Midsummer St John

Midsummer, St.John, Oberon and Titania, Wort Lore

Midsummer has been celebrated in Northern climes since the beginning of time. Today the Solstice is recognised but Old Midsummer was the 24th of June, St Johns day. Most of Europe celebrates this time of year in one way or another. St John’s fires can be seen on many a hill and wreaths cast into rivers and lakes. The night before is for feasting, drinking, celebrating, love making and fire jumping. A clear combination of Christian and Pagan traditions. In Britain Shakespeare’s play ‘ A Midsummer Night Eve’ is oft played outdoors and the famous Glastonbury festival takes place. 

At Fragrant Earth, the beautiful fragrances in the artisan Fey series suddenly became popular this year  of 21 Oberon and Titania led the way. The little book Fairies of the Hollow hills proved popular too as Smok the dragon roamed around the temenos https://www.fragrantearth.com/books/the-fairies-of-the-hollow-hills

For me though the moment is best seen and appreciated in the St. John’s wort which flowers at this time. The flower is not too concerned about dates, whether Julian or Gregorian calendar is used! A herbaceous perennial growing in many areas around the world with a very long history of herbal use. The bright yellow flowers have five petals and reflect the sun but has odd leaves which have tiny transparent dots. Hold a leaf up to the light to see the sun shine through.

Wort comes at the end of many herb common names. The word comes from Saxon ancestors and indicates a plant used for medicine or healing. The etymology probably takes us back to the word root. Uses are sometimes indicated, for example woundwort or Lungwort but Hypericum perforatum is named for St,John. Often picked at this time and dried and hung by lintel and frames for protection. It has always been a ceremonial and magical flower.

In Europe, this wort has been used in folk medicine for centuries to alleviate nervous disorders, hysteria, and so called insanity. In the late 20th century, St. John’s Wort was newly discovered (properly rediscovered) as a modern treatment for depression and even virus infections. 

Today, there are many commercial preparations available as standard oils, pills and tinctures or powdered extracts. Fragrant Earth offer the fabulous Red coloured macerated or solarised herbal oil and have been well known for promoting its benefits for the past 40 plus years. It’s a natural aromatherapists additional must have oil. There is a rare essential oil which sometimes can be found but very expensive and like similarly priced Melissa probably of less common use than the herbal oil.

St. John’s wort oil is anti-inflammatory and is very good for reducing muscular pain, particularly nerve pain. It also has some antibacterial properties making it beneficial to use on minor cuts, scrapes, and wounds. Supposedly it was a favourite healer of the Crusading Hospitallers.

So whether sciatica, arthritis, stings and bites, minor cuts and bruises, aches and pains St John’s Wort is a well tried remedy 

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