A Well Celebrated Solstice...

Blessed Summer Solstice Everyone! 
I hope you had a beautiful morning, day or evening - whatever you did to celebrate. I made a complete spiritual solstice pig of myself and celebrated for about 4 days solid! My body has yet to forgive me....
Hot on the heels of our few days away last week and ignoring the weather forecast, I headed off to Eastbourne on the East Sussex coast for a spot of camping with my friend Charlotte and her daughter Jem at a Summer Solstice Festival run by a local drumming group that another friend is involved with. 
An hour later, after a whole car load of camping equipment had been battled with and sworn at, finally vanquished with no instructions and a fortifying cuppa from our new 'neighbours' had been gratefully drunk, we were ready to go and explore the variety of stalls and be entertained for the afternoon and evening. 
Lots of deeply resonating drumming from the Pentacle Drummers, wonderful performances from various Morris groups and dancers and magic from that old scoundrel Devil Stick Pete, but yet again it was the fabulous confident and sexy hip-swinging belly dancers of Tribal Unity that stood out for me. A group of ladies of mixed ages and body shapes, curvy and slim all unabashedly dancing to wonderful music from around the world
Tribal Unity
celebrating the diversity amongst themselves rather than hiding it away and enjoying it - Go Ladies! I rather think my Goddess would particularly approve of them.

Later a simple ritual was held to mark the forthcoming solstice, which included calling in the four elements, the Goddess and the Gods, as well as some bardic story telling about the Oak and the Holly Kings battling for supremacy over the seasons.
The evening was topped off by some brilliant singers and bands; singing a mixture of mournful, joyous, haunting and funny songs about Beltane, Gods, myths, Goddesses, legends and the earth late into the night with some catching up with old friends, followed by a spectacular near full visit from Lady Moon as we headed back to our woodland camp site and attempted to sleep. 
Lady Moon
Funny how much quicker it is to take the tents and awnings down the following day isn't it? After an impromptu visit to the nearby beach on the way home where I collected some beautiful stones for my altar, I managed to sneak an extra hour of sleep in my suddenly oh so comfy bed, before seeing my lovely Dad for Father's Day and then somewhat reluctantly, hauling myself off to my local  Maidstone Pagans Moot that I unexpectedly inherited the Admin and running of a while back! A lot of people had been unable to make it and I was all but ready to cancel it when a new lady said she was definitely coming. My reward, apart form my lovely husband offering to drive for a change so that I could have a cheeky pint, was not one but four shiny lovely new people and a great evening chatting to like minded people about all manner of things Goddessy, Angels, Tarot, Ghosts ... you name it as well as making amazing connection between two people that had lost touch with each other - small world!
As if I hadn't done enough camping to make my bones ache and grumble over the weekend, I packed every waterproof I possessed and made my way with some anxiety to my next adventure a Summer Solstice Camp, anxiety
Sunshine Wheel
due to the fact that I'd only met two people there a mere once before. Big, brave pep talk and stern talking to myself in the car ensued about being confident and all of it being part of my journey, basically telling myself to Woman Up! Just to reassure some of the less confident among you that I do get a bit lonely and isolated too on my path and have wavers in my faith of my abilities and limits and wonder if I should just go back home - quite a lot if I'm honest! Usually grounding or centering myself clears all that negativity and calling Goddess in helps me focus on my strengths and identifying my goals.

Solstice Incense
Deep breath, last minute grounding and as I got out of the car, found myself approached by two lovely people who welcomed me with hugs and introduced themselves, pointing me to where I had to register and showing me where to pitch my tent - sorted. Heartfelt prayer of thanks sent to Her upstairs.

Tent pitched and mug of tea filled, a quick wander round the beautiful camp - Kits Coty Glamping nestling in the North Downs, it's absolutely gorgeous and I was ready to Solstice! I joined in with a colourful selection of solstice arts and crafts that was taking place, like the sun wheel above, easy once you got the hang of it, which we later placed on our own cloutie tree at the site, as well as mixing and blending our own recipe of incense, making and decorating wands, masks 
Midsummer's Eve Walk
and designing flower mandalas whilst chatting with lots of lovely people and recognising a few more familiar faces too.

Before our sundown ritual, we just had time
to walk up to the stones, my beloved Kit's Coty where I often go for a bit of peace or to clear my mind. Walking through fields of waist high grass and wild flowers was pretty magical in the evening sun. 
The children in the group laughing and running ahead up the hill, playing and hiding in the long grass, like they must have done for time immemorial on their journey up to this special place. It really felt like the ancestors walked besides us as we went and I have to say that later on as evening fell, I was very aware of the closeness of these people, I was sure I heard voices nearby but couldn't understand what was being said. 
Offering at The Stones
As we reached the stones, I saw with delight that someone had somehow managed to get through the railings that surround the stones to protect it and placed none other than a corn dolly there for Litha, Summer Solstice or Midsummer - couldn't be a more apt symbol for a Grain Goddess such as Ker could there? Interesting choice, which had me wondering who else visits there regularly and why this corn dolly was so important to them that they went to the effort to place it there!

We celebrated further into the night with a short sundown ritual and a fire, with plenty of bats flying above our heads whilst we drank hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows before catching a few hours sleep. My sleep was disturbed by a strange snuffling and shuffling outside of my tent, first instinct was that it was a crazed wolf, then a rabid fox or a ferocious rat...it was in fact none of them, just a curious hedgehog who blinked with bewilderment when I shone my torch at it. I'm sure I could still hear those voices though! Sunrise came round quickly and was veiled in cloud, but we stood there bleary eyed and fuelled with tea to greet it and perform another ceremony to welcome Summer. I'm still not quite sure how I got through  all day at work, but I did get a much needed early night in a proper bed that night, it may take a while for the rest of me to catch up though!

Have A Blessed Week x x 

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