|Alban Heruin (Summer Solstice)
|Celebration of Alban Heruin
Summer Solstice marks the beginning of the time of the Oak
King, who will rule from now until the Winter Solstice, when the
Holly King returns. You may choose to celebrate the Holly King’s
final day by placing a little mistletoe on your altar. If you do
so, make sure that the mistletoe is untouched by human hands
At this time of year the Oak King returns from his half-year
of rest in Caer Arianrhod, the Castle of the ever-turning Silver
Wheel of Arianrhod (pronounced ‘ah-ree-AHN-rod’). This is the
place of life, death and rebirth, watched over by the Moon
Goddess Arianrhod. It is said that Caer Arianrhod is visible in
the night sky as the Aurora Borealis. Altars decorated with
flowers of the season are appropriate, as are bonfires, drum
circles and dancing.
Alban Heruin is a time for working magic of manifestation. As you
celebrate, choose songs, dances and chants that attract greater
purpose, guidance, and the manifestation of dreams and desires.
Meditations and chants at this time of the year are directed at
allowing your will and the will of the Gods and Goddesses to
become attuned to one another.
Significance of Alban Heruin
Alban Heruin means ‘Light of the Shore.’ After this day, the
movement of the Wheel is towards the darker part of the year. It
is the gate of moving from light to darkness, just as Alban
Arthan is the gate of moving from darkness to light. At this
time of year we honor the manifestation of the seeds we have
planted earlier in the year. It is a time of the balance between
inner self and outer self. Alban Heruin is a good time to do
energy work; especially energy work that involves bringing
things to fruition. It is also an excellent time to express
thanks to your God or Goddess for bringing new gifts into your
The dark half of the Wheel of the Year is a time of inner
contemplation. It is a time of reflecting on that divine spark
that we all carry within ourselves. Alban Heruin is the time of
year when the light of your inner True Self has reached its
peak, and will begin to enter into another period of silent
contemplation as the year begins to darken again. Use this time
to focus your intention and will on manifestation. What is it
you hope to achieve in your life? Are your actions helping you
to achieve these things? If not, Alban Heruin reminds us to trim
away those things that are no longer productive.
Symbols of Alban Heruin
Alban Heruin is the longest day of the year. For this reason,
any symbols associated with the Sun would be appropriate. The
element of Fire, representing the Sun, is often seen at Alban
Heruin celebrations. Lit candles, bonfires, or solar emblems
adorn many altars at this time of year. The fires of the Sun
symbolize the power of creativity and passion. This is also a
time of rebirth. Since this day marks the beginning of the
darker half of the year, the rebirth symbolized here usually
involves darker, earthier things such as salamanders and
Sunflowers are also a common sight, as are solar colors like
red, orange, yellow and white. Honeysuckles and daisies are also
flowers that symbolize the Sun and its colors. Since these
flowers are commonly in bloom at this time of year, they would
be appropriate items with which to adorn your altar.
Bears and eagles also represent the Sun. Eagles are among the
highest-flying birds, and many Native American legends had
eagles soaring up to the Sun. Bears leave their caves most often
in the summer months, and are therefore also associated with the
Sun. Additionally, the spiritual associations with this holiday
involve rebirth and new growth. In a sense, such spiritual
rebirth involves stepping out of the caves of our unconscious
minds and into the light of conscious awareness.
Oak trees and their gifts are also common symbols of this
holiday. The Oak is the King of the Forest and is prized for its
strength and endurance. It is part of the sacred Druid trinity
of Oak, Ash and Thorn and is a symbol of wisdom. One possible
meaning of the word ‘druid’ is ‘Wise Ones of the Oak,’ and this
is reflected in the Gaelic word for oak, ‘duir.’ Oak wreaths,
bowls of acorns, and mistletoe are common symbols and
decorations for Alban Heruin.
Gods and Goddesses of Alban Heruin
the Horned God is a twin god. Together the Oak King and the
Holly King represent both aspects of Cernunnos, also known as
the Green Man. At Alban Heruin, we honor Cernunnos in the
passing Oak King aspect and the coming Holly King aspect.
Aine, the Irish Goddess of love, peace, prosperity and
sovereignty, is often honored on Midsummer’s Eve with a feast.
This feast is usually a ‘potluck’ in which each participant
brings a favorite dish or a gift from their home garden.
Although not as common, Arianrhod is also sometimes associated
with this holiday. She is the Moon Goddess, and oversees death,
birth and rebirth from the Spiral Castle. She sits at her
spinning wheel, spinning the silver threads of life. Each thread
of her wheel represents a line of probability; a dimension and a
path of life.
This is also a good time to invoke other Sun Gods, such as Balor
or Lugh, or Sun Goddesses such as Aine or Grian.
Colors of Alban Heruin
Colors for Alban Heruin include yellows, representing the Sun,
and greens, representing living things and healing energy.
Sometimes silver, representing the Moon Goddess Arianrhod, is
Rituals and Traditions of Alban Heruin
There is evidence to suggest that the Summer Solstice was not
celebrated by the ancient Celts, but was imported later. It is
certainly celebrated today. It is a time when the Sun Gods are
at the peak of their powers, but at the same time, their powers
begin to wane and we witness the ascendancy of the Moon
Traditions of Alban Heruin include feasting and enacting the
Wild Hunt. Bonfires, drumming and dance circles are also common.
Any ritual involving transformation, balance of power, rebirth
or manifestation is appropriate at this time of year.