Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Summer Solstice open rituals and events

Midsummer - or the Summer Solstice - is a magical time of year, when the days are at their longest. Pagans celebrate the power of the sun at its strongest, on June 20, with rituals, celebrations, feasting and fun.

This year there are lots of Summer Solstice celebrations taking place over the weekend of June 19 and 20, and into Monday June 21. Here are just a few that are within reach of London:

18-21 June; Pendle Witch Camp. Festival in Pendle, Lancashire, with talks and workshops. Tickets are £30. For more details and to book tickets visit

Saturday, 19 June; Free and Open Gorsedd Summer Solstice Rite at Avebury stone circle, in Wiltshire. Druidic ceremony to celebrate the Summer Sun Standstill. Meet at the Red Lion Pub from noon for the ceremony around 1.30pm. Offerings of music, song, poetry, cake and mead are welcome.

Saturday 19 June; Tour of Avebury Stones. Free tour of the stones at the summer solstice. This is a guided walk around the stones and a chance to interact with earth energies and divine a sacred power point. Meet at 2pm at The Henge Shop, Avebury, Wiltshire. The event lasts one hour. For more details, visit

19 June; Sacred Hart Midsummer Gathering. Summer Solstice ritual to honour the Stag and the Sun at Bedfords Park, Romford, Essex, from noon to 5pm. Event includes drumming circle and open ritual. Bring food for picnic. For more information and to book tickets, visit

Saturday, 19 June; Hilly Fields Midsummer Fayre. Fayre run by the local community every year beside the stone circle at Hilly Fields, Brockley, SE4 1QA (pictured above). Although this is not a specifically pagan event, it has a wonderful atmosphere and is really friendly - and where else in London has a festival right beside a stone circle? It runs from noon - 5pm. For more details visit Read more about Hilly Fields stone circle at

Sunday 20 June; Summer Solstice Celebration at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk. Dr Sam Newton will be giving a presentation followed by supper and a sunset tour of the burial mounds to celebrate midsummer. It runs from 7pm - 10pm. The cost is £28 and prebooking is essential. Email or call 01394 389700.

Sunday, 20 June; Summer Solstice on Primrose Hill plus a public handfasting, starting at 12.30pm and going on until 3pm. This is a chance to celebrate Alban Heruin. Meet at The Hawthorne Grove on top of Primrose Hill, Regents Park Rd, London. The ritual will be conducted by Jay the Tailor, Druid of Wormwood Scrubbs, of the Loose Association of Druids. Afterwards there will be a gathering in the Washington Pub, 50 Englands Lane, London NW3 4YD. Please bring food and drink to share during the ritual.

Sunday, 20 June - Monday 21 June; Stonehenge, the 5,000-year-old megalithic monument on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, is the most famous place in England to celebrate the solstices. Entry is normally restricted although English Heritage, which manages the site, is expected to provide what it calls "managed open access" to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice, from around 8.30pm on Sunday 20 June until early morning on Monday 21 June. There will be a one-night free festival near the stones. For details about access to the stones, visit For more details of the festival, visit

If you prefer to celebrate midsummer in your own way, here are some ideas on how to celebrate the Summer Solstice that I posted in previous years:

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