We know that at Midsummer – the summer solstice – we will experience the longest day of the year, when the sun is at its height and we celebrate the growth of crops; knowing that what we have sown is strong and growing well. This applies to both the physical world, and our own worlds – reaping the rewards of efforts made and intentions set.

In many countries there is a tradition of jumping over fire. The fire represents the height of the summer sun and jumping over it or through it a ritual of purification of the soul.

During the summer we spend more time outdoors than at any other time of the year. It’s when the sun is at its most powerful and we harness pure solar energy. Then, along with the world of nature, we will begin the journey towards late summer and autumn, bringing us full circle to the point at which our school year began.
Looking back, we can recall our observances of the role of light in the passing seasons. We honoured the strength and light of courage on Michaelmas at our Autumn Festival and were grateful for the gifts of the sun as we celebrated the harvest. As the autumn days grew shorter and the outer light decreased, we felt the need to kindle our own light within by creating lanterns to shelter the sun’s last sparks. The lantern’s light led us through the darkness, towards the time of our Midwinter Garden at our Spiral of Light Festival. In this quiet, and beautiful space, we experienced the turning point when our inner light could begin to shine, bringing warmth and light into the world.

Soon after Midwinter the days began to lengthen noticeably, and in spite of the cold, we could look ahead to spring as the sun’s path crept further above the horizon and the sap began to rise in the trees.

Children feel this stirring much sooner than adults, but as spring arrives we too can feel, if we are attuned to such things, a loosening of our invisible protective winter cloaks. We feel drawn outward to the light. It is as if we no longer need to protect the sun’s spark in our lantern, but can release it to meet the sun’s growing light and reunite with it. Our own light begins to stream outward, like a flower opening to the sun. The sun, in return, sends its warmth and light down to us, bringing us joyful and healing messages from the heavenly worlds and inviting us to share this light in our words and deeds.

It is interesting to consider that both the Christian and the Jewish faiths celebrate their festivals of Pentecost at this time of year (fifty days after Easter and after Passover, respectively). Whether or not we observe either of these festivals ourselves, we may appreciate that the image of the flaming light of spirit belongs to human experience at this season.

And so, we join in our Summer Festival and say:

Full flaming fire by thy light glowing
Show to us beauty, vision and joy.