There are a number of customs associated with Midsummer, most of which celebrate the light and encourage the power of the sun with sympathetic magic in the form of bonfires, rolling wheels, circle dances, and torchlight processions. Because the energy of the sun infuses the whole of nature, it is a potent time for gathering plants, seeking healing, or practicing divination.
An image many people associate with Midsummer is that of modem druids practicing their rites at Stonehenge. It is not known whether the ancient druids used this Neolithic temple of the sun, but its power remains intact today, even when surrounded by fences and tourists.
Stonehenge has been described as an astronomical observatory. It is orientated to the sun at the summer solstice, which rises above the heel stone. Some say this should be "heal stone," as the circle was associated with healing at Midsummer. In the twelfth century, Geoffrey on Monmouth recorded that the stones were washed and the water poured into baths to bathe the sick. The practice continued until the eighteenth century. Others say that the word heel may be derived from Helios, Greek god of the sun.
Of course, Stonehenge is not the only circle or site orientated to the summer solstice. Others include Avebury, Stanton Drew, Randwick Barrow, Addington Barrow, Bryn Celli Dhu Temple, Mayburgh Henge, Temple Wood Circles, and Newgrange (which also has midwinter alignments). Other circles have Midsummer legends.
As we have seen, some come alive and dance. According to legend, the Rollright Stones' King Stone is a real king turned into stone by a witch. On Midsummer Eve he is said to tum his head, and for hundreds of years pilgrims would visit the circle to witness it. Nearby is a group of stones known as the Whispering Knights, and on Midsummer Eve they will whisper your future, especially that portion concerning your love life.
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.