A Solstice Special Guest - Kate Belew
The Word Witch
Special days deserve special editions, and this Signal Fire is no different. Today, I have a treat for all of you wonderful readers, and I couldn’t be more excited to give it to you. My dearest friend, my word witch, my spirit guide, the-often-imitated-but-never-duplicated-the-one-the-only Kate Belew is here to share her unbelievable insight, and magic, with all of us.
As Kate says, we met through the Witch Wide Web, and knew instantly that we’ve known each other a long, long, time. That rare kind of friendship that needs no prologue and just begins miles after the beginning. Kate is this wonderful blend of calming energy, fierce activism, mysterious magic, and empathy deeper than the sea. What a blend. More than all things, Kate teaches me constantly about the stunning interconnectedness of all things, the deep magic that lives inside everything that lives and grows, and how lucky we are to exist in a world filled with this knowledge. She shows up, time and again, and I’m lucky to call her friend. I urge you, dive into more of her work, sign up for her newsletter!, and at the bottom of her guest post, click on every single link in her bio, because everything she does is saturated with greatness. Now, onto her Solstice Signal Fire, what a treat you’re in for. Here we go:
Hello Signal Fire, Soon to be Friends,
My name is Kate Belew, a Poet, Witch, and friend of Tyler and Sarah’s, stopping by to wish you a Happy Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere. I am so grateful for their friendship, and to you, reader. I’m grateful that we get to spend this special, strange, moment of stillness together.
The Summer Solstice usually takes place between the 20th and 23rd of June, however, celestially speaking, it’s when the Sun moves into the sign of Cancer.
Summer Solstice goes by many names, depending on your own practice and where you are in the world. I know it by Midsummer or even Litha. What is constant though, is its consistency of celebration. Cultures all across the globe have marked time by this special day.
During the Summer Solstice the sun is at its peak. This is the fullest expression of daytime, which is why in so many places and rituals, the Summer Solstice is a festival of the sun and of fire. The word solstice itself comes from the Latin of sun standing still. During this celebration, the nights are short and the evenings are cast in a glow that can only be felt in this special time of the year.
Summer’s strangeness is something to celebrate.
Inspiration for Celebrating the Summer Solstice….
Build a bonfire (or light a candle if a bonfire isn’t accessible or welcome wherever you live!). Connecting with the element of fire during the Summer Solstice is a potent way to connect to your own inner fire. What is burning deep inside of you? Where do you cast your light and your shadow? And when are you at your fullest expression of brightness? Midsummer beckons to you to find out…
Dance a little dance. I’m a firm believer that dance is a beautiful way to stoke the inner fire and brightness. If you can, go dancing, dance in your yard, dance alone or with a loved one under the stars, dancing sitting or laying down, in your mind, or standing on your bed (anywhere! however!). When we dance, the Gods, Goddesses, God(etc.), are pleased.
Check in with yourself. Thich Nhat Hanh said that to stop and communicate with yourself is a revolutionary act. So, in the spirit of revolution, check-in with yourself. How are you feeling? What are you celebrating for yourself? What are you releasing to the metaphorical and spiritual fire that you don’t need to carry into the next season? Spend some time journaling or speaking into your notes app to take this ritual to the next level.
Lend your fire. We’re nothing if not our communities. What cause are you putting your good and just fire behind? How are you helping others? The Summer Solstice is like a wolf howling into the great beyond, we all may be individuals, but we need our pack. Lend your wildness to those around you. Love fiercely and whenever you can.
I send my own weekly newsletter, with writing prompts every Monday (you can learn more here), but today, I’ve been invited to craft one for you. These prompts are seven line frameworks. They create a scaffolding for you to build a poem within. Feel free to change, alter, or break this scaffolding. It is yours for whatever support you need. And, a reminder that there is no right way to do this! This week’s prompt is to help you connect with the energy of The Summer Solstice.
Title: “Fire that __________”
Line One: “Sun standing ________”
Line Two: “What waits ____________”
Line Three: “A mirror ___________”
Line Four: “Listening, ___________”
Line Five: “Heat of _____________”
Line Six: “Never _____________”
Line Seven: “Burning __________”
I wanted to share mine with you as an example!
Fire That Casts Its Glow Sun standing still I remember that what waits in the shadow is often a mirror. I hold my ear to the earth listening to the hum of earthworms and heat of my body, here on this planet never exactly the same. Here’s to eternal change burning the fire of myself in summer’s strangeness.
And Tyler took a turn as well…
Fire that crosses a sea of night Sun standing patient and still. What waits, frozen and staring at ice like a mirror, we, the shivering eyes and muffled ears, listening for a promise, for the heat of a tomorrow that was never promised, but hoped for with a burning that still, somehow, kept us warm.
Sending you love and magic, wherever you are. I’ll see you soon….
Now, turn on Free by Florence + the Machine and dance!
Kate Belew (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based Writer, Poet, Storyteller, and Witch from Michigan. Her work spans genres and spaces including poetry, immersive theatre, herbalism, witchcraft, and the psychedelic. She co-hosts Magick & Alchemy, a Tamed Wild podcast about mythology and witchcraft. Kate is the founder of The Bardo Writing School and is the co-creator of 13 Writing Spells with LoomBound. Kate often performs, collaborates, and teaches with The Poetry Society of New York. She has an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, she is a Green Witch apprentice to Robin Rose Bennett and studies astrology with Rebecca Gordon. Kate is a continual student of poetry and plants and loves her rescued Cattle Dog named Banjo. Learn more about Kate's work at katebelew.com, discover monthly writing rituals via Patreon, or on Instagram @k8belew.