The Ecstacy of Summer (Solstice)

Since I am beginning full-time seminary in the fall, I am saving my money this summer and probably not going anywhere for a long vacation. I am feeling the need to hit the beach, and if I can get a good cheap booking at this point I may betake myself to Cap May, NJ,  my most favorite beach place. I really want to check out in-depth the nature preserve there; I have fond memories of two separate vacations I have taken in the town. So this makes me think of the transcendent experiences I will seek out while staying (temporarily) close to home.  It  has been a most magickal summer/spring, with almost the perfect mix of rain and sun. We have not hit the so-called “dog” days.  This means to me that one can still do the following:

Sit at an outdoor cafe, or walk by one, and notice that restaurants now put bowls of water out with patrons who have dogs to hydrate them and still keep them away from the rest of the patrons and the food.

Witness several people dressed up as cans of beer, or hot dogs, or ketchup.

Sit outside on an evening redolent with jasmine and watch as the street lights flicker on. Yes, there are many places in New York that smell nothing like New York.

Enjoy Drums on the Hudson, and the Mermaid parade other events like this. When I attended the Drums on the Hudson Pow-Wow,  just hearing the drums before I saw them sent a special chill up my spine.  Drumming and chanting is the primal, cthonic religious expression for me. It is how I experience my faith.

The concert I attended with Beth my fellow Pagan Pride Pagan Pride Partner in Crime, featuring Alessandra Belonni and her company singing chants and songs to the Sea Goddess of many cultures. It was tremendous. It took place in a decidedly non-beach like place, but if it had been at a  beach- well, transcendent!

Summer salads made with cucumbers, tomato, and feta!

Cold ratatouille

Taking walks through the city on a hot day. I don’t know why, but I love talking hot, long, lazy walks, and taking breaks with iced tea. Always iced tea!

Community gardens. When community gardeners open the gates to the rest of us, I feel like I have entered into a secret treasure that has a time limit. They do the work, and then open the gates for a brief time to let us enjoy. A magic oasis for the soul  and a blessing on the city.  Power Places, places of enchantment.

These are my favorite magic places and experiences of the feel free to comment with your own.

Brightest Litha Blessings!

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About Valerie Freseman

Valerie Freseman is a Unitarian Universalist minister and a 2014 graduate of Union Theological Seminary. She completed a chaplain residency at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, CT, and served as the first year-long Killam Ministerial intern at the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland. She is passionate about spinning the inter-dependent web, creating a more just world, and applying the arts to faith.  She is also becoming increasingly well-known for her sock collection.
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