The summer solstice was second only to Yule in importance to the ancient Northmen. Some groups mark this day as sacred to Balder, but we disagree with this. While Balder can be seen as a dying and resurrected Sun God, in the mythology we are most familiar with, he does not return to life until Ragnarok and it seems like “bad karma” to symbolically kill the sun when you know Baldr doesn’t come back until the end of the world. Instead, we mark this day as sacred to the Goddess Sunna, who is literally the sun.
One idea for midsummer is to remain awake all night and mark the shortest night of the year, then at sunrise to perform a “Greeting of Sunna” and a blot to her.
Another midsummer custom is the rolling of a flaming wagon wheel down a hill to mark the turning of the wheel of the year. If fire would otherwise be a hazard, one could parade a wheel covered with candles for similar effect. It is also a time for general merriment and in the Scandinavian countries many of what we know as the traditional May Day rituals such as May Poles and Morris Dances were celebrated at Midsummer rather than in May.
In our area Midsummer occurs during a large local Pagan festival, and we have gone all out in making it a major holiday with blot, sumbel, feasting and drinking. We are currently in the process of constructing a “sun ship” which, with sails of copper reflecting the light from small torches, represents Sunna will be brought forth at dawning and dusk.
Source Link: http://www.ravenkindred.com/RBHolidays.html
Midsummer, also known as Summer Solstice, marks the height of the sun’s power and the time of year when elongated days stretch out like boundless, curving paths into the mysterious future. Each morning begins with raucous, pre-dawn bird songs, enticing an early departure from slumberland and the instinctive urge to amble out to the misty patio to blearily breathe in the musky, sweet air gently moving across the bay. The seeds of spring have been sown, the rich soil now bursting with fresh life beginning to show signs of promising yields. These vibrations of mother earth are so intoxicatingly tangible during this season, and it delights to have the scent of dewy leaves or the way the sunlight catches on the coral petal of a rose resonate with memories from days long gone by. I can feel the velvety skin of my grandmother’s hand on my palm, hear a pocket of jangling change and grandpa singing, “That’s the spirit!” Faint whispers from the ancestors reminding me to give thanks for the life giving force of the sun and pay homage to the many generations that diligently farmed the land, year after year, spanning back for centuries and making my future existence possible.
As in Denmark, Sankthansaften is celebrated on June 23 in Norway. The day is also called Jonsok, which means “John’s wake”, important in Roman Catholic times with pilgrimages to churches and holy springs. For instance, up until 1840, there was a pilgrimage to the Røldal Stave Church in Røldal(southwest Norway) whose crucifix was said to have healing powers. Today, however, Sankthansaften is largely regarded as a secular or even pre-Christian event.
In most places, the main event is the burning of a large bonfire. In Western Norway, a custom of arranging mock weddings, both between adults and between children, is still kept alive. The wedding was meant to symbolize the blossoming of new life. Such weddings are known to have taken place in the 1800s, but the custom is believed to be older.
It is also said that, if a girl puts flowers under her pillow that night, she will dream of her future husband.
Source Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midsummer#Norway