The Oak and the Sun

June 24, 2015


One of the many things that I love about the Celtic wheel of the year is that it organises me! Normally people just think about their intentions once a year, on new years day. They are usually hung over, the days are short, it’s cold, and they are feeling the effects of overindulgence. It’s not the best energy to set intentions, and without a review period, it’s hard to keep on track.

FireThe Celtic wheel of the year has eight points where we can stop and take stock of our lives, each with a different focus. The summer solstice energy is around celebration – a time to give thanks and recognition for all the abundance in our lives. Everything in nature is blooming, bountiful and full. It is the point when the height of the masculine energy – the Sun – bonds with the height of the feminine energy – the Earth.

On the Saturday before the Solstice we gathered together outside at a new venue we were trying out in Manchester where we are allowed a fire. Twelve of us joined to begin our celebrations for the forthcoming summer solstice.

Abney Park is a gorgeous place, close to the M60, on the flight path for Manchester Airport and next to the railway. But don’t let that put you off… the grounds are lovely with huge trees, the kind you very rarely see nowadays. A real oasis in the city.

We based ourselves under the canopy of a huge horse chestnut. Surely you could get 100 people under there if you wanted to, its branches stretched out so far. We made a fire which burned through the afternoon and provided us with some much welcomed warmth on the unusually cold June day.

We journeyed to the Solstice Sun to receive insights and then reflected on what we had achieved so far this year that we set out to do, and consider what was left – our goals for the remainder of the year. The Oak is one of the trees of the summer solstice and so we chose to work with this energy for the remainder of the day.

Narrowly escaping being used for kindling(!) we each selected an Oak twig to craft into a wand… and as a wand is made for a purpose and not a person, we crafted ours to help with something in particular, something where we needed to draw on strength greater than our own.

MoorlandwhisperFor me, I made my Oak Wand to help me with my storytelling the following weekend on Solstice Eve. I told my first story around the solstice campfire and I had my Oak Wand with me.

It gave me great strength this week whilst I have gone through the agony of creating a story worthy of sharing, and I give both the Oak and the Sun thanks for bringing me to this point.

Our next sabbat gathering will be a wild camp up in the Yorkshire Dales at beautiful Lower Winskill Farm.

This will be a two day, one night gathering, with a campfire, journeying, chanting, drumming, feasting and time in the wild flower meadows with stunning views over the dales, and a gentle short walk to a gorgeous waterfall.

It will be on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd August, and more details can be found on this link.

About the Author


Nicola Smalley is an edge-dweller, shamanic practitioner and writer living in Anglezarke on the edge of the West Pennine Moors in Lancashire, England.
Following a career in corporate sustainability, she now runs The Way of the Buzzard with her husband Jason. Her passion is anything connected to nature and the mysteries of the Earth.

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