Monday, June 23, 2008

Midsummer Eve (St John's Eve): bonfires and a magickal herb

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
Saint John's Eve is the night before the Feast Day of St John the Baptist, and in Europe, from pre-Christian times, Summer Solstice festivities and spiritual practices have been a part of this day. Also called Midsummer Eve, June 23 is a time rich in folklore.

On this night in olde Britain, people would go into the woods and bring back branches to their homes, celebrating the eve of the birth of John the Baptist (the only Christian saint whose birth date is a feast, as well as the day of his death – August 29). Fairies speak in human tongues on this night; the flower of happiness blooms ...

In olde Britain, tonight was bonfire night and fires were made composed of contributions of fuel called boons. Men and boys jumped through the fires in accordance with an ancient custom. People would walk about the towns for much of the night, usually garlanded with flowers or with ribbons and jewels - some citizens would not go themselves but send a substitute ...

It was customary in Britain and Europe on St John's Eve, to gather certain herbs, such as St John's wort, vervain, trefoil and rue, all of which were believed to have magical properties. St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) does, in fact, have scientifically proven anti-depressant qualities. Drinks were brewed from it to cure madness, sciatica, epilepsy and paralysis. The salve made from the herb cured wounds from spears and swords - or, so it is said ...

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