Midsummer Magic and Divination
"The young maid stole through the cottage door,
And blushed as she sought the Plant of pow'r Thou
silver glow-worm, 0 lend me thy light,
I must gather the mystic St. John's wort tonight,
The wonderful herb, whose leaf will decide
If the coming year shall make me a bride. "
As we have already seen, Midsummer is a day of potent magic, a time when the Otherworld is near and it is possible to see into the future. A wide variety of divination techniques were, and in some cases still are, employed by country people. Farmers view the weather on the solstice as an indicator of the bounty of the harvest: if it rains today it indicates a poor, wet grain harvest, but a large crop of apples and pears.
In bygone days young girls would take the opportunity to perform various acts of divination, usually to discover whom they would marry. You might like to try some of these yourself-you don't have to be a young girl to be interested in potential lovers-but be warned, some of them are pretty scary, designed to conjure up an apparition of the lover, rather than the warm-blooded version in person.
• At midnight on St. John's Eve, walk seven times sunwise around a church scattering hempseed and say, "Hempseed I sow. Hempseed I sow. Let the one that is my true love come after me and mow." When you've completed the circuits,look over your left shoulder to see your true love coming after you ... with a scythe!
• On Midsummer Eve take off your shift and wash it, turn it inside out, and hang it over the back of a chair in silence, near the fire. You will see your future husband, who will arrive to turn the shift at midnight.
• You can test whether a partner returns your love by following this ancient Roman method of divination: Take an apple and after eating it, take one seed and call it by your lovers name. Flick it from your finger with your thumbnail-if it hits the ceiling, your love is returned!
• Daisies are associated with faithful love and are sacred to the love goddesses Venus, Aphrodite, and Freya. Their folk name "measure of love" comes from the following charm: To find out whether someone loves you, take a daisy and pull off the petals one by one saying alternately, "He loves me, he loves me not," with each petaL The final petal will give you the answer.
• To discover when you will marry, find a meadow or lawn where daisies grow. Close your eyes and pull up a handful of grass. The number of daisies in the handful is the number of unmarried years remaining to you.
• One Welsh method of divination called ffatio involves washing clothes at midnight in a well, all the while chanting, "Sawl ddaw I gyd-fydio, doed I gyd-fatio" ("He who would my partner be, let him come and wash with me"). The lover will then appear to help with the laundry.
• Walk around the church nine times and place a knife into the keyhole at the end of each round saying, "Here is the knife. Where is the sheath?" The symbolism of this is rather obvious and needs no comment!
• Fast on Midsummer Eve until midnight, then spread a supper of bread, cheese, and ale on a clean cloth and leave the front door wide open. Your future husband will enter the room, drink a glass of ale, bow, and leave. Or it might be a burglar .
This informative “Wicca How-To,” plus much more, can be found in:
by Anna Franklin
This book will help you explore Midsummer customs and witness their power today. Learn the ancient methods of divination; try out traditional recipes for food, mead, and wine; and empower your magical tools with the energy of the solstice sun. Full of practical ideas on how to celebrate Midsummer, this guide also compares similar festivals around the world, including Celtic, Norse, Saxon, Egyptian, Russian, and Native American.