2016 Summer Solstice
By: Minette Quick
SUMMER SOLSTICE FESTIVAL
FOUNDATION CENTRE - IRELAND
June 25th, 2016
The Earth is our Mother,
The Sun is our Strength.
May the Heavenly guide us,
And grant us dear friends!
It is now three years since Olivia finally stepped down from her long-standing role of planning and hosting the eight annual Festivals at Foundation Centre in Ireland, entrusting it to the care of the Circle of Brigid, which she formed to assist her in 2004. It has been a huge role to fulfil, but her spirit continues to inspire us in all we do. On this occasion in addition to welcoming some new members and friends, we were blessed to have with us some much loved senior and long-standing members of the priesthood of the Fellowship and close friends of the Co-Founders, who have many happy memories of working with them in past years, and still feel the connection with their original spirit in our festivities.
It has been a summer of constant change in the weather, and it would have been a shame not to be able to process through the grounds at this special time. But the rain held off and it was ‘roses all the way’ as we approached the glories of the Rose Garden in full flower at the height of the growing season, and to breathe in the blessings of ‘Rosa Mundi’- symbol of the Divine Mother in all her perfection throughout the ages.
Down in the Grove, members of the Druid Clan of Dana invoked the inspiration of her presence in word and sound, and powerful Solstice energy could be felt rising beneath our feet, flowing on upwards to the skies! Beside the mighty redwoods which her father planted, Olivia’s cheerful little birch continues to grow and thrive, and is now in full bright leaf.
The ancient walls of the Abbey home of the Noble Order of Tara are now restored, with an abundance of flowering shrubs and roses, all doing well within their shelter. As ever we invoked Divine assistance to awaken us to join, even in small ways within our daily lives, with the key work of the Order’s members who are dedicated to preserving all that nature provides; and as we left the sun broke through, and smiled upon us as we descended the steps to the Garden Gate, invoking Persephone’s blessing and permission to enter the Temple.
At the Well it was good to recall Olivia’s description of a vision that Isis gave her of joyful expansion - never at the expense of other religious or spiritual ways - always expanding through generosity, friendliness and creativity shared with all; and as members of the priesthood stepped forward to invoke the presence of those deities special to them, and individual blessings from the Goddess were given with water from Brigid’s Well, we were all enfolded within a gentle, supportive and loving energy which pervaded the whole Temple.
At the High Altar of Isis, crowned with tumbling sprays of delicate rambling roses, we received an Oracle from the Goddess Sophia of great wisdom and deep understanding. She encouraged us to seek Her within the beauty of all around us, within the present moment. She charged us to remember She is always with us and at hand, no matter what challenges might face us upon the stage of life. For She is to be found not only within the great light of summer, but also within the depths of darkness and Her creativity may be found there also… And as Her words faded into the peace of reflection, the gentle tones of the harp held and returned us softly to the physicality of the Temple.
In perfect but unexpected demonstration of the words of Sophia, there followed two contrasting readings, starting with ‘The Dragon of the Summer Solstice’- representing the ecstatic thrust of Earth’s energies at this time, ‘Erupting into Her cloak of verdant green, with shooting stems and a kaleidoscope of colours’ singing ‘the song of welcome to Kin of every kind.’ This beautiful poem and accompanying painting was received as a creative offering from a member in the UK.
Next was an equally dramatic, beautiful yet poignant legend of the origin of the Night-blooming Cereus as told in desert regions, based on faith and family love within Native American tradition of the amazing plant which blooms magically in the dead of night only once a year in mid-June to the delight of those eagerly awaiting this moment….‘In a synchronistic display of collective beauty, the night glows with hundreds of pure white blossoms from these plants that are scattered throughout the desert.’ The member who sent us this has one on her property and was inspired to tune into the ‘Voice’ of this ‘Queen of the Night’ and we were truly blessed to hear her mystical words speaking of the long hidden wait for this one incredible manifestation of her true beauty and offering of her fragrance which draws ‘the small winged ones’ to ‘dance in and out of her essence’ and pollinate them ‘before they close once again in the early morning hours, turning the buds later turn into a bright red fruit to provide food for neighbouring animals and birds and in nourishing others to re-create themselves one day’.
At this point it was time for the contrast of a delightful Tree chant, which we all learnt, and with a little practice mastered sufficiently to sing as a rousing round! After which everyone settled happily to turn inwards to an experience of ‘Breathing in Grace’ – a gentle, restorative practice which offers release from the entanglements of the mind into the peace of presence.
Finally, we thoroughly enjoyed the lively telling of the legend of ‘Aengus Og’ Irish God of Love, Son of the Daghda and Bionn (Goddess of the River Boyne) whose spirit became downcast when he fell in love with a beautiful maiden in a dream, whom he sought for a long time before finding her bound by a spell into the form of a swan…….
Our main programme ended with a powerful session of prayer for all, and those who were with us for the first time were invited to visit the ‘Prayer Tree’ in the Healing Chapel and to leave ribbons for their intentions if they so wished.
Following notices, Thanksgiving to Deity was given for their loving presence amongst us. Short healing/counselling sessions were offered by members of the priesthood and we retired to the village to enjoy time together for the traditional home-made tea which is such a lovely way to conclude the day’s activities.
June 27th 2016
Castle Rose, © Durdin-Robertson, Huntington Castle
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(Many thanks to Minette for sending her lovely reports!)
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