A little more than a week ago, Summer Solstice moved on through. I read a few posts on Facebook from friends that were celebrating the turn of the Wheel. I had even been invited to a few celebrations that were taking place at various points during that weekend. But I opted for a quiet moment: standing in the kitchen, sipping a cup of coffee; while watching the sun peek over the horizon. Yes, for those of you that read me on a semi-regular basis (all three of you), this sounds familiar. Its my daily (mostly) ritual for the start of my day. In short, I followed my usual routine for Summer Solstice.
There’s a lot to be said for specific rituals for specific times. Summer Solstice is no exception to that. There are many gorgeous rituals that one can do. One of my favorites is the Summer Solstice Meditation that John Beckett posted a short time ago on Patheos. However, there is also a bit to be said for just handling the day like any other.
A few years back, I was struggling to find a way to put organized rituals into my life — specifically those that are meant for specific times in the Wheel of the Year. I had difficulty locating time in the specified day to do a ritual. Sometimes it was because there were competing needs in the course of the day. Other times, it was because I was totally drained of energy to manage a ritual of any sort. One cold evening during the early months of the year, I remember looking outside at the falling snow and thinking it would be really interesting to try a ritual in this weather. I was home alone, so I pulled my boots on, grabbed a coat and headed outside to do just that. It wasn’t much of a ritual, at least I didn’t think so. I walked around the big tree in my backyard, faced each direction, and spoke the words to the Druid’s Prayer. I then beat the accumulated snow off my boats and coat and headed back inside.
I was completely energized by what I had done. It had come about at the right time, in the right place, and in the right way. Except that it wasn’t at any prescribed point in the Wheel. It didn’t have the purpose that any of those particular rituals had. But it had tons more energy! It took a while for me to realize, it was the spur of the moment that really drove me forward. It was that spark of the moment that kindled the fire deep within me. So I spent time thinking about this entire experience. Why did it work for me? What should I do going into the future? And I eventually realized that this was the way that my Paganism was going to have deeper meaning for me.
I still manage to hold some form of ritual at the major spokes in the Wheel of the Year — just not all the time. Its not because it isn’t right for me – not at all. Its merely because its not the right timing for me. There are some rituals that I do follow on with at the appropriate time. There’s honestly not a lot of spark to those moments, and sometimes I feel like I am doing things from rote memory, “just because”. However, giving over to the moment, when everything feels “right” about the here and the now…just letting go and allow myself the self-prescribed permission to do so…that’s the difference.