“All poets are mad [Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy] – for ‘poets’ read writers.
The Solstice and Midsummer’s Day 2013 have been and gone, and, pardon the cliche, were more damp squibs than wildly mad, I feel. Today (28 June) in Leicestershire, as I write, we’re enjoying typical Glastonbury weather – 16 degrees Celsius, and rain, rain, rain. In Britain, Glastonbury is as near as we get, I guess, to the midsummer bonfire celebrations in Scandinavia, Austria, Russia, Spain. The next, once-upon-a-time bonfire opportunity is Lughnasa, or Lammas if you’re Saxon.
According to a former NASA scientist (thank you Wikipedia), Astronomical Lughnasa this year, in the Northern Hemisphere, will occur on 7th August, the mid-point between the Solstice (21 June) and Autumnal Equinox (21 September). Maybe the weather will be good enough to at least light the barbecue, and burn sacrificial sweetcorn and burgers to a crisp in commemoration of Lugh, Celtic god of light whose power was transferred to ripening grain, and was consequently sacrificed when the cereal was harvested. Some of the grain was saved to sow in the following spring. By doing this Lugh was resurrected, and the cycle begun again.
At Lughnasa ashes from the bonfires lit in Lugh’s honour were used to bless fields, and people; in particular, handfasting couples who traditionally committed themselves to a trial marriage for a year and a day.
Apologies if you already know all this, but I think vestiges of ancient mythology must linger in the psyche without our being conscious of it. Though self-possessed and independent, the main female characters in my novels to date, Monica Sommers in Last Bite of the Cherry, Calista Blake in Twins of a Gazelle (to be published this year), and Lexie Neave in my WIP third novel, in the heat of the summer, become entangled with men they know full well will be trouble, a kind of madness. It was only thinking about and writing about Midsummer Madness that I realize I’ve done this in all three stories.
Does anyone else find similar subconscious similarities in their own stories?
Red, I remember reading somewhere, is associated with the Mother Goddess, so this picture’s for her.