In the Celtic calendar, Summer Solstice is a time of peak solar energy, when nature’s creative powers are at their greatest heights, and a suncatcher or sun altar reminds us that we, like the sun, are now at our zenith of life and must appreciate this time of exuberance and joy while it lasts.
Discover 3 crafty ways to celebrate the Summer Solstice from The Magical Year by Danu Forest.
Create a floral suncatcher
To make the most of your suncatcher, hang it in a sunny window so its colours really shine out.
You will need
• 2 pieces of card or 2 large paper plates
• Acrylic paints
• Clear sticky-back plastic (clear adhesive contact paper)
• Fresh flower petals(e.g. rose, calendula and nigella) and whole flat-headed flowers (e.g. daisies and forget-me-nots), leaves, feathers and photos
• PVA glue or double-sided adhesive tape
• 3–4 paper fasteners(split pins)
• A length of thin ribbon
• Pens, scissors and ruler
Decide on the diameter of your suncatcher and cut out two circles of card of your chosen size. In the centre of each circle of card, draw a second circle, 5cm (2in) smaller in diameter. Then cut out the middle circle to create a circular frame of card. Alternatively, cut out the middle section of two large paper plates.
Paint one side of each of the frames in any colours you choose – bright summer hues are best. Add some glitter, if you wish, and leave to dry on a sunny windowsill.
Cut out two pieces of sticky-back plastic, approximately the same size as your circlets of card. Remove the paper backing from one piece of the sticky-back plastic and lay it adhesive-side up on a flat surface. Place the flowers, petals, leaves, feathers, photos or any other flat decorative objects onto the sticky paper, remembering to leave a 2.5cm (1in) clear border around the edge. Arrange as you choose – a combination of bright colours and strong shapes works well, and you can use whole flowers as well as individual petals. Sprinkle with glitter, if desired.
Remove the adhesive backing from the second piece of sticky-back plastic and then carefully lay it carefully, sticky-side down, over your suncatcher to seal in the decorations. Take your time with this, and gently smooth out any bubbles.
Place your finished suncatcher between the two circular card frames (painted side outward), so they frame the suncatcher within. Then, using a skewer, carefully punch three or four holes at regular intervals around the entire frame, 1.25cm (½in) from the outside border of the card).
Seal the suncatcher within the frame using PVA glue, or double-sided adhesive tape, and then secure by inserting a paper fastener through each hole in the frame. When the glue is dry, trim away any excess sticky-back plastic paper from around the edge of the frame to create a neat finish.
Carefully pierce another hole in the topmost edge of the cardboard frame, thread through a ribbon, and hang up in a sunny window.
Build a Summer Solstice alter
The Summer Solstice is the perfect time to bring the blessings of the sun and the abundant spirit of nature into your home. Try a single large white or gold candle to honour the sun, and golden crystals like pyrite, rutilated quartz, jasper and carnelian, as well as sunstones and amber, to welcome in the solar energy and hold it in your home. Place the crystals in sunlight periodically to energize them. You may also choose to hold these crystals while meditating on the sun, or place some under your pillow at night to increase their healing and empowering 143 Summer Solstice – Power effects, and help maximize your happiness, success, enthusiasm and self-protection. Alternatively, decorate your altar with greenery and wildflowers to reflect the abundance of nature. Suitable colours for your altar are yellows and oranges to reflect solar energy, as well as gold.
Make some delicious dandelion fritters
Fresh dandelion flowers and leaves can be added to salad, and the leaves can also be cooked like spinach. This fritter recipe is perfect for a wild-foraged solstice feast and can be repeated with thistles and elderflower blossom. This recipe should make enough batter to cover as many dandelion flowers as you choose.
You will need:
• 110g/4oz/¾cup plain (all-purpose) flour
• Pinch of salt
• 1 egg, beaten
• Fresh dandelion flowers (washed and whole)
• Sunflower oil, for frying
Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and slowly add the beaten egg and milk to make a smooth batter. Holding the flowers by the stalk, dip them in the batter, then set aside.
Put the oil in a large pan on a medium heat and, when the oil is hot, add the dandelion flowers and deep fry until golden brown.
Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain off the excess oil before serving.
The Magical Year by Danu Forest
A modern-day exploration of Celtic spirituality, folklore and traditions interwoven with practical crafts, recipes, spells, ceremonies, guided visualizations and meditations in a season-by-season celebration of the eight festivals of the Celtic Wheel of the Year.
The Magical Year is available to purchase in multiple formats here.