Bring to Our Lady, O ye sons of God: bring to Our Lady praise and reverence.
Give strength to thy saints, O holy Mother: and thy blessing to those who praise and glorify thee.
Hear the groans of those who sigh to thee: and despise not the prayers of those who invoke thy name.
Let thy hand be ready to help me: and thy ear inclined to my prayer.
Let the heavens and the earth bless thee: the sea and the world.
~ St. Bonaventure, Psalter of the Blessed Virgin
The words of the Catholic St. Bonaventure may seem unexpected to you, gentle Reader. The eclectic nature of this blog and the inquiry that I have made into how to approach Our Lady and the gods has me drawing wisdom from a wide range of sources. In the studies of Catholic saints, we might find wisdom that is well inclined to any who would heed it. I picked out a random text from the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin to open this entry, for like the Kyrian order, I find there is much to be said for the devotions to the Lady Mary.
As I make my preparations for the Solstice and the high feast of Rosa Mundi, I find myself drawn to lifting my voice up in praise of the gods. If I had my way, I would have the house spotless and the garden filled with flowers on the eve of Solstice. I would have home made bread and cakes as offerings, as well as a picnic for my family to celebrate the holy day together. This year, however, the celebration will fall on a day that I have more terrestrial concerns drawing me about the countryside. I am inclined to draw from that drop or two of Celtic blood in my lineage and start the observance of the holy day the evening before.
Within Wicca, the Summer Solstice is a notable day of celebration. We recognize the fecundity of the Earth and the vigor of life all about us. It is at this time that the wheat that was sown in autumn, known as winter wheat, has reached maturity and some is even ready to harvest. Strawberries and roses are prolific. Blackberries, raspberries, and many other fruit that are harvested in late spring and early summer are either at or near the point they are to be picked. The Summer Solstice could be looked at as the first of the harvest festivals or a celebration of the largess of nature that is seen in all that is about us.
Rosa Mundi is the first of the Mother focused festivals of the sacred year of the Filianic faith. With Exaultation, we concluded the narrative arc of the Daughter with her reunion with the Mother. Rosa Mundi is a two fold celebration. It is a celebration of the union of the whole of existence and reality with the Mother, for she is present in all things even when we do not recognize this. It is also a celebration of the quest of the soul to that place of holy union that is the Mother’s arms. If we must focus upon a particular aspect of Dea as Mother for this celebration, it would be the sustaining Mother who nourishes us with her love and overflowing gifts.
Rosa Mundi is the first of the fire festivals of Filianism. In some Filianic communities, this fire festival is celebrated with bonfires. The bonfire of Rosa Mundi is not like the need based fires of the late autumn and early winter fire festivals of antiquity. It is, instead, a celebratory fire that is kindled to encourage the faithful to look to the fiery rose of their heart wherein they might commune with Dea. It is a boisterous and joyful time where the gifts of Dea are savored and delighted in. In this respect, there can be several strong parallels drawn between Rosa Mundi and the Wiccan holy day of Litha (another name for the Summer Solstice).
Both celebrations encourage the faithful to live fully in the moment. They embrace the delights of the senses (and in some cases the sensual, for some Wiccan’s consider this when the Lady and Lord consummate the marriage made at Beltaine). We are exhorted in both cases to drink deeply from the cup of life even as we lift it up in toast and praise of the Divine.
My modified celebration of these two holy times that overlap, will be such that I shall focus upon the joy of the life I lead. I will meditate upon these things and offer them up to the Divine with a thankful and happy heart. I will acquire a bough of roses from the wild briar growing in the backyard and place some blossoms on the altar and at my outdoors shrine. If the weather permits it, I’ll try to get a little baking done the day or so before, this way I can give my family something homemade and wonderful for the day. I will be surrounded much of the day by good friends and engaged in things that give me deep happiness. This, however minimal, will be the heart of my observance.