the spirit.

Sarah goes into more detail about the origin of the "Stillwater religion" in her writings. It was started by Tasha Tudor and enjoyed by her family and friends who "believe that life's simple pleasures are meant to be savored and that Nature is to be revered."

Sarah loves Midsummer's Day, as do I, as a time to honor ourselves and make personal "midcourse corrections for the year. Legend has it that any woman who washes her face in the dew of Midsummer's Day will grow more lovely with the passing year."

Midsummer's Day is a Yang energy since it is filled with the sunlight - a Yang energy. Also, the fact it is summer makes it Yang energy as well.

Bounty of flowers for Midsummer's Day morning dew ritual

Bounty of flowers for Midsummer's Day morning dew ritual

I go out early in the morning on Midsummer's Day and commune with my roses. Gently pulling the petals from a few of them, I create rose water tea. With all my roses grown in an organic way, this delicate tea is delightful as a healthy, cool drink. Also, made in a similar way, is rose water for refreshing "her face in the dew of Midsummer's Day" - a gift I give to friends for special occasions.

 

 

Toward the end of Sarah's June 23 writing she has, " 'I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string,' the Canadian writer Lucy Maud Montgomery reveals through her heroine, Anne Shirley. When Midsummer arrives, it's a time to look ahead and dream. Perhaps, if one is lucky, the days ahead will unfold as a 'never-to-be-forgotten summer - one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going - one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doings, come as near to perfection as anything can come in the world.'"

Evening in the vineyard at the end of a Midsummer's Celebration

Evening in the vineyard at the end of a Midsummer's Celebration - "a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doings, come as near to perfection as anything can come in the world."

I share her sentiments -

"May the potent Midsummer spell never be broken for you and those you love."

 

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