Summer Solstice

It is early morning and the sun has not yet risen. You are walking down an ancient track way that cuts through the soft grass. You can feel the dew brush against your ankles as you walk. It feels refreshing and cool against your skin. On one side of you is a wood and the branches of hawthorn, elder and ash trees hang over the path. They seem to be reaching out for you, to touch you and give you their friendship. You stop and breathe in the heavy scent of blossom and touch some of the branches. You feel their ancient spirits become one with yours, guiding you on your way.

You walk further down the grassy track and suddenly, out of the wood, trots a stag. In the dim light you cannot see his colour but you know he is at full growth by the magnificent antlers he proudly wears on his brow. You count the tines on each antler and there are seven of them. He stops and raises his head, sniffing the gentle morning breeze. Then he looks directly at you and paws the ground. You feel in awe of his majesty and without doubt know you are in the presence of the God. He begins to move off down the track and you follow him but at a safe distance.

The stag looks round at you from time to time, to ensure you are still following him. He then leaves the track and bounds over the grassy field to your right. You do the same, finding the long meadow grass wet with dew and soon your legs are completely moist. It is cooling and embracing. But you have to quicken your steps to keep up with the Stag, for he is now trotting quickly up the gentle slope of the field. You look up at the crest of the hill and see, right at its summit, two standing stones. As you draw closer you can make out their huge size. They stand like two pointed fingers on the crest of the hill.

The stag is making straight for them and now you follow him at a quicker pace. You feel an excitement deep down in your bones that something special is going to happen here in a few minutes. Suddenly just in front of the stones the stag stops and looks around him, sniffs the air again and then snorts as he stamps his feet. You peer around into the gradually lightning sky and as you do, far down the hill by the wood, you can just about see a grey form running in the same direction you had come but from the opposite way.

The sun finally breaks and you stand there holding your breath slightly in anticipation. Its rays first lick the tops of the standing stones and you realise that these ancient stones are aligned so that the rising sun on the Solstice falls directly between them. Suddenly, as happens so often with sunrises, everything is flooded with long shafts of golden light and you shield your eyes as you see the sun caught immediately between these two great stones.

You and the stag both stand there, bathed in the early morning sun, both warmed by its rays that are coming full stream through the opening between the stones. You don’t know how long you stand there but you feel glorious inside, and the sun lends you power and heat. The Stag must have felt the same because suddenly he rears up on his powerful hind legs and goes galloping away across the grass covered fields.

You then make your way around the stones, placing your hand on their rough hardness. In an instant your mind is filled with the whispers of past ancestors; those who brought the stones here to this place. Their spirits live on in the stones. This doesn’t frighten you and you feel honoured to be with your ancestors and a strange feeling of home envelopes you. But as you look down over the other side of the hill you see a large grey wolf approaching you. He is huge and very shaggy. But he makes no move to attack you. This must have been the creature you saw at a distance from the other side.

Suddenly a voice enters your head and tells you that he is Lupus, the God of the Waning year. The stag’s rule has now finished for one cycle and Lupus’s rule has begun until the next solstice at Yule. For a long time the wolf stares at you with his large amber eyes. He is acknowledging you and slowly turns his head up to the sky and lets out a long melancholy howl. With that he turns tail and lopes back to the woods from where he came. You see him disappear suddenly and no trace of him is left.

You feel honoured to have witnessed the Summer solstice and turning of the Wheel with two great representatives of the waxing and waning year; the stag lord and the wolf Lupus. As you return to waking consciousness the message from your ancestors remains with you.

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