Midsummer evening walk.. crossing boundaries.. walls and trails and tracks...

Divination customs surround Midsummer, appearing in folklore records across the European regions. The rituals are often variations on sacred flower gathering rites, involving the collection of dew drops, or the picking of a certain number of herbs and wildflowers, followed by a small ritual which promises to grant the practitioner a glimpse of the future. Given the fertility connections at the Summer Solstice and Midsummer, this is often divination centred on love, marriage, children and families.

Here in Sweden the most well documented custom involves silently gathering nine different flowers whilst walking backwards, then sleeping with them beneath your pillow. In some variations the flowers must be gathered over three different crossroads, whilst others involve the backwards crossing of a matching number of physical boundaries, such as streams, walls and fences. The more elaborate practices share similarities with the ritual of the Årsgang which is also recorded as being performed on Midsummer eve for divination purposes.

With all our nearby streams and paths, hedges and walls, old abandoned roads and local railway tracks — plus our abundance of wild flowers and herbs — I'm already thinking about how to construct a personal variant of the flower gathering walk; weaving a living tradition for future Midsummer celebrations.

There's a good article going into much more detail on Swedish Midsummer rituals and folklore here The Magic of Midsummer Night, Institute for Language and Folklore. The text is in Swedish but big-tech-translate does a passing job on it if you're interested in exploring the topic further.

#journal #lore #midsummer