Flowers for the solstice

One of my ongoing issues with the Pagan concept of the wheel of the year is that it can focus a person’s sense of the seasonal down to eight key days. Outside, the cycle of the seasons is a process from day to day, and if you aren’t engaging with it day by day, you’ll miss things. That in turn can help perpetuate the simpler eight key points narrative because we don’t tend to see the things we aren’t looking for.

The demoiselle flies (smaller than dragonflies, but different from damselflies because they have dramatic black wings) tend to show up a few days before my birthday. A week ago there was a big hatching. A couple of days ago I saw my first dragonflies of the season. Most of the garlic has died back, most fledglings are now out of the nest, but there are still clutches of new ducklings hatching. That’s true where I live, for this year, but next year may be different.

This year I have particularly noticed the arrival of cranesbill flowers and meadowsweet. As there’s a lot of foliage growing, they were able to do all their leafy growth without my spotting them, but now the flowers are out, the plants are a distinctive presence. The purples of the cranesbill flowers, the misty clouds of fragrant meadowsweet. I didn’t have them in my head as a solstice flower, I don’t remember exactly when they appeared last year. I tend to think of meadowsweet as something that blooms later on, and perhaps it is. Many of the usual rhythms are being thrown out by climate change.

You have to catch a cranesbill just right to see why it has the name – the flowers themselves are nothing like cranes. It’s the forming flower bud, which, before opening, looks just like a head and beak. There an edge plant, so look for them in hedgerows, along shaded footpaths and at woodland edges.

More about cranesbill here –

And a lovely piece on meadowsweet here with herbal and mythical properties

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

8 responses to “Flowers for the solstice

  • angharadlois

    By synchronicity, I’m drinking meadowsweet tincture right now to try and ease the horrible stomach pains that messed up my solstice plans. It tastes lovely. I always think of it as a late summer flower – I particularly remember it flowering in August in West Wales – but it’s flowering here in the Pennines already.

  • Midwestern Plant Girl

    Both of these flowers are blooming in my garden right now. They are both lovely. Enjoy your upcoming birthday!

  • Heedful Moon

    It’s so good to notice these things. Our busy minds often miss so much!

  • Linda Davis

    I’ve noticed the elderflowers seem particularly fulsome this year. Blessings of the whole season.x

  • Sue Marsh

    And here in New Zealand we have just celebrated the Winter Solstice. And what an unusual one it is. My roses are on their 8th bloom of the year, the leaves on the trees are just now starting to drop and except for a few frosty nights and maybe a little bit more rain it is more like an Indian Summer. The vegetable garden is still thriving and because the weather is warmer so are the slugs and snails. I can share! There is plenty for all! I love the seasons so I am missing my winter a bit but next year will be different once again and I practice just going with the flow. Nimue, stay cool – our new is reporting that you are having record high temperatures. I thrive in cooler temperatures so I really feel for you.

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