Summer Solstice Celebration Camping Trip

What an amazingly incredibly wonderful trip!

After two bottles of mead and a six pack of beer ūüôā

Eric and I went camping to celebrate the Summer Solstice.¬† He had class Saturday morning, so while he was at class I spent the morning getting the food all ready and everything all packed up.¬† When he got home we packed up and headed out.¬† It started to look like it might rain, but we were lucky and it didn’t rain on us at all the entire night!¬† We had a spectacular full moon, a supermoon in fact!

Amazing full moon

This was the first time we had ever camped at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach.  It is as close as you can get to camping on the beach, I think.  We checked in and drove around to find the perfect spot.  Reservations are not site specific so they tell you what area has openings and you go find what you want, and claim it.  The majority of the sites were already booked up since I believe it was a sold out weekend, but we ended up finding a great spot.  And we got lucky enough to have the campsite beside us vacant so it helped to feel a little more secluded and private.

First thing first, time for a beer!  We cracked open a couple bottles of Yuengling, made a toast to us and our weekend and begun our celebration!  We got the car all unpacked and started to put up the tent.  Ha ha ha That crazy little pop up tent took us probably about 45 minutes to put up.  Time for another beer.  It appears everywhere we tried to put the stakes in, there was a rock bed under the dirt so we had to keep moving it around to find a spot where we could get the stakes through the ground.

Before dinner, there were a couple of trees calling my name!  I Love Love Love climbing trees!

Time to fire up the grill and get dinner started and open up the mead.  After a delicious dinner of tofu pups, grilled veggies, corn on the cob, and a steak for Eric we lit up the camp fire.  We had so much fun just sitting by the fire on a blanket on the ground, drinking mead, talking and enjoying the moment.  Enjoying each other.

Our Summer Solstice tradition is fire and mead.  In whatever form available to us.  This year we tried something different enough and new and went camping, to have the real fire, rather than just the fire from our grill.

Fire and Mead!

We used the greenery from our Winter Solstice Yule Log to get the fire started and after the fire was roaring we burned our Yule Log in our fire.  It is said to bring good look and prosperity in the upcoming year, and we decided that rather than burning our log on the Winter Solstice, we would save it until the Summer Solstice and then burn it.  The start of a nice new tradition for us!

Burning our Yule Log from Winter Solstice

After two bottles of mead, a six pack of beer, a delicious grilled dinner, quality time by the fire with the one you love, climbing trees, peeing outside in nature, and toasting marshmallows we decided to take a walk around our campground loop and find the beach.  It was probably sometime after midnight and the campground was so quiet and peaceful.  Pretty much everyone was already asleep and it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.  We walked along the beach and out to the ocean with the brightness of the full moon guiding our way.

It was a perfect night.¬† Everything was incredible.¬† I feel so happy and blessed to have such an amazing time.¬† I got up early this morning… unfortunately not early enough to see the sunrise… but early enough to light up the grill and make some fried rosemary potatoes and onions and peppers¬†with some coffee for breakfast before we had to check out.

It was definitely just what Eric and I needed, especially after some of the difficulties we have had.¬† Communing with nature is the perfect remedy to help combat any of that leftover negative energy still residing inside.¬† To just get away from the “real world”, focus on the two of us and forget about everything else.

 

 

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Summer Solstice = Fire and Mead…and Dancing!

The Summer Solstice is Friday June 21, 2013.  The Summer Solstice is a major celestial event in which civilizations have celebrated the great power of the sun for centuries.  Also known as Midsummer, this day marks the first day of summer.  It is also the longest day and the shortest night of the year.  The word Solstice is derived from Latin meaning sun to stand still,  Sol+stice = Sun + to stand still.  As the day lengthens the sun rises higher and higher in the sky until it seems to stand still, at its highest point in the sky.

Early Celtic civilizations celebrated¬† the first day of summer with dancing and bonfires, helping to increase the sun‚Äôs energy.¬†¬† Chinese¬†honored Li, the Chinese¬†Goddess of Light.¬† Druids would celebrate the day as a marriage of Heaven and Earth, resulting in a modern-day¬†belief that it is ‚Äúlucky‚ÄĚ to have a wedding in June.¬† Every year, thousands of people gather at Stonehenge at sunrise where the sunrise is welcomed and Summer Solstice is celebrated.

Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

Pagan and earth-based tradition festivals take place where groups of people gather to light a sacred fire and stay up all night long to welcome the dawn.  Oak is the wood of choice, the oak tree is associated with strength, stability and the sun.  Celebrations included bonfires where couples would leap through the flames with the belief that their crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump.  It is also believed that the bonfires have great power and that prosperity and protection cold be received by jumping over them.  Cold embers from fires were charms against injury and bad weather during harvests. They were placed around fields and orchards of crops to protect them and ensure abundance.   The ashes of the fire can also be spread on the garden, said to aid in fertility, and walking through the smoke of the fire was traditionally believed to cure sickness and bring good fortune.

Newly married couple jumping through the flames of a bonfire.

Midsummer is thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear.  To rid them off, Pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers.  Pagans believe it is an excellent time for weddings, communicating with nature spirits and divination.  It is believed that the boundaries between the worlds are thin and the portals between them are open, especially at twilight.

One other traditional Summer Solstice activity was doing cartwheels down a hillside.¬† In this tradition, the wheel represents the wheel of life.¬†¬†¬† Some modern celebrations include a wheel firework display, very appropriate for this ‚Äúfire festival‚ÄĚ!

Pagan Solstice Wheel

Pagans called the Midsummer moon the ‚ÄúHoney Moon‚ÄĚ for the mead made from fermented honey that was part of wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Solstice.

There are many different types of celebrations or festivals to celebrate the Summer Solstice.   I love the Summer Solstice and the Pagan idea of it rooted in nature and honoring Mother Nature.  I love to develop my own celebrations or rituals to celebrate days like this.

When Eric and I got together,¬†I¬†wanted to come up with a celebration ritual for the two of us to enjoy each year.¬† I took a couple of the ideas of what Summer Solstice is and put them together for something fun for us.¬† With it being the ‚Äúfestival of fire‚ÄĚ and a day to celebrate the power and energy of the sun i¬†wanted to incorporate fire into our celebration.¬† Living in an apartment, it was always hard¬†to create a bonfire so we decided on a simple fire ceremony involving our charcoal grill and whatever food we choose to grill!¬† Another aspect i incorporated into our ritual was the drinking of Mead, which is Honey Wine.¬† The Pagans called the midsummer moon the ‚Äúhoney moon‚ÄĚ named after the honey wine Mead drink that was a popular drink as part of summer solstice wedding ceremonies.

FireMead

Each year our Summer Solstice celebration will consist of Fire and Mead!  I am sure it is something we will continue each year, maybe modifying or adding something to adjust our lifestyle at that time, but it will always include Fire and Mead!

a99748d4e0dfb2061d7ee5943802038c_320x320 ChaucerMead_braggot_

These are the two kinds of mead I got for this year!

This year, on Saturday the 22nd, rather than the 21st (because of schedules) Eric and I are going to go camping for the night.¬† We are going to build a great fire, burn our yule log from the Winter Solstice, drink our mead and dance together around the fire!¬† Too bad we will be in a public state park…¬† because drinking mead and dancing around the fire….NAKED… sounds like the perfect medicine for all that ales..¬† ūüėČ I am really excited about this celebration, ready to climb a tree and pee outside!¬† And to celebrate the Summer Solstice with the man of my dreams.

We saved our Yule log from Winter Solstice and will start our fire with the wood from our Yule log.  Saving the Yule log is said to bring good luck, then to burn it during the following Summer Solstice helps to release the past and move forward.  Something that would definitely be beneficial for Eric and myself.

Find a way to celebrate the Summer Solstice.  Whether it be rooted in religion or nature get out and enjoy the longest day of the year!