Sunset over Windmill Hill
Today Father’s Day and the Summer Solstice fell on the same day, which seemed to me to be a very auspicious time for celebrating the Great God and the Divine Masculine of nature.
The beginning of the day started with an offering of mead, candles and prayers at my altar (which is much simplified as I’ve packed away many items in preparation of our move). I honoured the Great God and asked Inari Okami to bless my father and all the other men in my life.
We then met the rest of my family at a local Italian restaurant to celebrate Father’s Day.
After lunch, we went up to Windmill Hill (the highest point in Gravesend) to fly kites. The men in my family have recently gotten into kite-flying, and my sister gave my Dad a kite (in the shape of a Red kite bird!) as a Father’s Day gift. It wasn’t that windy so it was hard to get the kites in the air, but we managed eventually. It struck me that kite-flying can be quite a Pagan thing to do – you have to focus a lot on what the wind is doing, and move according to the wind. In this way, flying a kite can bring you closer to the natural forces. Flying the kites was a lot of fun, until my Dad’s kite made a break for freedom and got stuck in a tree!
My Dad’s kite
In the evening, my husband and I returned to Windmill Hill to hold a little ritual at sunset.
I made an offering of herbs to one of the sycamore trees, and made a little altar of candles and incense
Our timing was perfect – as we faced West, we saw the Sun sink rapidly below the skyline. I raised an offering of plum wine to the Sun, and we both drank from the goblet as the sun set. At the end of the ritual when the sun had disappeared, I poured the plum wine over the candles both to extinguish them and to offer the wine to the Earth.
It was a really serene and joyous ritual, and I felt so glad to see the sun set on the longest day. What I loved best about it was its symbolic symmetry – at the Winter Solstice, my husband and I came to Windmill Hill to watch the sun rise, so it felt very significant to me to watch the sun set at the same place at Summer Solstice.
It was one of the most lovely days and meaningful rituals I’ve had in a long while.