Midsummer's Eve Full Moon
Wednesday 23rd June 723
As sun he goes down, on glad Wodnesdaeg,
Begins joyful eve, of feast of Saint John,
On the bright night, of the merry Hay Moon.
The Midsummer's Eve, also a full moon,
At twilight the powers, are at their height.
Three liminal moments, captured in one,
Light fires to keep, the night warm and bright.
Staying up jolly late, greet Midsummer's Day,
Gathering herbs, and flowers to protect.
From evil spirits, and wanton fairies,
Young maidens with yellow garlands bedecked.
Folk a gathering, yellow 'chase-devil',
Drunken debauchery, into the night.
Deep dusky twilight, magic and ritual,
Our ancient rapturous, Midsummer rite.
Copyright Andrew Rea, Æfterra Litha 2021
This was Midsummers Eve, a full moon and at evening twilight became a triply auspicious moment. This was the last time this would happen before conversion to Christianity became complete, as this triple liminal moment would not occur again until 788.
One of the most powerful plants was known as ‘chase-devil’, now called St John’s Wort.
Wodnesdaeg is of course Wednesday or Wodens day.
Ærra Litha is June.
The feast of Saint John was set on the 24th June by the church and adopted the mid Summer festival. As evening precedes day the poem is set at sundown on the 23rd.
There were 17 Midsummers Eve full moons in the Anglo-Saxon Christian era:
609 Monday, 674 Friday, 693 Monday
712 Thursday, 723 Wednesday, 788 Monday
807 Wednesday, 826 Saturday, 845 Tuesday, 864 Friday
902 Wednesday, 921 Saturday, 959 Thursday, 978 Sunday, 997 Wednesday
1016 Sunday, 1035 Tuesday
I have stopped at 1066