Each year, right around August, I start to wonder if I've taken enough advantage of the summer. Living in Minnesota, summer months are painfully short and I like to get in as much activity as I can while the sun is still shining. No time can be wasted! There are bikes to be ridden, lakes to swim in, walks to be had, and sports to be played … There's a sentiment in the air that the promise of the outdoors is a precious gift and should be experienced to the fullest. However, you really can't underestimate the sheer joy of a lazy summer afternoon—eating ice cream or watermelon, sitting around chatting with friends at a barbecue, hanging out in the park reading a good book, or even taking a nap. These sorts of lazy days can make summer the most enjoyable time of the year.
Esoterically speaking, summer holds a lot of mystery. Besides Midsummer and Lammas, two holidays full of magick. I suggest you take the following book to a beach or a park, soak up the sun, pack a fabulous lunch, and read up on the magick mojo that summer can bring.
Author Ellen Dugan knows teens—she has three. That's why her book Elements of Witchcraft speaks so well to those surviving the tough years between twelve and eighteen. Ellen has advice for those teens wondering how to celebrate the Sabbats. For Midsummer, otherwise known as Litha, she writes:
The sabbat occurs in the month of June on the first day of summer, the date of the summer solstice. The summer solstice is a time for faeries, the Green Man, and flower magick. If you live near the water, go swimming and collect some shells or stones. Lay out on the beach, the shore, or even at the pool, and feel the strength of the sun as the rays shine down on you. (Don't forget to wear sunscreen. We don't want you to get burned.) The sun is at its highest point in the sky today so go and celebrate it!
If you missed Midsummer and weren't able to celebrate properly, Ellen talks about Lammas, or Lughnasadh, which occurs on August first:
This is the midpoint of summer and fall, the harvest of berries and grains, and the first of three harvest festivals. This sabbat is celebrated with herb gathering and bread baking. Natural decorations include sunflowers, marigolds, gourds, and dried wheat.
At the first of the three harvest festivals, be thankful for the things that you do have and for your right to be free. Go berry picking. Go on a nature walk with your family. Hey, it's hot outside! Cool off and help out the plants and trees in your yard at the same time by watering them. You can always use this as the perfect opportunity to playfully nail one of your family members with a hose.
For some reason, my teenage kids and their friends seem to dance carefully around me whenever I am watering the garden. They never turn their backs on me. I suppose they are a bit nervous of being around me when I have a hose in my hand. Why? Because they know I may squirt them at any given time (keeps them on their toes).
Don't even roll your eyes at me. When was the last time you played in the sprinkler or had a water fight? It is fun to play outside. Yes, I realize you are a cool teenager and you have an image to uphold. Now go and have some fun, will ya? Laugh and enjoy yourself! I am often at my happiest and most content when I'm digging around in the garden (maybe it's because I like to play in the dirt). How about you? What simple things make you happy?
Are you noticing that days are definitely growing shorter? The wheel of the year is turning. Summer is quickly drawing to a close, so you better enjoy your summer vacation while you still have it!
No one says it quite like Ellen. She captures the essence of the joy a summer day can bring. It's a time for relaxation, play, sunshine—a time to let go of any inhibitions you might have. Who doesn't enjoy a jump through the sprinkler?
With books like Elements of Witchcraft by Ellen Dugan, you really have no excuse but to lay back and enjoy your summer vacation. School is coming soon, and it's time to take a breather. When you need a break from swimming at the beach, playing tennis, riding your bike, or running around with friends, grab your hammock, snatch up this books, and lay back and enjoy your time in the shade. Say hello to the lazy days of summer!