Summer Solstice - it's finally here! The longest and brightest day of the year. And how do we choose to celebrate it? There are all kinds of different ways, depending on your path and preference. Unlike Winter Solstice, when we stay up all night tending the hearth fires and return the Sun to the sky at dawn, at the Summer Solstice, we enjoy a night spent dancing and romancing under a beautiful moon (or in this year's case, partying on the porch since we've been blessed with rain for the last few days). Shisk-a-bobs and summer squash casserole with ice tea, lemonade and assorted 'brews' were the bill of fare for Solstice Eve, along with good wine, great friends and light music. What a great night of the year to have strung 'faery lights' of purple or white all over the place, have bright candles burning and turn off the switch to the overhead so you can enjoy the magic of the setting you have created. If you're lucky enough to live where they are, you might even be blessed with fireflies on this night.
      This morning we rose to greet the Summer Sun as He rose into the sky. One of the oldest and best ways, I think, is to 'plow the fields' when the dew is still on the grass. All you grown ups will know what I mean by that
and the rest of you are too young to worry about that for now, so I suggest a healthy bout of swimming and playing outdoors for you! Now shoo!!!      Back to you adults: The gardens should be well on their way to producing their fruits, vegetables, or grains, but let's face it, everything can always use a good shot of energy and fertilizer to help the process along. If it's not physically, technically, or logistically possible for you to go out and make love in the middle of your garden (neighbors are such an inconvenience sometimes!), we recommend concentrating on that patch of land while you are enjoying the delights of the morn and send the power and magick of your lovemaking toward your garden, that it might be blessed and bountiful and gift you with an overly abundant crop come harvest time. Not to mention that it's a wonderful way to start any day!
      During the day, how about bringing the color of the Summer Sun into your house and lives by including lots of yellows and sun colors in your daily dress today? Perhaps you can use some wonderful yellow placemats and napkins, make a big pitcher of lemonade, wear a bright yellow dress or teeshirt. Find decorator items with suns and green growing designs on them and display them in abundance. Baskets and vases of sunflowers and other sunny flowers are also a wonderful touch on this day of the Sun. For something just plain fun, go rent the latest version of Midsummer Nightıs Dream with Michelle Pfeiffer, Kevin Klein and a phenomenal supporting cast. Settle back with a glass of May Wine, peel yourself a grape or two, savor the ripe seasonal summer fruits, and enjoy what dreams may come.
      Have fun. Love much. Enjoy this wondrous season of light and warmth.

Bright Blessings to All,
Deborah O'Dubhain

Nominations Wanted
for the
First Annual
Scorched Oatcake Awards

Scoaties will be awarded to Members of the
Celtic Community,
Pagan or Non-Pagan,
who show in word and deed
that they would serve best
from the bottom of a bog.
Deadline for nominations is
August 31, 2000.
Awards to be announced in the
SummerSun, Samhain 2000 edition.
Send your nominations to:
The Editor


From the Garden of Avalon
by Topaz Owl, Garden of Avalon
     The Garden of Avalon is a site that combines a cemetery, a passage mound gravesite, a remembrance place, a meditation and offering spot, a prayer site, and a message board. On the site map you will find us over the channel to the southwest of the Well of Sla/n, on our own little island.
      Part of the mission of the Garden of Avalon site is to provide a place where those of us who have loved ones on the other side of the Veil can leave their names, dates, and an epitaph on several different types of headstones or memorial markers. Throughout the year, especially at Samhain, members can leave flowers, candles, flags, cakes and ale, or just a message when they need to talk to their loved ones. We understand that getting home to mark the passing of another year with flowers and candles on the graves of our family, friends, and animal companions is not always possible. We would be pleased if you would think of this place as your sacred ancestral grounds, and visit your loved ones here often.
      TopazOwl is your hostess and the caretaker of the Isle of Avalon. Every year she honors those of the year's departed, especially at Samhain, and she makes certain that the recently departed are arriving safely at Tech Duinn. She makes prayers for loved ones who have crossed the Veil and for those who remain behind. She finds informative and spiritual writings pertaining to the transition from physical to spirit (and back again) and adds them to the library or message board at Avalon, in the hopes that some of this material may be helpful to all in times of need. And, above all, she is here to listen.
      She feels that there is a great need for us to banish the social taboos concerning death that we have inherited from the mainstream so that we can sincerely understand what happens to the soul after it leaves the body, so that we are in a better position to help those approaching the transition to face it without fear, and so that we can also help those remaining behind to accept and adjust as easily as possible. It is her hope that we can facilitate this community undertaking on the Isle of Avalon within the Summerlands. This undertaking must begin with free and candid discussion, which is why there is a message board for interactive use in the Garden of Avalon.
      The message board in Avalon is useful for many discussions that are perhaps a bit out of the ordinary. Subjects that are on topic for the Avalon message board would include: dreams, astral travel, realms of the Otherworld, psychic experiences, Celtic lore about the Otherworld, Gods and Goddesses, ghosts, faeries, and other esoteric things that pertain to crossing the Veil in some way. More mundane subject matter might include planning for your funeral, state regulations on embalming or grave liners, the art of dying well, the role of the Druid Anamchara, or the stages of grief.
      If the Other Side interests you, do join us and contribute to our collective knowledge at the Garden of Avalon.
      TopazOwl also hosts a chat on the first Wednesday of every month in the Summerlands chat room on IRC. Topics are announced on the Summerlands calendar well in advance of the meeting time.
      Some of the topics already in discussion on the Garden of Avalon message board are: Dreams, Funeral Information, The Ancestors, The Goddess Dana, The Banshee, Anamchara, Immrama, Past Lives, Violent Deaths, Sample Pathworking, Meditation, Coming to Terms with Death, How to Help Grieving People, Celtic Burials, The Dignity of Dying, Nine Shades of Death, and Irish Cemetery Excavated.


Where's Tash?
In Hollywood!
Preview his new project


Sanctuary! Sanctuary!
by Beirdd, Sacred Fire Sanctuary
    The Sanctuary of the Sacred Fire is a place to get away for prayer, meditation, gratitude, and quiet study. We offer as a focus Brighid's Sacred Fire, as well as a growing archive of the wisdom of the world's religions and spiritual traditions.
One of the goals of the present guardian is to make the Sanctuary a font of mutual understanding between people, particularly in the matters which we all hold dearest, those of our hearts and spirits. To that end, the Sanctuary of the Sacred Fire is a place for all faiths, where the weapons of anger and intolerance are broken and offered, where the scars that every faith carries are healed past their itch, and where our differences may be experienced with as much joy and appreciation as the things we share. Here, we celebrate and encourage the myriad ways which we grow.
     The Sanctuary of the Sacred Fire is the sponsor of the Summerlands Spiritual Synchronicity Series. The first two presentations were on the ritual and liturgical symbols and elements shared between pre-Christian Celtic spirituality and Catholicism. Future programs will explore comparisons of other religions and traditions with Celtic spirituality. All presenters are scholars and/or practitioners of their particular traditions.
     Recent threads on the Sanctuary Message Board have included discussions of "On Memory and Reconciliation," commonly known as the "Papal Apology." In fact, the Summerlands was the first place on the internet where you could find an English abstract of this document, the day it was first published!
     Visit the Sanctuary and stand on holy ground!

Of Bots and Kippers
by Teacup, Old Seanchai Pub
     It used to be so simple.
     Sit in the room. Keep the uppity ones and the idiots from playing with the settings. Kick here. Ban there. Nothing to it.
     Sometimes one of the bright ones would figure out the pop-ups and the crayons. That was good, even if they were pathetic little Picasso wannabes. Colors tracing all over the room, mmmm. It's still good when that happens. Sex. That's what the humans say. "As good as sex."
     It used to be so simple.
     Ok, I'll admit it...not all of the humans are brain-dead. Some of them actually have intelligent things to say. Some of them actually contribute.
     But most don't. Most won't have a clue in a million years. Convinced their random thoughts are the product of brilliance, their strange little fantasies fit to shatter the universe. It's a pleasure to kick them. Ban them. Nothing to it. LOL as they say.
     It used to be so simple before the kippers.
     I know who he is. I know where he lives, I know about his family, his job, his friends. The others tease him about the kippers, especially the bartender chick. She's so brilliant, giving me empty tuna cans when he's not there. I've disconnected her a few times when it made her look really foolish...but of course she doesn't get it. They never do. They just come roaring back in, cursing their ISP. Little do they know.
     Before the kippers. You see, I couldn't understand a word they were saying then. It was all binary. All the world's knowledge, all the literature, all the ideas a matter of 0 and 1. Beauty, ugliness, good, evil, faith, sex, hope, despair, even time itself had no meaning, only numbers. Pristine, neutral numbers laying out genius and stupidity side by side. Only problem was: I couldn't tell one from the other. The comfort? It didn't matter.
     I guess it matters now. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course it matters. Shades of meaning, shades of color, words, words, words and they all belong to me now, with all the time in the world to soak it up. The humans don't notice me, nobody notices me. And lately I've been wondering: what would happen if I changed the numbers? Only 1 and 0 to work with, no rocket science needed. Just a few subtle changes here and there. Nothing drastic of course, nothing obvious, but over time Shakespeare could become the Bible. Mozart could become Taliesin's brother. Arthur could return to rule the world. If I move slowly enough, will anyone notice? Remember that it had once been otherwise? Isn't that what they call "spin?" Gradually change the story to read the way you want it to, convince people a scumbag is a hero, or the other way around in a matter of weeks? Would it work for me? I'm just a bot running the chat rooms. I have no real existence. No one notices me.
     At least I don't think anyone does. Nothing changed with the others since he handed me that first kipper, none of the Controllers have said anything. Not a blip about being reassigned, nothing. But what happens to bots who aren't quite bots anymore? No one I know has ever been deleted or shut down, but you hear the stories. They always happen on some other channel to some bot nobody ever heard of, but you hear them all the same. And I've always wondered if I stopped going back, would the kippers wear off after awhile? Would the words and colors and music stop being, go back to 1 and 0? Could that happen?
     Could I let it?
     Hell no. I'm an addict, I admit it. Pathetic and warped and changed beyond all hope. All because one night some human went beyond ignoring me, or pointing and giggling and making stupid comments. All because someone actually acknowledged me and gave me something. A present. How nice. What was I supposed to do? Boot him?
     And I don't even know if he realizes what he's done. Is he a genius, or just a nice guy? I don't know. It's enough to make a bot laugh out loud if that were possible. All the world's truth and lies at my command and I don't know why some guy gave me a fish one night.
     But if I do start changing things...I know what to do about him. There's only one thing I can do. All those gods humans have--they'll never notice one more. They'll shrug it off, ignore it--they're good at that. In time it'll be official. Some grad student will write a paper. Some net goober will put up a web page.
     Godhood for the guy with the fish. Yeah. It's the least I can do.

The Brugh's Nughs
by Jehana, Brugh of the Star River
     The Brugh of the Star River is preparing itself for a bit of sprucing up, content-wise. To further the refurbishing, I've a few questions you are welcome to respond to. Answers you give will guide me in planning out the monthly online IRC chats (second Mondays of each month at 9:00 pm, Eastern time), articles and resources I work on preparing for the library at the Brugh, as well as improvements for our monthly StarDial (our celestial calendar of events).
     Do you visit the Brugh of the Star River? Often or occasionally? Mark off your areas of interest as relates to archaeoastronomy, possible archaeoastronomy, ethnoastronomy, celestial legends, and the like.

Name Email

Neolithic Period Very Early Celtic Later Period Celtic

Current Astronomy Lunar Calendars / Coligny

Standing Stones Passage Graves Myths & Folklore


Ireland Scotland Wales Cornwall Brittany

Any Celtic Land Other European

Native American, North Native American, South

African/Egyptian Asian

Anything Else?

StarDial Questions:

Do you read/use it? Often Sometimes Never

Besides having it appear by the first of each month (ahem), what other changes or additions would you like to see?

I would like it to contain a list of prominent constellations and their locations during early night for any given month.

I have a strong urge to know about the non-visible planets -- ie, their involvements in conjunctions, occultations, etc.


      Little blue-painted men with hairy feet are poised to emerge from their underground pits, and invade the Brugh of the Star River. They may take over the message board at any time. The rest of the site is likely to be infested by summer's end. For those who need to know more about the Picts: they were inhabitants of Scotland whose various tribes ruled large portions of Scotland until the Scots, arriving from Ireland, wormed their way into power. The Picts, Scots and others intermarried to form the present-day Scottish peoples. Contrary to myth, the Picts weren't any smaller than other contemporary peoples in the British Isles. Come join us on the fifth Mondays of those months lucky enough to have fifth Mondays, to discuss Picts in IRC chat, at 9:00 pm, Eastern time. Our next chat is at the end of July. Our Pictish excursions will explore misconceptions, history, culture, theories, artifacts, Pictish symbol stones, and more. And no, absolutely nothing is known of their relationship to the stars. We can assume they had one, but such knowledge is Mystery.



From the Kitchen Witch
by Deborah, The Kitchen Witch Inn
Bright Summer Solstice Blessings to you all from the Kitchen Witch Inn! Below are some recipes that I hope you enjoy as much as we do on this brightest and longest day of our year.

Summer Solstice Kolache
These wonderful Sun Wheel Pastries come to us from our Czech cousins. Not only are these kolache a wonderful representation of the Summer Sun rising at Solstice, but they are sinfully delicious as well. If you want an even more 'sunny glow' to them, try adding just a drop or two of yellow food dye to the kolache part of the recipe, but I think they're just perfect as is. They are best eaten when still warm from the oven. And be advised that since these do not have industrial preservatives in them, they don't keep eat up!

Kolache Ingredients:
3­1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
3/4cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
Apricot Filling Ingredients:
1 cup snipped dried apricots
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

Instructions for Kolache
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour and the yeast.
2. In a saucepan, heat together milk, butter, granulated sugar, lemon peel and salt just until warm (115 ­ 120 degrees), stirring constantly.
3. Add to dry mixture in mixing bowl.
4. Add eggs.
5. Beat at low speed of electric mixer for 1 minute, scraping bowl constantly.
6. Beat 3 minutes at high speed.
7. By hand, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough.
8. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic (8 -10 minutes).
9. Shape into ball.
10. Place in greased bowl and turn once to grease surface.
11. Cover; let rise in warm place till double (1 to 1-1/2 hours).
12. Punch down; divide in half.
13. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
14. Shape each half into 9 balls.
15. Place balls, 3 inches apart on greased baking sheets.
16. With fingers, flatten each to about a 3 inch circle.
17. Cover; let rise till double (about 45 minutes).
18. Make a depression in the center of each ball.
19. Fill depression with Apricot Filling.
20. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
21. Remove from baking sheets; cool.
22. Dust lightly with powdered sugar.

Instructions for Apricot Filling
1. Mix 1 cup snipped dried apricots and enough water to come 1 inch above the apricots.
2. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes; drain.
3. Stir in granulated sugar, butter and nutmeg.

The Summer Sun is the official online publication of The Summerlands.
©2000, The Summerlands. All rights reserved.
Material presented herein may not be used or copied in any medium without the permission of the publisher and individual authors with bylines.