Nectar’s On: drinking in the Solstice

The joyous rituals of Litha (Midsummer) celebrate the verdant Earthin high summer, abundance, fertility, and all the riches of Nature in full bloom.  This is a madcap time of strong magic and empowerment…  At Midsummer, the veils between the worlds are thin; the portals between “the fields we know” and the worlds beyond stand open. This is an excellent time for rites of divination. The Litha Sabbat is a time to celebrate both work and leisure, it is a time for children and childlike play. It is a time to celebrate the ending of the waxing year and the beginning of the waning year, in preparation for the harvest to come.

– Salem Nightshade  (

You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.

-Thomas Merton

There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.

—Martha Graham

You might recall, a few blog posts back, my mentioning, ‘beekeeping…’

Lauren bedecked in bee suit

Yep!  That’s me in my bee suit.  My friend, Frances, and I installed our bees in a freshly-painted hive at the end of April. 

Bee installation

Since then, the colony that began as around 3,000 has steadily increased; conservatively, there are about 10,000 bees now, building comb and making honey. 

Liberating the Queen, welcoming her to her hive

But this blog isn’t about bees.  And thank goodness, because I have so much to learn!  For       example, when we first introduced the bees to their new home in Frances’ backyard, we were instructed to feed them sugar syrup, to fuel their efforts.  Then, a few weeks ago, new terminology appeared in our instructions: “Nectar’s on!”  At this point in the summer season, we learned, the bees are ready to go it alone and flower foraging is prime: the, nectar is, “on.”

Got it!  And the bees get it, too – they’re a flurry of activity at the hive’s door, defending the entrance with special bee dances, feeding their queen, creating their comb, tending their brood, discovering new nectar sources, making honey….  They’re dazzling, really.  And I find myself thinking about them multiple times a week.  And, even though this blog isn’t about them specifically, when it comes to tending our own impulses and inspirations this Summer Solstice, I think we’d be wise to take our clues from these buzzing beauties.

What do I mean?

I mean that consciously, or unconsciously we (in the Northern Hemisphere), have arrived in a wonderfully creative season, the longest days of the year.  Our nectar’s on, so to speak, and it’s a time for exuberant experimentation.  With the sun at its zenith, the time is right for growing our seedling ideas into standing-their-own-ground actions.

As documented in ancient day rituals, Greek theatre, famous operas, and Woody Allen films, zany-cuckoo things happen on the Solstice.

Getting zany in the rainforest

This season pushes us to unfold our own myth, to invite an adventure with our muse.  It does this with relaxed urgency.

Relaxed urgency? Effortless compulsion?  It’s the energy we exude when we can’t not do something.  It’s not frenetic, it just happens, an outpouring of attraction.  There’s  no stopping the watermelon from expanding on its vine, and the bees – though we call them ‘busy’ – are wonderfully instinctive, simply doing what they love: feeding on nectar and attending their Queen.

And here’s where creativity becomes even more brilliant!  Devoted and determined, the bees drink from the blossoms of strawberries, almonds, onions, broccoli, tangerines, coconuts, carrots, grapes…on and on.  We can offer unending gratitude in response, because their nectar fascination becomes cross-pollination, a divinely creative act on which our very lives depend.

And so I’m wondering, in this blog that’s not about bees, how we can be more like them?  How might our everyday creations — those things we do because we feel the impulse, a loving need —  how might those acts fuel the life unfolding for the rest of us?  My heart dizzies at the thought.

So, in these days of Solstice Sunlight, be a bee!

  • Create, improvise, play!  Refrain from censoring yourself.
  • Employ relaxed urgency.  Move toward what you love, and let yourself be moved.
  • Know that what you create sustains yourself, and therefore others.
  • And finally, if things get a little wild, a little silly, a little – oh my goodness! – FUN, then blame it on the nectar –Shakespeare did!

Create and make merry…like our very lives depend on it.  Indeed, they do!