Backyard Barbeque Ritual
Midsummer falls in the middle of summer, right before things start to get unbearably hot in most parts of the world, so it’s a perfect time to celebrate by having friends and family over for a cookout. Why not take advantage of this get-together and turn it into a fun celebration of the summer solstice? After all, if summer is about having fun with the people you love, a backyard barbeque is the perfect way to mark the season!
Start by decorating your back yard with symbols of the season. If your tradition normally casts a circle prior to ritual, consider placing some unusual items on your altar and at the four points:
North (Earth): A sandbox, potted flowers, your garden
East (Air): Fans, pinwheels, hula hoops, a swingset
South (Fire): Sparklers (they’re easy to find right before July 4th), your grill, a large fire bowl or pit
West (Water): Squirt guns, buckets of water, a sprinkler, a wading pool
Instead of casting a circle in the traditional way, invite your guests to help you invoke the elements in a way that celebrates the Litha season, using some of the symbols above. Wave a sparkler in the air when it’s time to invoke fire, or jump in the pool to represent the element of water.
Plan on preparing food ahead of time - preferably using some method of flame or fire, such as your grill. Time your ceremony that it begins when the food is ready. Prepare a platter with a few samples of each item on it. -- corn cobs, hot dogs, burgers, etc. - and place it on the altar, and ask your guests to form a circle surrounding it.
Begin by welcoming your friends and family members. If your tradition honors specific deities, invite them to join you for a feast. If you simply wish to celebrate the season, you can just pay homage to the spirits of the land, or thank the earth and sun for the bounty in front of you.
You can also incorporate this Litha prayer to the sun into your ceremony:
A Prayer to the Sun
The sun is high above us
shining down upon the land and sea,
making things grow and bloom.
Great and powerful sun,
we honor you this day
and thank you for your gifts.
Ra, Helios, Sol Invictus, Aten, Svarog,
you are known by many names.
You are the light over the crops,
the heat that warms the earth,
the hope that springs eternal,
the bringer of life.
We welcome you, and we honor you this day,
celebrating your light,
as we begin our journey once more
into the darkness.
Once you have honored the sun and the power it brings, invite each guest to approach the altar. At this time, they can make an offering to individual deities, to the sun itself, or to the local spirits of the garden and land.
Finally, ask the gods of your tradition to bless the food on the altar. Everyone should take a moment to bask in the sun's rays, and then dismiss the circle - it's time to dig into your summer feast!
© MoonShine, Inc. Yule, 2017