Midsummer (June 23) in New Orleans is celebrated in a festival also known as St. John’s Eve. During Midsummer, it is said that the Goddess manifests as Mother Earth and the God as the Sun King. In Celtic lore, it regarded as the best time to see fairies and in pagan times it was the feast of the Goddess Aine. In later days as Christianity took over the holidays from the pagans, they changed the festivals to feasts for Saints.
Currently in Catholic celebrations, June 23rd is known as St. John’s Eve, with St. John’s Day celebrated on the 24th, as the day of his birth, though it is not confirmed whether this is the actual day of his birth. It is interesting to note that the pagan story commemorated the balance and changing of rule between the Oak King and the Holly King and then in Christianity, it became representations of the birthday of St. John to represent Summer Solstice and the birthday for Christ as Winter Solstice.
This eve culminates the celebration of Summer Solstice. It begins at dusk on the 23rd and continues till sunrise on the 24th. This day is one of several days throughout the year where the veil is thin and communication with the spirit world is strong and easily accessed.
Though the heat of Summer is just beginning, this date actually begins the ‘metaphorical’ decline of the Sun as it embarks on its journey to the Underworld, which will culminate on December 21st, the darkest day of the year. (See my article – Celebrate the ancient lore and ritual of Summer Solstice).
Loaded with symbolism, St. John’s Eve was and is still celebrated throughout Europe, with bonfires, parties and celebrations. Perhaps there is no place on earth where St. John’s Eve is celebrated like it is in New Orleans. The French people brought Catholicism with them as they moved to Louisiana and in New Orleans it mixed in easily with traditional African magic, rituals and rites. This blending of the two cultures found common ground in lighting candles in prayer to ancestral sprits and asking saints to intervene when help was needed, as well as revering divine feminine figures in both religions.
Home to famous Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, St. John’s Eve has been celebrated in New Orleans for hundreds of years and Marie Laveau is undoubtedly the Queen of this celebration, having understood the esoteric rites to connect with spirit and the power of ritual to release the energy, moving all who participated. During these celebrations, bonfires are lit, drums beat and rituals, feasts and dancing are performed at Bayou St. John and other locations throughout the city.
This culmination of MidSummer celebration is a powerful time of transformation and purification through fire with bonfires and candles and by water, ritual baths and jumping into water are important rituals to remove stagnant and negative energy and create a new beginning.
While this ritual is dynamic, rejuvenating and renewing anywhere it is celebrated, it has been said that nowhere on earth is this magic stronger than in New Orleans, due to its unique location at the mouth of the Mississippi River, as the energy pours forth from the River into the Gulf — with New Orleans serving as the crescent bowl gathering and holding the energy. The ceremonies performed in connection with this powerful connection with water are similar to the ones performed in the times of ancient Egypt along the Nile.
Create a ritual of your own for this Eve. For a purification ritual that can be used during this time,
see my article: Celebrate the ancient lore and ritual of Summer Solstice.
If you have the opportunity to be in New Orleans on June 23rd, make plans to attend a traditional celebration. Dress in white, including a white head scarf and experience a purifying ritual head washing.
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More about Kala Ambrose: Noted esoteric wisdom teacher, psychic, paranormal investigator, author and host of the highly acclaimed talk show – Explore Your Spirit with Kala, Kala Ambrose’s wisdom teachings are described as discerning, empowering and inspiring. Whether she’s speaking with world-renowned experts on the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show, blogging about metaphysical and paranormal topics, reporting on new discoveries in the scientific and spiritual arenas or lecturing and teaching to groups around the country, fans around the world tune in daily for her supernatural musings and lively thought-provoking conversations.Kala is the award-winning author of 9 Life Altering Lessons: Secrets of the Mystery Schools Unveiled, which delves into the secret esoteric wisdom teachings from the mystery temples of ancient Egypt and Greece. She also writes a national column as the Metaphysical Spirituality and the Haunted History writer for the Examiner. Her next book is Ghost Hunting North Carolina, coming in 2011. As a paranormal researcher and psychic, she works with private clients and conducts paranormal investigations with The Rowan Society.
A psychic since birth as well as an empath, Kala had the good fortune to be raised by an understanding mother, who allowed her to read the tarot, create astrology charts by hand and practice other metaphysical arts and sciences at a young age, thus allowing her to explore, develop and fully connect with her unique abilities. A dedicated researcher of comparative religion, folklore, magic and mythology, her passions and other-worldy experiences connected her to the many lifetimes of her work in the ancient esoteric teachings, which she teaches to small groups of dedicated students.
Kala Ambrose is a highly interactive teacher and researcher on a mission to educate, entertain and inspire. She lectures on the Ancient Wisdom Teachings of Egypt and Greece, Developing Business Intuition, Connecting with Auras, Chakras and Energy Fields, and Following the Ancient Ways of Wise Woman Wisdom. In July 2010, she is teaching a three-day workshop entitled: Energy Anatomy: Exploring and Healing Your Auras and Chakras at the prestigious Omega Institute in New York.