I hope everyone has had a fantastic holiday period. On Sunday the 19th December our Grove celebrated Alban Hefin/Summer Solstice/Litha. It was a nice day so we all walked out to the Grove using the new pathway that many of us hadn’t used yet. It has been a couple of years since I joined in for the Summer Solstice ritual as I usually run a children’s circle and join mid way. However this year we only had one Child of the Light turn up and he wanted to join us in the circle.
During the ritual we honoured the King of the Trees and the Child of the Light. We had 4 people call in Maori, which is more than I ever remember having before. It gave me goosebumps as they welcomed the ancestors and the atua into the circle. Having this aspect of relationship with the culture of the land we are working on is a very special part of our Grove.
We had our eisteddfod after our feast inside. Here we shared poems, old and new, that related to the celebration. As it is close to Christmas our story teller, Moria, shared a story about Christmas traditions being changed when settlers discovered that trees were different in New Zealand. Here we have the Pohutakawa tree which flowers bright red at this time of year. New Zealanders also use pine trees to decorate in their houses.
As it is also near the close of the calendar year, we also reflected on those that we have lost this year, personally and within the bardic/artistic world. Our musician, Glenn lead us in a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. There were many wet eyes.
To celebrate Alban Hefin/Summer Solstice at this time of year, so close to Christmas, can be very confusing. All around us people are celebrating Winter traditions and Santa is fainting from heat exhaustion. It makes it all the more important for us to be honouring the Sun and the cycles of the seasons.