~ THE TURNING OF THE WHEEL ~
SUMMER SOLSTICE 2007
“On June twenty-first, the Germans build big bonfires all around the town, especially a hilly one. When the fire has burned down low enough to leap across, each boy takes a girl by the hand and they jump across. They also take a big wheel and set it afire and roll it down the hill.”
~An account of the American observation of summer solstice, collected by Cynthia Thompson from Sharon Miller, Bloomington Indiana, July 11, 1959
The many fire rites practiced throughout Europe by our ancestors were so elemental to our culture, they persevered through christianity, across the ocean and to the new world. As mentioned in the narrative above, most summer solstice rituals revolved around a bonfire and/or a wheel being set aflame and rolled down a hill. This burning wheel and singed path that follows, seem to directly reference one of our most dramatic myths—that of the apocalyptic Ragnarok.
With the death of Balder (the waning of the sun) a final battle ensues between the gods (order/intellect) and the Teutonic titans (chaos/forces of nature). At the climax of this epic struggle, Surt rides in with his Muspelheim minions and burns everything to the ground. The world ends, in seemingly complete and utter destruction. But like a wheel turning down a slope—time can not pause. All things must come to an end, so they may begin anew—as occurred after Ragnarok. From the remains of our past, springs the future with all its hope and promise.
The decline of the sun, even while inevitably moving us toward the darkness, reinforces an understanding of nature’s perfection and the necessity of the cycle.
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COLD ROSE HIP SOUP WITH RASPBERRIES
1/2 cup rose hips 4 cups water
1/4 cup kudzu root powder (or substitute with your favorite starch or thickener)
2 cups apple or cherry juice
1 cup raspberries
2 T lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream or yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
maple syrup to taste (optional)
Bring rose hips and water to a boil (rose hips may be ground to powder is desired). Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Let sediment settle, then strain. Re-boil and thicken with the kudzu starch thinned in cold water. Cool and add to blender with remaining ingredients; process until smooth. Serves 4.
Rose hips (the cherry like fruit of the wild rose) are a favorite staple food in Sweden for good reason: They are 20 to 40 times higher in vitamin C than oranges, and vitamin C is a marvelous detoxifier. It neutralizes most poisons, both those produced in the body and those picked up from food or the environment. It stimulates the production of antibodies and white blood cells and inhibits the growth of practically all pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
The Swedish people are known for their good health and beautiful complexions, perhaps because adequate amounts of vitamin C in their daily diet help keep collagen strong and elastic. This keeps all the tissues of the body, including the skin and muscles, healthy and smooth.
~Recipe and information excerpted from Carrie L’Esperance’s The Seasonal Detox Diet: Remedies from the Ancient Cookfire, Healing Arts Press (Rochester, Vermont 2002)
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· KENAZ ·
The Torch familiar
To the living, a flame
Is blinding and brilliant.
It burns most often
Where royal folk
Are at rest within.
~Old English rune poem
Kenaz can be directly translated as torch, relaying its power to illuminate that which is hidden. This flame is controlled and used according to the the will of man. Two aspects of Kenaz that may be beneficial for reflection this solstice are the relation of the funeral pyre to the creative fire, and the idea of our folk as the keepers of the flame.
As with Ragnarok, there are times when the old must pass away in order for the new to begin. But just as energy does not disappear, but transforms and reshapes itself, so it is with the Kenaz fire. By gathering that which is dead or no longer serves us, to use as kindling, we make room for the light of Kenaz to shine through and reveal truths and ideas unobstructed. Then a literal or figurative cremation, besides preventing energy from, as Edred Thorsson puts it, “return[ing] to [its] spent forms,” also regenerates the energetic force which can then be used for creation.
With our connection to the divine, we are the “royal folk” or athlings “at rest within [the hall]” referred to by the rune poem. When we understand ourselves as descending from the gods (genetically or archetypically)—really grasp this critical concept and assimilate it into our consciousness—we may more readily ignite the creative fire. By honoring ourselves as the product of our ancestors, and therefore our gods, we recognize our “royal” bloodline and the power that is our birthright.
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Until the Feast of Bread, may you and your
household be blessed and kept. Hail!
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