Celebrating Faeries, Wishes and The Good Ole Summertime
By Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. 🐾
The Summer Solstice rings in the waning year and begins the slow good-bye of the sun as the days become shorter and the darkness returns to the land. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we celebrate the Summer Solstice on June 21st or 22nd in the Southern Hemisphere it falls on December 21st or 22nd.
As the story goes, the Oak King has ruled over the Earth, bringing the Sun to warm the ground so fields could be planted for wheat, barley and gardens can grow. When the solstice arrives, the Holly King wakes from his slumber and challenges the Oak for supremacy in the sky.
Their battles rage through the summer as the Oak King fights to hold on to his love, Mother Earth. The clashes between these Kings are heard through the Thunder drums of summer storms as lightning crackles from the striking of their swords in bright explosions.
To watch over the land, the Faeries come out at night to protect the children of Mother Earth and their forest homes from the battles that rage on beyond the clouds above. The rabbits, squirrels, birds, trees and flowers are all cared for by the magikal Fae and even you are protected beneath their wings.
If you honor the work of the Fae on the special Summer Solstice night, they may return your kindness by helping to manifest a wish you asked during the Solstice festival. For this is the night the Fae dance by the bonfires and spread their magik across the land beneath the light of Grandmother Moon.
Honor The Fae
There are many different ways for Celebrating The Summer Solstice. You can learn more about the festivals and history of the holiday to inspire your rituals for the evening. Some traditions honor the Kings one year and the fae the follow year and so on. One great thing about Pagan practices, they evolve and change, grow and expand to increase understanding and connection to spirit. Rituals that are always the same, always kept in a box or on a specific road get old after awhile. There isn’t a single one true path or right way to honor the Sabbats and the energy that surrounds them. It’s ok to allow your High Holy Days to evolve and change from year to year.
Keeping your holidays interesting and different is one way to keep your connection to the Divine energy of the Sun and Moon, the Waxing or Waning year or to Mother Nature, fresh and exciting. Don’t be afraid to try new things and expand your celebrations to have some fun. Holding a few moments of reverent reflection is necessary, but it doesn’t have to over shadow the entire day or evenings ritual. Change things up and add a little fun!
The Summer Solstice is one of the best holidays to try new things! And that covers everything from new dishes cooked from a garden, to a new ritual that can be shared with family and friends. The Summer Solstice is also one of the best nights to communicate with the Faeries who live around you. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the heart of a big city or out in the quiet country side. They’re around, watching over mother nature and keeping an eye on you too.
There are many rituals I enjoy to honor the Fae on this Solstice Night. This one is my favorite.
Walnuts for Wishes:
This is one I learned from an Elder when I first started my spiritual journey. Its always been a favorite of mine because it gives the new students/apprentices of our clan the chance to get to know the elders and learn from their vast knowledge and experiences.
It begins with baking cookies and sharing stories over the making of the batter and preparations for the evening ritual. Everyone will be tasked to participate and help clean up afterwards. Putting thought and energy into action is key to this ritual effort!
You don’t have to be an elder to have some fun though. We all teach each other no matter how much knowledge or experience we have. So invite a few friends over for tea and tales to share the magik of your kitchen and put some loving friendly energy into your baking effort. It’s great for beginners of Pagan practices, but it’s also wonderful in sharing our traditions with those of other faiths who are simply interested in what we do. Open your doors and invite those you like to expand their knowledge and yours!
Walnuts for Wishes Cookies
Traditionally, the elder of your clan, coven or gathering mixes the ingredients and shares a story about the Fae as the mixing “over the cauldron” occurs. Perhaps their story is a personal experience, or a legend that tells the tale of a particular type of Fae. It can be anything Faery related. Even a teaching story that shares how to communicate and talk to the Faery Folk.
While the elder shares the tale, the apprentices/guests help to prepare some of the baking ingredients. Such as chopping whole walnuts into smaller chunks for the cookies, measuring each ingredient for the elder to add to the mixing bowl, and greasing the cookie sheets with a dab of butter or shortening. Someone has to prepare the ceremonial basket that will hold the cookies for the evening ritual, and there’s some paper crafting that needs to be done as well. We’ll get to that in a moment. But there’s enough little tasks for nearly everyone to do.
This recipe makes 2 dozen cookies. There should be 1 cookie for each person at your Solstice Gathering and a Bakers Dozen (13 cookies) for the faeries. So if you need to make two batches to ensure everyone gets a cookie and the Fae have their Bakers Dozen, then make the batter twice. There was a rule about not doubling the mixture to bake a full 4 dozen cookies all at once; but honestly I can’t remember what the reason was. It was important and if I do remember it, I’ll come back and update this post. For now…take my word for it, it’s a bad thing and you don’t want to do that.
The recipe calls for using a tablespoon to grab a spoonful of batter to place on the cookie sheet to size the cookies for baking. My Elder would use those long handled tea spoons instead of tablespoons and I like this idea. She said it made more cookies so it was easier for everyone to share a bite (and a bite was all you needed at ritual). And the smaller sized cookie, left enough dough to make the cookies for the fae. The smaller cookie was also easier for the little faeries to carry away and enjoy where and when they wanted. With one batch you could almost double that number by baking smaller serving sized cookies. Oh and before I forget; it’s ok to have left over cookies. You can serve them at your feast after the ritual has concluded. But NOT before!! Or you can leave them out for the animals the Fae watch over during the knight. I like this as it lets me give a special gift to my resident racoons and opossums. But you can leave them out the next morning for you local birds and squirrels too. And if you live by a lake, you can even toss them out for the fish or ducks and geese.
- Dry Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup regular oats
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Wet Ingredients:
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg
- To lightly grease the cookie sheet:
- A dab of butter or shortening
- Save these to add last:
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 2/3 cup raisins (optional)
Part of this process is to connect with the old ways, that means no electrical items are used in the mixing and making of the cookies. With the exception of a timer and oven of course. So a wooden spoon for mixing is the primary utensil. Glass or metal mixing bowls are required.
My elder would use copper mixing bowls and they were really quite lovely. She kept her set separate from everyday use and only brought them out for ritual baking.
To be honest, the cookie sheets themselves were of no special requirement. She always said, you only have so much room in your pantry for ritual tools, and the cookie sheets were always her exception to the rules. I don’t know why that always cracked me up, but it’s a practice I’ve included in my own holiday baking.
And the final rule, it’s a must to stay away from all plastics. Plastics absorb whatever was placed on them last time they were used. That residue will also have residual energy that you don’t want associated with your ritual baking. So NO PLASTIC!
The ritual basket should be exactly that, a wicker type basket, laden with a clean cloth to protect the cookies until your ritual gathering. Use a colored cloth to help decorate for the ritual blues, greens and yellows are the colors of this holiday. Add some colored ribbons and incorporate some flowers from your garden all around the handle of the basket.
Now let’s get started:
- Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- In a large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix them together; except for the walnuts and raisins. You’ll add those last.
- In a medium bowl, combine all the wet ingredients. Mix them together well until they have made a smooth mixture.
- Next add the wet batter to the dry ingredients folding the mixtures together thoroughly until well blended.
- The Elder holds the bowl of walnuts and raisins over the cookie batter, saying a prayer to the fae that honors their presence and states the intent that these cookies are made with love especially for them as a thank you for watching over Mother Earth’s children. Then fold the walnuts and raisins into the batter thoroughly.
- Once the batter has been made, give everyone a spoon and place the batter and cookie sheets in the middle of a table where each person at your baking party can reach it.
- Now everyone will scoop out a spoonful of batter and place it on the cookie sheet. Keep the batter drops about 1 to 2 inches apart for baking.
- Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies become light brown. If you want a firmer cookie, cook a little longer; but you don’t want the edges to become dark brown and especially not black/burnt!
- Remove the cookies from the oven and let them stand for about 5minutes to cool.
- Place the cookies in the decorated basket and cover with a clean cloth. You’ll use this for serving the cookies at the evening ritual.
- And….NO STEALING A TASTE! It’s rude and bad form to take a cookie before the Solstice Circle has been drawn.
The Wishing Note
In addition to the cookies for the Fae, you’ll need wishes to share as well. As your Circle guests arrive, give them a light blue piece of memo note paper and a dark blue pencil or pen to write with (blue ink that is). Blue is the color of the sky, the color of searching and the color to petition a wish from the faeries.
Everyone who will be in your circle will need to write a wish (or a blessing if they don’t have a wish) on the paper. Typically a 3×3 piece of memo note paper is fine. Please, don’t use post-it-notes for this. You can pick up little note pads at the local craft or stationery store. Once the wish has been written, the guest should fold the paper into a perfect square and carry it with them into the circle. No one else should hold the Wishing Note or read it. What it says is between the author and the Faeries.
Conduct your ceremony as you normally would to open the circle and bless the gathering. It is typical to have a bonfire in the center of the Solstice gathering. These can be huge safely made bonfires, fires in a fire pit or even something as simple as a little fire in a charcoal grill. As long as you and the area around the fire are safe and remain so, the size of the fire doesn’t really matter. If your gathering is small, you can even use a fireplace inside your home for the Solstice fire.
The person officiating the circle (we’ll call this person the resident Shaman) should have a short story to tell about the Solstice and why we honor the fae on this night. Included in that story is a blessing of honor to the fae and a thank you for their service and visitation on this night and throughout the entire year.
The Shaman will then have everyone hold up their wishing note to present it to the Divine that has been called upon and to the Fae who have gathered around your bonfire circle. Each person is then directed to visualize what they wrote on their note, be it a wish or a blessing. This is a short meditation that puts imagery into the words that were written. The image should be seen as a bubble of light infusing with the paper and making it glow with a beautiful clear blue light. This mini-meditation should take about 3 to 5 minutes at the most.
The Shaman then says something like
“With these words so bright,
we send our wishes into the light,
with thanks and gratitude on this Faery night,
we raise our words through the bonfire’s might.”
Then everyone tosses their paper into the bonfire.
The Shaman then says something like
“With the rise of this smoke
we send our petitions out to the Faery folk.
With thanks, gratitude and love in kind,
We send our wishes in united mind”.
Everyone focuses on the smoke for a moment and thinks good thoughts about the fae working on the creation and manifestation of your wish or blessing. I like to add a guided visualization to my gatherings, at this point. I ask everyone present to see their loving energy expanding to unite those next to them and to visual this pink energy moving in a clockwise motion around the entire circle. See this energy spinning in unison and slowly becoming a cone of power (like an upside down tornado). Through this cone, everyone’s wish or blessing is pulled into the Divine Universe through the smoke of the fire. The tip of the cone flows out to the deepest reaches of the ethereal plain where all the energy of creation resides. There the cone of smoke and power is released where magik of Divine creation can manifest the words from the gathering. Then we release the cone from the bottom up, allowing all the energy to rise and let go. This is the equivalent of “Let go and Let God/dess”.
Now the Shaman will raise the basket of Walnut Wishing Cookies and bless them in a similar fashion stating that these are offerings to the Fae. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Follow your heart and you’ll find the right words for you and your gathering.
Next the Shaman or their helper(s) will take the basket around to each member of the gathering who will take a cookie for themselves. When everyone has a cookie (there should be at least 13 in the basket left), the Shaman says a blessing over the members of the gathering that links the energy of the fae to the cookie and as it’s consumed that energy is taken in by each member and fills them with the love, compassion and their own magik within them. Imagine the cookies glowing with blue energy that travels down your throat and into your tummy where it will expand from within and fill you up with loving warm Faery light and magik.
Ok, here’s the tricky part. In traditional clans or covens, there is a hierarchy within the membership. Some people will be elders all the way to beginning students. Traditionally the 13 highest ranking members will be asked to take a cookie left in the basket.
They then file out the door way of the circle and place a cookie somewhere around the gathering for the faeries. It can be under a bush, on a rose, or next to a tree. You’re not necessarily hiding the cookies, as much as placing the cookies near where you know the fae will be hiding as they watch your gathering.
The members then re-enter the circle through the doorway to the circle and take their places again. Continue the gathering, sing songs, dance around the fire, whatever else you feel you’d like to do in honoring this special Solstice night. Close the circle and go to your celebration feast. But here’s a key issue. Don’t go looking to see if the fae took your cookies or not. It’s considered bad form and if they didn’t get it during the night, your disappointment might put a negative energy upon the cookie and they won’t want to come by and pick it up on the next night.
Remember the fae are tiny folk and even a small cookie is a lot of food for them to consume. So they may not take all the cookies in one night. Let them be and allow the faeries to do with them as they may.
I hope you like this little ritual of Walnuts for Wishes. It’s really a fun activity to share on the Solstice Night. Feel free to use this “as is” for your own gathering, or use it as inspiration to create your own ideas or practice of working with the Fae. And if you hold such a ritual with your family and friends, I hope you’ll drop me a note and let me know how it goes.
May you and yours have a wonderful and blessed Solstice gathering!
Happy Summer Solstice to one and all!
You can find more about the High Holy Days: The Pagan Sabbats, to discover why they’re observed at sunset and their timing through the year.
© 2014-2016 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.