With Beltane and May Day behind us, and the summer ahead, here's a look at a new book called Sumer Is Icumen In by Melusine Draco.
"Sumer is icumen in" is, of course, the opening words of a medieval English chant sung in rounds. It's also known as the Cuckoo Song and has found it's way into films including the 1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Wicker Man from 1973. Probably because of the latter, it's much-loved by pagans and I suspect that's what Melusine's book is at least partly recognising.
The book doesn't include instructions for putting police officers into giant effigies and setting fire to them, but does offer some excellent alternative suggestions for summer festivities. I had the pleasure of reading the manuscript before it was published and wrote this endorsement:
“Everyone loves a summer party and in Sumer Is Icumen In, traditional witch Melusine Draco shows how to integrate our celebrations with those of our ancestors. Melusine looks at how the solstice was observed in ancient times, from the building of megalithic monuments that marked the sun’s passage to great fire festivals that took place all over the world. She offers practical suggestions for 21st century community events, including garden parties with food and drink shared around a fire pit or Swedish-style outdoor buffets, with time for reflection and offerings at the sun’s zenith. The book also includes ideas for solitary activities and coven-based rites, as well as covering summer customs from May Eve onwards in many different pagan traditions.”