What a joyous time of the year! The long summer nights and the season of abundance in nature are arriving. The summer solstice is generally a period full of intoxicating and vibrant energy. Not to mention people are generally much more cheerful.
My name is Marieke Lexmond, and I’m the author of “the Madigan Chronicles.” I live in New Orleans and spend part of the year here on the West Coast of Ireland.
One of my favorite places to visit regularly is Brigit’s Garden. What a magical place they have created here. Much gratitude and awe to Jenny Beale for envisioning such a place and making it a reality with visionary garden designer Mary Reynolds. The inner gardens representing the four major Celtic holidays are a feast for whoever is attuned to these cycles. The embodiment of the feelings of the festivals is deeply felt if you take a moment to reflect in each portion of the garden. If I can, I try to arrive early when they open, sitting very quietly, surrounded by bird songs and the buzzing of the many insects.
We are approaching the Summer Solstice, the celebration of the light, as it’s known on the Celtic wheel of the year. In the old ways, the longest day was a time to celebrate the regenerative powers of the sun. The Celts would light hilltop bonfires and dance. It was customary for lovers to clasp hands and jump over the bonfire for good luck in their relationship. The fires were meant to banish any evil spirits that might harm crops. It’s hard to imagine how important this season was in ancient times. With our year-round food, light, and warmth. For them, food was finally bountiful again, and they had to start preparing for the harvest. The herbs for medicine needed to be gathered and dried. It’s the busiest time and joyous, as it’s easier to socialize on those long evenings.
As jumping over a fire is not a wise idea, there are still a lot of other ways how you can celebrate the Summer Solstice today! You can do something simple as wearing yellow, orange, or gold colors to celebrate the sun.
Meditate under the sun, or better yet, meditate under the sun in Brigit’s Garden! One of the extraordinary places in the garden is the circle of oaks. If you slow down and take a moment to feel the trees, they will speak to you. Go stand in the middle and look up; you will see the treetops forming a crown above your head. Much like old times, when they made oak-leaf crowns to celebrate.
Do something that makes you happy. Bake a cake and share it with friends. Share abundance— do something, however small, to help those in need. Although taking the time to re-energize yourself is wonderful, this solstice is about sharing; now is the perfect moment to have that barbeque with friends or a picnic; make music and laugh!
The wheel is turning, and it is officially summer. Lambs are growing, and Ireland is back to its many shades of green. Everything is already or is coming to full bloom. Like my most beloved part of the garden, the wildflower patch. Its colors and diversity radiate happiness for me. I can’t wait to rush out there and take pictures of the flowers and bees.
Brigit Garden and Mary Reynolds’ book “The Garden Awakening” has inspired my own little garden here in the Connemara. I learned much about what a healthy garden means and working with native species. I’m not such a gifted gardener, but I find it thrilling to see my garden taking shape after several years of struggle. Biodiversity is essential, and we all can do our little part in fighting the carbon dioxide in the air by keeping our gardens, patios, and even balconies as green as possible.
What are you still doing inside reading this? Go out and enjoy this special day to the fullest. I wish you a blessed Summer Solstice filled with delicious food, music, laughter, and sunshine.
Marieke Lexmond, Author “The Madigan Chronicles”
IG & Facebook @underthewitcheshat
You are very welcome to join us for a special Summer Solstice Forest Bathing Walk at Brigit’s Garden on Sunday 19th June, 2022 with qualified guide Carol Barrett. At this special time of year, the sun is at its highest point in the sky. It is a time for celebration, abundance, inspiration, transformation and earth-giving energy. We only have only about four hours of deep darkness until the birds begin to sing awake another day. The blooming flowers tilt their heads towards the sun and the bees are busy at work collecting nectar.
The Forest Bathing Walk will give you an opportunity to slow down and connect with nature and tune into Mother Nature’s rhythm.