SUMMER SOLSTICE FESTIVAL
FOUNDATION CENTRE - IRELAND
16th June 2018
These few days before the Solstice proper, the weather had been overcast and somewhat heavy, with a forecast of occasional showers. But 'joy of joys', a burst of bright sunshine suddenly broke through just as we joined in singing a wonderful new chant in Irish to the Sun, Moon and Earth, and set off to connect afresh with the special places in the grounds held dear within the Fellowship.
Straight ahead, under a clear blue sky, the surrounding hills perfectly framed the summit of Mount Leinster as we approached the rose garden to invoke Rosa Mundi, whilst all about us glimpses could be seen of tangles of roses climbing and tumbling in profusion in all their summer glory.
These processional walks through the grounds are ever fresh and the warmth of the sun was a joy. Approaching and entering the Grove of Dana, a quieter, cooler energy reached out to us as we invoked and listened in peace to another lovely song in Irish, before continuing on and across the formal gardens to the Abbey, to renew our dedication to Ériu and Maeve for the protection of our precious environment.
The perennial presence of Persephone beside the Garden entrance to the Temple, her spring and summer reign now fully established, nevertheless reminds us that everything is cyclical. The height of summer once attained, gradually but inexorably wanes with the light, and this was later expanded upon in our play.
But to the senses of our many visitors, entering the energy of the Temple must provide a great contrast to the everyday world outside; for each of the altars is dedicated to the living presence in Spirit of one of the many powerful Feminine Deities revered all over the world in past ages, but rediscovered for our time in the Western world by the Co-Founders of the Fellowship, who sought to reestablish an awareness of the Divinity of the Universal Feminine as Goddess, Mother of All, in equality and unity with the Divine Masculine.
The wisdom of the Oracles received by Olivia, and expressed in story through the Liturgy, continues to awaken and rekindle this connection to the ever-present Divine, in whatever loving and compassionate form we may resonate with. This wisdom seeks to establish throughout the world the truth that all share equally in the divine birthright, together with all that it implies. None are denied this birthright, its divine spark is embodied within all upon the planet, and is expressed throughout every detail of creation.
To this end all our ceremonies are devoted - readings from the Oracles, the tradition of Invocations and individual Blessings from the Goddess with sacred water from Brigid's Well - all call upon Divinity to inspire and support us, awaken us from painful dreams, calm our fears, guide and care for us, and through us to Bless the World.
At the High Altar this time, the Goddess Sophia beseeched us through her priestess, to turn and open our attention to respond to that which is right before us in each moment, and in her powerful phrase, "Stop walking backwards into the future..."
This was followed by a quiet and beautiful song allowing for reflection upon the wisdom of Sophia.
Our guided journey took us deep into peace and release, and the Mystery Play presented the truth that the changing seasons on the 'wheel of life' which we feel so keenly at both Summer and Winter Solstice, are in fact both offering us complementary gifts and blessings. These gifts were beautifully described, first by a 'priestess of light', then by a 'priest of darkness', each willingly cooperating, fulfilling and completing their roles on the cycle with all its mystery of life, death and constant renewal. As Nature unfolds its ever-changing drama each year, it surely provides the ultimate demonstration of ever-present creativity and true Divinity.
As ever, love and light were sent to those in need of care, and thanks given to Deity for their presence amongst us, we repaired to the village for tea and replenishment in enjoyable company.