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Midsummer

A time of long days and short nights, balancing the darker half of the year with illumination. Although many may celebrate this just at the very date of the solstice itself, the time leading up to it and leading away from it is also very potent for magic and general celebrations of the summer sun.

In times gone past, fires were it high up on hills to celebrate the midsummer time. Some of these survived until the 1800s, and antiquarians may also re-enact these celebrations to keep the old ways alive. Another aspect of the fires was the blessing of domestic and farmyard animals through the fire. It was thought that the fire would cleanse and bless the animals for the coming year and guard them against ailments which may hinder the production of milk and other useful items to small-town folk from the time.

Although the old celebrations seem to have been distilled into quaint occurrences to modern man who has moved out of the villages in the UK, in many European countries the celebrations still go on.

For example, in Sweden, the schools are out mid-June and many begin their five-week holiday. Midsummer’s Eve is celebrated in the countryside, as it always has been, and the towns and cities are suddenly left deserted.

However, the main roads out of the built-up areas are another story- packed full of people desperately trying to get to their celebrations in time, friends and family waiting among the natural landscape for them to join in the annual celebrations. The date for the midsummer celebrations is usually a Friday between the 19th and 25th June, and people begin the day by picking flowers and making wreaths to place on the maypole. Whereas we here in the UK associate the maypole with May Day, it is a fertility symbol very much used within the midsummer celebrations in Sweden.

This maypole is raised in an open spot, and the traditional ring-dances begin to the delight of the children and some of the adults. The teenagers nowadays stay out of it and instead wait for the evening’s more riotous entertainment. The traditional activities revolve around the old Pagan rituals and games of strength, fun and fitness. These include many events you may see at your school’s sports day like the tug of war, and for the younger children the egg and spoon race, and of course the sack racing!
The menu includes different kinds of pickled herring, boiled new potatoes with fresh dill, soured cream and chives, which is often followed by a grilled dish of some kind like spare rib or salmon and the first strawberries of summer would be served for the dessert, usually in a cake or simply with cream.

Although such a tradition is not generally celebrated in many countries now, the Swedish midsummer celebrations are ancient and have been handed down from generation to generation for many years and it is such an important part of the Swedish culture. It brings great nostalgia to the young and the old, and many want to go dancing after all of the celebrations as their ancestors have before them. Legend has it that midsummer is a popular time for romance and for love- it is said that if seven different species of plants are picked and placed under their pillows.

At night, their future husbands will appear to them in a dream.
Regarding the origins of the festivities as they are today, it’s said the celebrations were to welcome the high point of summer and fertility into the communities who lived off the land. Although it was mainly celebrated in the countryside, the industrial workers of central Sweden were given a feast of pickled herring, beer and schnapps to celebrate. It wasn’t until the 1900s that the festival became one of the most important festivals in the Swedish year.

Since approximately 6 CE, bonfires have been lit around Europe. In Sweden, this was mostly in the southern part of the country. It is said that midsummer as the longest night is the best time to tell people’s futures. There was also a tradition for girls to eat salted porridge so their future husbands would bring them water in their dreams.

~Lotte

News & Updates 02.05.2019

Here we will feature news stories, events and updates of interest every Thursday. If you are part of an organisation based in Paganism, witchcraft or related subjects, please get in touch and we can share your events!


Treadwell’s Books are hosting a storytelling workshop on 28th May focused on the so-called ‘Lost Gods’ of England. This workshop looks into subjects such as how the names of the week were established, along with revealing the folklore, mythology and old folk practices which contain traces of the pagan English gods.

The evening is held by Andreas Kornevall, a mythographer and storyteller. He will talk about the main myth cycles throughout Northern Europe. He will also talk about the old English gods and their magic, including runes and charms. The evening will conclude with a short ceremony.

You can find out more about the event by clicking here. Alternatively, follow all of Treadwell’s events by clicking here.


ISON released their second full-length album on May 1st, Beltane. They also released the first music video from the album for the song Stranger79.

Unison, their second album, features 8 tracks of haunting, experimental music. Their music video for Stranger79 is a mysterious narrative, and I recommend you check it out!

You can find out more about ISON by clicking here. You can get their new album via Amazon here, via Google Play here, via iTunes here and listen on Spotify here.


Porthilly Spirit – as part of the Porthilly Spirit festival, there will be a talk about Cornish Tales of Witchcraft and Magic by Simon Costin, the director of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall.

Simon will be speaking about the history of the museum, its founder Cecil Williamson and its unique collection of over 3000 magical objects and over 7000 books. The museum will celebrate being in Boscastle for 60 years next year and this talk will illustrate, what is the largest public collection in the world of occult and magical objects.

From their website: “Porthilly Spirit was born out of a dream to create a space to unplug, reconnect and be curious. Porthilly Spirit opens the farm’s first chapter by throwing open the gates and inviting you to join the celebrations for a long weekend of outdoor adventures, music, sumptuous feasting and inquisitive conversation.” Find out more via their website by clicking here.


Satanic Temple – though not all witches are Satanists, some are. The Satanic Temple is not a federally recognised church in the USA, a huge move for religious freedom.

From the official statement of the Satanic Temple:

“The Satanic Temple (TST), the world’s most eminent modern Satanic religious organization, is celebrating their recent approval – recognition as a legally protected Satanic church, receiving 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS. This status, elevated beyond the previous designation as a religious non-profit, is a culmination of years establishing itself as a constitutionally protected class, completely encompassing all attributes designated to churches that are uniquely distinct from other charities and/or religious groups.”

The satanic temple, april 2019

You can read the full statement from them here (opens in a new window). There is a more in-depth article here focused around the history of the temple, as well as looking at people’s reactions in the United States.


Remember, if you run a pagan event, own a pagan shop with events coming up, or something has happened in the pagan scene that you want us to write about, let us know!

Sunday Spread 28.04.2019

This week’s tarot cards are from the fantastic Zombie Tarot deck. You can get these cards from many retailers, both online and offline. They add a bit of retro fun to a spread, as they feature an ever growing zombie outbreak in the face of the apocalypse. What better weapon to have against the undead hordes than a pack of tarot cards, featuring a box which looks like an old ammunition box?

So, onto this week’s ‘chosen three’ cards. You can see the image below of the cards. See which one resonates with you, and then be sure to read on for the reveal!

Image showing three card backs from the Zombie Tarot deck. They each have a dice above indicating number 1, 2 and 3.

These are the three cards from the Zombie Tarot. Once again, we seem to have a tie between the most chosen cards. So we will take them in numerical order as to the most popular. The two most chosen cards are number one and number two. Number three is a close contender, but there is a difference, thankfully.

So, we shall begin with revealing card number one below.


Number One – Five of Cups

Card Number One: The Five of Cups

This card is commonly seen when things have not gone your way, or if all seems lost at the moment. It could be the culmination of things not working out as you wished they had, or simply the loss of a great idea.

Focus now on what went wrong – but do not spend too long grieving this lost aspect, as the world will move along without you in it.

You may be stuck in the past, unable to move on, or simply let go. No one is suggesting you forget – just to let go and live. Learn from the mistakes, learn from what didn’t work out.

Remember to live in the present and not allow the past to drag you down.

Things are waiting for you; new, shiny things. But only once you have accepted what has happened and made steps to move on in life will you reap those rewards. Blessings may be hidden in disguise, but you are too caught up in your own sadness and grief to notice new opportunities.


The next card which was most popular is card number two.

Number Two – Six of Swords

Card Number Two: Six of Swords

Transition is afoot. It could be a rite of passage or a release of baggage from past dealings. Change is not to be feared, and this has long been in the works. You may be moving house, changing your job, or you may be moving country. You are leaving what was seen and considered as familiar and taking a step (or leap!) into the as yet unknown.

It may bring you sadness to take this much-needed step into the unknown and into new territories. However, you know in your heart of hearts that this is the right path on which you need to follow.

Stepping away from things which no longer serve you – be it a relationship, job, house or country – will benefit you in the long run. A lot of the time, we are sentimental beings, and we tend to choose to hold on to those things which may not actually serve us. However, a change is as good as a rest, and things will settle down once more.

It can be easy to dwell on things which once anchored you as you move into your new life. This card gives you permission or instruction to move forward without looking backwards. You made those choices because they needed to be made. Holding onto the past is not going to do anyone any good, especially you.

There is, however, nothing wrong with taking the time to reflect on what has come to pass. Events in our lives make us who we are. Taking the time to reflect and in turn let go of these feelings and aspects will help clear the way for new things to become settled and certain.

Through this inner reflection, decide what you want to hold onto in your new life moving forward. Do not take what no longer serves you, mentally or physically.


The final card is number three.

Number Three – Seven of Swords

Card Number Three: Seven of Swords

This is a card which symbolises some form of deception or trickery is afoot. It may be that you are sneaking around, doing things which you perhaps shouldn’t, whilst hoping beyond hope that these things do not see the light of day.

It’s also a possibility that you are the one being manipulated. You could be dancing to the tune of someone else’s beat, so to speak.

It is a very difficult game to play if you are deceiving others. If you are especially unlucky, it may be that you will be caught in the act, and your true self will be revealed.

You may be on the receiving end of this deception, trusting someone who you think is genuine and honest, but being stabbed in the back when you are not looking. This could be through any number of things – infidelity in a relationship, or just someone trying to gain and hold the upper hand in a situation of power.

The main thing to remember with this one is to listen to your gut. If something or someone seems too good to be true, then those things likely are. Instinct is a very strong tool, and this card is telling you to start using it.

It can also be symbolic of being able to use the ‘backdoor’ to get results that you want. Perhaps you are able to take a shortcut in whatever you are doing in order to get what you need, without going down the traditional routes.

You also need to keep an eye on any potential workloads. We can only do so much as humans, and the more we take on, the worse the end results are likely to be. If you have ‘bitten off more than you can chew’, as the saying goes, you may not be able to focus fully on the tasks you need to get done, and instead end up worrying about them.

This card can also be related to procrastination. Are you putting things off that you really should be getting on with? Are there tasks or assignments you should be doing, but the cleaning or watching a movie seems that bit more important at this moment in time? Cut the crap and get on with what you should be doing. You’ll thank yourself later!


An image of all three cards revealed

So which card did you resonate with? Let us know how your week goes in relation to this!

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