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Longest Day Tea

2 or 3 black tea bags (Earl Grey is especially good)

3 quarts of cold water

Any combination of the following:

1/2 cup fresh chamomile flowers

1/4 cup fresh lavender blossoms, or 2 tablespoons dried

8-10 sprigs any kind of mint (peppermint, spearmint, pineapple mint, orange mint, etc.)

4-6 sprigs lemon balm

4-5 sprigs lemon verbena
honey or simple syrup to taste
Clear glass or plastic pitcher with a close-fitting lid
Crush the leafy herbs lightly between your hands before combining them with the tea bags, herbal flowers and cold water in the pitcher and set out in a sunny spot with maximum daylight. The tea will take several hours to reach full strength. Strain and serve over ice.
Sweeten with honey or simple syrup if desired.
Optional garnish: borage flowers, mint.

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Solstice Roses

—by Starlight

Every Summer Solstice I buy one dozen red roses. Roses are cheap since they are in season – usually around $8. They sit in a vase at dinner. After dinner I take them and “kill” them by hanging them upside down in our kitchen window. I do this to honor the impending turning of the wheel that cycles us from birth to death to birth again.

As the days go by I can witness the life draining from the roses. By Samhain they have turned black and dried. I take them down and place in a vase on my ancestors altar at the Samhain ritual. They remain in a vase until I decorate the Yule log with them. They remain on the Yule log until the following Fall when I light the first fire of the season. Then I release them with by burning them in the fire after charging them with any hang ups that I feel need to be released too.

Garden Blessing

Today we celebrate the longest day of the year. In most places, this is the time of summer’s most beautiful bounty of flora and fauna. The night is alive with sounds; the air is filled with birdsong. To honor this time of abundance, for now the days will grow shorter, assemble a bouquet of wildflowers, flowers from your garden, or flowers or a plant from a store. Place the flowers or plant somewhere in sight all day. If you don’t have a garden of your own, use a plant or flowers to represent the abundance of the season. Focus on the abundance and beauty of the flowers and plants; consider how they were cultivated—where they were grown, and how. Give thanks to farmers and growers for providing for the rest of us, or, if you have a garden of your own, use this blessing to bring abundance:

Mother Earth,
thank you for your
nurturing body,
the water of your veins,
the air of your breath.
Father Sun,
Thank you for your warmth.
May this abundant season
bring sweet yield in the months to come.
Tonight, we celebrate life!

By: Ember

Brother Sun and Mother Moon, day is longest now.
Energies of the brilliant Sun aid all at work or having fun.
Longest day, a blessing is, from rise to set supreme is the Sun.
Fueling growth and passions bright, strong and true is the solar light.
Bounty grows and river flows, as Earth is warmed and lighted.
Creative energy reaches zenith on this day of shortest night.
Crops grow high and excitement grows, with each new ray of Sun.
Every day, all creatures play and hail the mighty Sun.
Ancient solstice, fires burning, honor the Sun and feed the light.
Druid, Indian, Norse, and Celt all danced on Summer Solstice, joyously felt.
Solar winds and solar flares wash away our hunger and our cares.
Mighty Sun, King of warmth, makes humans to frolic and bees to swarm.
Keep this day in memory bright, to warm you on long winter nights.
May the rays of solstice keep us warm, all through the year.
So mote it be. (by Abby Willowroot)

We walk at last to the Wheel of the East. This is the wheel of illumination and rebirth. We have gained the wonder of the child, the dreams and visions of the young adult, and the wisdom of our middle adult years. Now we can sit back and see all of these things through the eyes of the crone or the sage. We realize that perhaps our years are not many more on our Earthwalk, but we can see the illumination that comes from the new pathway ahead of us. The Medicine Wheel ends in the East and begins again in the South.

And, the wheel goes round and round, and so do our lives.

by Linda Paul