Happy Summer Solstice / Midsummer Greetings 2017

It's that time of the year. The time for which the life giving sun is at it's highest point on the Northern hermisphere, the summer solstice, or Midsummer. The summer equinox. Hail Baldr!

On this day, I've been looking into and learning about the old and new ways of this time. 

Wikipedia's description of the summer solstice:

The summer solstice (or estival solstice), also known as midsummer, occurs when a planet's rotational axis, or geographic pole on either its northern or its southern hemisphere, is most inclined toward the star that it orbits. On the summer solstice, Earth's maximum axial tilt toward the Sun is 23.44°. (Likewise, the Sun's declination from the celestial equator is +23.44° in the Northern Sky and −23.44° in the Southern Sky.) This happens twice each year (once in each hemisphere), when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the north or south pole.

The summer solstice occurs during the hemisphere's summer. This is the northern solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the southern solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the summer solstice occurs some time between June 20 and June 22 in the Northern Hemisphere and between December 20 and December 23 each year in the Southern Hemisphere. The same dates in the opposite hemisphere are referred to as the winter solstice.

As seen from a geographic pole, the Sun reaches its highest altitude of the year on the summer solstice. It can be solar noon only along that longitude, which at that moment lies in the direction of the Sun from the pole. For other longitudes, it is not noon. Noon has either passed or has yet to come. Hence the notion of a solstice day is useful. The term is colloquially used like "midsummer" to refer to the day on which solstice occurs. The summer solstice day has the longest period of daylight, except in the polar regions, where daytime remains continuous for 24 hours every day during a period ranging from a few days to six months around the summer solstice.

A lot of different pagan groups celebrate this time of the year. Most famous in the world is the use of Stonehenge with it's alignment at this time. The Druids are the main people who use this site for this time of year.

Image source

In some countries this pagan holiday is still celibrated in mass, such as in Sweden. The symbolism of the old heathen ways still exist...

There are many people celibrating this time of the year, but what I am focusing on today is learning about the Odinist/Asatru ways. Here's what they're doing in Latvia

In the Nordic traditions certain plants are referenced in Gylfaginning, in Sweden and Norway, the scentless mayweed (Matricaria perforata) and the similar sea mayweed (Matricaria maritima) are both called baldursbrá "Balder's brow" and regionally in northern England (baldeyebrow).[16] In Iceland only the former is found.[16] In Germany lily-of-the-valley is known as weisser Baldrian; variations using or influenced by reflexes of Phol include Faltrian (upper Austria), Villumfallum (Salzburg), and Fildron or Faldron (Tyrol).

Balder's brow

Balder, God of Light

The main heathen god focused on this time of year is Balder.

Baldr (also BalderBaldur) is the god of Light and Purity in Norse mythology, and a son of the god Odin and the goddess Frigg. He has numerous brothers, such as Thor and Váli.

In the 12th century, Danish accounts by Saxo Grammaticus and other Danish Latin chroniclers recorded a euhemerized account of his story. Compiled in Iceland in the 13th century, but based on much older Old Norse poetry, the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda contain numerous references to the death of Baldr as both a great tragedy to the Æsir and a harbinger of Ragnarök.

According to Gylfaginning, a book of Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, Baldr's wife is Nanna and their son is Forseti. In Gylfaginning, Snorri relates that Baldr had the greatest ship ever built, named Hringhorni, and that there is no place more beautiful than his hall, Breidablik. - Wikipedia

Baldr from the Prose Edda;

The second son of Odin is Baldur, and good things are to be said of him. He is best, and all praise him; he is so fair of feature, and so bright, that light shines from him. A certain herb is so white that it is likened to Baldr's brow; of all grasses it is whitest, and by it thou mayest judge his fairness, both in hair and in body. He is the wisest of the Æsir, and the fairest-spoken and most gracious; and that quality attends him, that none may gainsay his judgments. He dwells in the place called Breidablik, which is in heaven; in that place may nothing unclean be[.] — Brodeur's translation

There's a lot of interesting things concerning Balder, such as his dreams in the Poetic Edda's that I might focus on more on another post later.

 

Midsummer Blots

Lastly, I've been looking into this days celibrations coming from an Asatru/Odinist perspective and have been reading the AFA's Book of Blots.

I particulalry like Kim Welch's Midsummer Blot. Here's just a small portion from "The Calling"

The Godhi assumes the Elhaz stodur facing north, and says:

On this, the longest day of the year, we call to you, Balder, as our Ancestors did in the sacred groves of old. Be with us, the Folk, children of the Aesir and Vanir, as we call to you;

Balder!
Husband of Nanna!
Son of Frigga!
Son of Odhinn!
Father of Forsetti
You for whom the world weeps!
You whom Hermod sought!

Balder, Shining Ase, be with us here this night, and whisper in our hearts the words that all-Father whispered in your ear. Teach us the lesson of new beginnings coming from endings!” Teach us the lesson of hope when all seems lost!

There's nothing like being around a group of people for a blot. Unfortunately, this year I will not be around others to raise my horn with, but I will still be celibrating alone.

Here's a video of an Asatru Folk Assembly midsummer gathering...

Have a wonderful Midsummer celibration, everyone! Hail the gods! Hail the ancestors! Hail the Folk!