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Customs of Midsummer

England has an ancient custom of lighting large bonfires after sundown on St Johns Eve, that also served a duel purpose of providing light, and warding off evil spirits. This was known as setting the watch. They would often jump through the fires for good luck. They would also line the streets up with lanterns, and the people would carry cressents, which were pivoted lanterns on top of poles. They would carry these cressets while they wondered from fire to fire. These people were called the marching watch. Often the were attended by morris dancers, along with traditional players that were dressed up as unicorns, dragons, and six hobby horse riders. The Midsummers Eve was a time to ward the boundary of the city. There are many differant customs for the St Johns Eve. Some young people might plan to stay up the whole night, Some very courageous people might try to spend the night keeping a watch over the center of a circle of standing stones, but to do so could bring about death, madness, or what their tring for which is the power of inspiration to become a great poet or bard. This was also the night when the serpants of the island would roll up into a hissing writhing ball so they could engender the glain. This was also called the serpants egg, snake stone, or druids egg. A person that was in possesion of this hard glass bubble would be able to wield incredible magical powers. According to an ancient Welse story Merlyn with his black dog went in search of this. British Faery lore holds this night second only to Halloween for its importance to the wee folk. These wee folk enjoy ridling especially on this summers night. For one to be able to see them they would have to gather fern seed at the stroke of midnight, and rub it onto their eye lids. They would have to make sure to carry along with them a bit of rue in their pockets, so that they would not get pixie led, or failing the rue. You could also turn your jacket inside out and this would keep you from harms way, and if this were to fail you would have to seek out one of the ley lines or the old straight tracks, and stay on it until you've reached your destination. This should keep one safe from malevolent powers, as will crossing a stream of living. Decking ones house with birch, fennel, St Johns wort, orpin, and white lilies, especially over the threshold is yet anouther of the variety of customs for this sabbit. Midsummers eve in Spain is called the Night of the Verbena, and St Johns wort was honored by the young maidens who would pick it in the hopes of being able to divining a future lover.

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