Midsummer

Today is June 24th, the day after the magical night of midsummer nights eve. This post written to celebrate the occasion last year is being shown again to welcome the beginning of the end of the warm season. Enjoy.

~~~
The long awaited day has arrived. It is June twenty third, the eve of midsummer. For it is now that the sun embarks on the long descent into the darkness and cold of winter. While we consider solstice the “official” beginning of summer, it was not so in times of old. The calender then marked out summer from May 1st through August 1st — making solstice the midpoint, or Midsummer. Solstice marks our official beginning of summer, but it technically is the beginning of the end of summer. Let us think not about that now. This is the night of dancing, bonfires, and rituals of all sorts but we are focusing on the fairy celebrations believed to happen this very night. Hypericum, St. John’s Wort, shown above, is associated with this day for many reasons. In fairy lore, this plant was said to offer protection from the fae’s darker side, which could include the forced dancing of any human caught spying on magical parties until they passed out from exhaustion. Hmmm. One has memories, however distant, that this fate might have actually happened to us a couple of times. It was not blamed on the fairies though. And we had no hypericum in our going out bag.
Elf leaf is another name for lavender, used in elfin magic. It does suggest a wand with its shape. There is lots of this special plant grown in various beds here.
Elfin thyme, to carry on that theme is spreading well, making a comfortable cushion for dreaming of nice fairies tonight.
Manners are very important at all times, offerings of gifts is always seen as a friendly gesture for humans as well as wee ones. These fruits from the garden should please even the most finicky of palates.
Regular readers may know that we follow an early to bed, early to rise rhythm. Just in case we fall alseep too soon to witness any magical moments during the midnight hour, we have asked Mr. and Mrs. Bongo Congo to also set up shop in the fairy garden area. They willingly agreed and have decorated themselves in proper head gear, ox eye daisy chains, for the occasion. They don’t get to attend many festivals, being sentinels of the plants and flowers here, and rejoice at the thought of revelry and refreshments. The happy couple is resting in a bed of thyme and claim to be experienced fairy watchers. Whew, that is a relief to know there is quality back up in this important endeavor.
The rock with the hole all the way through that we found at
the beach recently is ready, along with an intact horseshoe mule shoe, (thanks to an alert equine expert! )that was dug up while planting the vegetable garden. Luck all around.
Mrs. Bongo Congo, she is the brains, Mr. B-C is the brawn, has set up the lucky holey rock so she can see clearly through the aperture. She claims to know her way around the Canon PowerShot A720 too. Good deal, maybe she can give me some pointers.
Bonfires have an important place in the traditions on this night. Fires were lit across the land, to mimic the brightness of the sun. People jumped over the blazing fires in hopes of long life, long love and any other powers such an act might bestow. Previously we had set up a blue bowl with water for swimming, but now realize that the fire pit needs to be ready. We added a lavender wand for fragrance to the wood pile. When the Faire Garden clan meets here for the yearly day after Thanksgiving fiesta, our after dinner fire bowl has herb bundles tossed in from the offspring’s offspring while making a wish. The fairy babies might enjoy doing that as well.
Darkness creeps across the land. The hour is drawing near for magical and mystical goings on.

The clouds are gathering, not for rain, but for mirth.

What is in this shot? It was taken just after the first one, but this time there are two little white dots in the sky. Honestly, as shown by the poor attempts at arrow drawing, these bits of light were not manually added with fancy computer technology. The talent for that is sadly, but honestly lacking here. Could this be the first of the out of staters flying in? It has been rumored that some Austin delegates might show up to teach the local Tennessee fae some new tricks. All are welcome, from every locale. Come one, come all, we have been waiting for you!
“When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy. So there ought to be one fairy for every boy or girl.”

Peter, act 1, Peter Pan by James Matthew Barrie


It is really getting dark now. We had best all take our places, hidden but able to peek out from our leafy shelters.

The
fairy gazebo is looking sort of eerie. That thyme smells so yummy, it is making me sleepy. It is well after my bedtime………….

Oh my, it is morning already. Where did the night go? We had better investigate the scene for evidence.
But we mustn’t forget to gather the morning dew before any of it evaporates.
Midsummer day’s morning dew has been collected over the ages from leaves and flowers for its magical healing properties. Before the sunrise people dragged sheets across the fields, collecting dew, which was then used for healing.

It is difficult to collect morning dew during a drought. There has to be some moisture present in the soil and foliage, and we have very little. There will be no sheet dragging, more like cotton ball dabbing, to collect the precious liquid.

What’s this? Mr. and Mrs. Bongo Congo look like they had an exciting night.
There appears to be some sort of glittery substance around and about.

The remains of a fire with little
Verna Birdfoot moved from inside the gazebo to the ring of stones lining the firepit is noticed. There is more of the glittery stuff here also.
Goodness, who is sleeping in the moss at the feet of the maidenhair fern in this trough planter?
And who is resting on the bench in the fairy gazebo in the shot taken by Mrs. Bongo Congo? (Click to enlarge and see for yourself).

“Yet markโ€™d I where the bolt of Cupid fell:It fell upon a little western flower,Before, milk-white, now purple with loveโ€™s wound, โ€”And maidens call it love-in-idleness.”
Oberon, scene i A Midsummernight’s Dream by William Shakespeare

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
Puck, final act A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
~~~
Many thanks to you faithful readers for following this little saga. Much has been learned about this magical date and the celebrations that have been practiced for centuries in all parts of the world involving the sun, the night, and creatures real and mythical. The days will become shorter, the light’s angle will soften, and we will remember well the events described here, real and imagined.
Frances
post script: The Shakespeare letter opener shown above belonged to my dear departed Aunt Elizabeth, my mother’s sister. Although childless, she was beloved by many for her inspired teaching of English Literature at Norman (Oklahoma) High School for most of her adult life. She was given many gifts pertaining to Shakespeare by her students, including this statue of his form as the handle of a letter opener that is one of my personal treasures.
F

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19 Responses to Midsummer

  1. Janet says:

    What a fun posting Frances. You quoted one of my favorite passages from Midsummer Night’s Dream. Love the fairy lore. One day I will have to share a story of some lights the whole family saw along the James River… some things can’t be explained.

    Hi Janet, thanks. Your light along the river story really piques my interest! Let me know when you write about that, I don’t want to miss it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  2. Randy says:

    Frances,
    I had no idea about the dew. That was all very interesting!

    Hi Randy, me neither. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It was a lot of fun doing the research, plenty of things I had never heard before, like the gathering of the dew. Just imagine laying the sheets out, so fun.
    Frances

  3. Sunita says:

    Frances, this has to be one of your most delicious posts till date. I loved it! Especially all that background about midsummer night. And the narrative really tickled my funny bone ๐Ÿ˜€
    That was sweet of you to let sleeping fae lie.

    Thanks, Sunita, glad you liked it. I spent a lot of time on fairy posts last year with the midsummer night being the grand finale. It was a lot of fun to research and put together. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  4. Frances,
    You’re a great teller of stories! Magical!

    Cameron

    You are too sweet, Cameron, thanks. Glad you enjoyed it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  5. gittan says:

    Frances my dear friend, I love your story! Thank’s so much for charing. In Sweden they have moved the celebration of midsummer so we always celebrate a friday. This year,last friday. But we all know when the real midsummer is. It’s kind of sad thinking about the ending of summer already… we better forget about that and concentrate on what’s on for now. Have a great day / kram gittan

    Dear Gittan, I am so glad you like it, thanks. Moving the date to Friday makes sense but does take away some of the magic. I agree, it seems like summer just started, but of course the beginning is also the first day of the end, like the glass half empty rather than half full. Do enjoy your summer and think not of the cold days in the distant future my friend. Kram.
    Frances

  6. tina says:

    Loved it Frances. And I am trying so hard not to think of summer ending.

    Hi Tina, thanks. The calender keeps on moving, doesn’t it? We should all enjoy each day for what it is, the only thing constant is change. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  7. So Mr and Mrs Congo Bongo have been at it again, just like last year!

    A truly great story (like yours) can be told over and over again and never loses its charm.

    Hi Yolanda, thanks. I felt like this tale could be told again without changing it, glad you agree. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  8. Monica says:

    Oooh, so pretty. Love the daisy chains on the statue heads.

    Thanks, Monica. That Bongo Congo couple like to doll themselves up. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  9. gail says:

    I love this post Frances~~you are a wonderful story teller. Do your grands get to hear magical tales of critters and such? gail

    Thanks Gail, those are kind words from a master story teller herself. The grands are too busy running around like nuts when we are together. All of the family is on the hyper side. Someday they will read the stories on the blog, but for now their parents are the readers.
    Frances

  10. Racquel says:

    What a fun post Frances. Looks like there was some mischief in the garden last night. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Hi Racquel, thanks. That is a special night and mischief is encouraged.
    Frances

  11. Joanne says:

    What a fun post. Must have taken some time preparing this one. Oh no perhaps the Fairies did it not you Frances!

    Hi Joanne, thanks. It did take quite a bit of research and work. A good reason to repost it this year rather than write a new one. The fairies did help out too. They are a good lot. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  12. Good one Frances.

    Back in the UK, the Druids would have gathered at Stonehenge.

    Over here, well a bottle of good red wine was celebration enough.

    Rob

    Thanks, Rob. Stonehenge is on my list of things to see in England too, but a good red can be enjoyed anytime. I would imagine there are quite a few good reds there. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  13. commonweeder says:

    Frances – Finally I understand the MID of Midsummer. I have been mystified for years. Here in New England it doesn’t feel like the beginning of the end of summer, so I’m not going to worry about that. After such a cold wet June I am waiting for summer to feel like it has begun.

    Hi Pat, it sounds like summer has been playing hide and seek with you. Here it has been going strong since the beginning of June and will not let up for many months. Ah for the happy in between the two. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  14. It looks like Mr & Mrs BC had an exciting night of fairy watching. That poor fairy looked a little hung over too.

    I have read that the only way a human can see a fairy is to look through the hole in a rock that is found. You could arrange that rock so that you could see many fairies that are obviously in your garden. Happy summmer.

    Hi Lisa, the little left behind fairy does look a bit rough, just like Mr and Mrs. I found the rock last year on the beach and was thrilled. The snag to the plan is staying up until midnight outside! Luckily the Bongo Congos are immune to mosquito bites and are sort of night owls too. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  15. Dawn says:

    A sweet celebration, love the fariy stories, I could grow old on them!

    Oh Dawn, what a nice phrasing, thanks so much. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  16. Rose says:

    Thanks for repeating this, Frances! I remember this post from last year very well; it had to be my favorite of the whole year (and one I tried to nominate for a Blotanical award). I had been wondering if the fairies came to celebrate at Fairegarden again this year. Alas, it’s much too hot in Illinois for any kind of frolicking.

    Hi Rose, thanks to you for remembering and also the nomination, you are too kind. It is so hot here, I hope the fairies had a nice breeze. At least this year there has been more rain, so the dew was heavier. Too much traveling has kept me from eavesdropping on the fae like we did last year. I need to get on the stick! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  17. Beckie says:

    Frances, I missed this one last year and am so glad you repeated it. Wonderful imformation and history. I also love the preperations you made for the festival. I am so sorry you missed it though. ๐Ÿ™‚ Surely the Congos told you all about it.

    Thanks for a VERY enjoyable read.

    Thanks Beckie, so glad you enjoyed reading about the lore, it was fun to research. The Congos filled me in on all the details. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  18. Kathy in Napa says:

    There is really nothing I can say. Everything,, all of it, is sorcery.Get out your pointy star-dappled hat ..

    Hi Kathy, thanks. Most of my work is done hatless, however there is a wand…. HA ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  19. chickenpoet says:

    Our class enjoyed perusing through your old posts, and it was noted by a wonderful and knowledgeable horse enthusiast that the equine shoe appears to be a shoe of a mule. It was the shape of the shoe that caught her attention that it would belong to a mule rather than a horse. Just a bit of information I thought you would find interesting. Much Love, CP

    Dear Chickenpoet and class, I am tickled silly that you are looking at old posts and very glad to get the mule shoe info. I have changed to post to reflect that new knowledge. I love that the old posts can be edited. Any other bloopers or mistakes, please do not hesitate to leave a comment about it! Much love,
    Frances

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