Some more about old midsummer traditions.

Midsummers night was filled with magic and there were lots of ways to see the future if one wanted. Girls for instance could see their future husbands in their dreams if they picked seven or nine, depending on where they lived, wildflowers and put them beneath their pillow during that night. But it wasn’t just to pick them, it had to be done the right way. They should climb over seven (or nine depending on how many flowers they should pick) fences and weren’t allowed to speak during that time. When they were finished they had to go to bed so they could dream to whom they were going to be married, still no speaking allowed.


Even though we were out rather late this morning, not until 6 am, we did see some animals running away over the fields. Like this hare.


Valeriana. If You do it right You can make a mild sleeping drug from this.If You’re doing it wrong You’ll kill someone.


In their dream they should carefully look what their future husband would offer them to drink. If it was water their life would be a poor one, beer an average one but if they were offered wine or even better champagne they would have a life in great wealth.  If they could hear music in the background they were going to get a happy life but if it was quiet their life were going to be dull. Men could see how the crops would turn out by going, quiet of course, to their firlds before midnight. They should sit down by the fence and listen carefully. If they could hear scythes swiftly moving they would get great crops but if they could hear how the scythes hit stones it would be the other way.

This doe was looking at us for a while.


Suddenly a buck got scared and jumped up behind her. That scared her so she ran a short distance as well until she realized he was a fool 🙂


If someone would like to have the best teacher to learn how to play the violin they could ask the Water sprite, Näcken as we call him. There was only one big problem, the Water sprite had a tendency to drown everyone he taught 🙂  So if he agreed to to that and said that the apprentice should jump up on his shoulders to hear the sound from the violin as good as possible and then told him to tie himself to the water spirit so he shouldn’t fall in to the water and drown, he really shouldn’t. Because that meant that he was going to be dragged down into the water and be drowned by the water sprite 🙂




It could show useful to pick flowers this day and night even if one didn’t want to see the future spouse , since the flowers were picked on a specially magic night, this magic would stay in the flowers even if one dried them. So many men and women were out picking lots of flowers and herbs this night. They then dried them just as they were or made wreaths of them and placed them safe until they were needed. If someone got sick during the winter they just brought these flowers and put them on fire, the sick person then had to walk around in the smoke and they would be healthy already the next day.


Rosa glauca, my favorite wild rose in my garden.


Maidens blush, a rosa alba I think.


The morning dew was also very powerful this night. So if You wanted a big crop and wanted your neighbor to fail You simply took some sheets and dragged them on the neighbors fields. All the dew that was collected in the sheets was then supposed to be twisted out of the sheets in to ones own field. That year You would get a fantastic crop while the neighbor would fail. Life wasn’t especially easy back then to be honest. I told You yesterday that the Midsummer pole came to us around 1200, I have read several other dates after that so it isn’t sure at all that it came so early to us. But I know that before it arrived they used to dance around big bonfires instead. Not too wise during hot summers I guess 🙂


Clematis integrifolia, a non climbing clematis. It leans towards other higher and stronger plants and self sows a lot.


I’m pretty sure this is a white Camassia.


There’s lots more to tell You about our old folk lore and perhaps I’ll continue tomorrow, but now I’ll take a nap. Some animal fought for its life last night around 12. It sounded like a fox and the only thing attacking foxes are either bigger foxes or lynx’s. I like foxes so I made a lot of noise through the window and I guess what ever it was left the fox alone. But of course, this was a magic night so perhaps I interrupted two trolls 🙂


Bladder senna, Colutea arborescens.


Have a great day!


14 thoughts on “Some more about old midsummer traditions.

  1. troll that sure is a lot of rules for celebrating midsummer. i would need a nap after all that too! i wonder what a neighbor might do if they saw you dragging your sheets through their fields? it is not exactly a sneeky activity! what happens if you drag your sheets through the neighbors fields while they are dragging their sheets through yours? does that negate the outcome? no wonder people founf god! it seems so much easier than being a pagan!!!

    • Hi Joyce!
      It wasn’t easy 🙂 🙂 🙂 But this kept on way in to the twentieth century. I remember my grandmother telling me things they used to do. They may have found him but never really trusted him 🙂 🙂
      I was thinking just that about the neighbor, I think You could call it a draw :-)and everything went on like usual 🙂 But their fields were much more spread around the area so they might never have seen each other walking around in the middle of the night 🙂

      Have a great day!

  2. We hear the sounds of squirrels being eaten by raccoons in the middle of the night and it is unnerving. I had Valerian in my last garden and my old cat would lick the roots, he was a very mellow cat.

    • Hi Lois!
      Unpleasant sounds. The worst sound I know is when something kills a hare. It sounds, like my rather melodramatic mother would say, like a woman being stabbed in the back with a knife.

      No wonder he was mellow 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Have a great day!

  3. Curious old folklore. It is strange to us today to read some of these traditions, but I am sure people took them very seriously back then. I hope those trolls don’t get upset with you for interrupting them last night. What kind of flower can you put on your door to repel trolls?

    • Hi Robin!
      Yes they did take it deadly serious! Especially those things that cured illness.

      I’ll just have to keep my eyes open if I must get out into the night, trolls are tricky ones 🙂 But from what I know they love flowers, but they just can’t take steel. Lots of older houses has some kind of steel (like knifes, spoons and forks) placed beneath thresholds and windowsills. Trolls just can’t pass it so the chance of the trolls changing their babies with ours should be slim to nothing as long as the baby stayed indoors. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have several steel knifes placed around my 101 year old cottage.

      Have a great day!

  4. Hi Christer,
    Troll fight! Great. But not around midnight when I’m trying to sleep.
    The sounds at night around me are usually raccoons being either nasty or romantic toward each other. It doesn’t matter which because they both sound the same. Loud and vicious. And when something kills a rabbit, the rabbit makes a noise like a baby crying.

    I was thinking that if I were outside on midsummer night and heard scythes, my first thought would be that it was Death coming for me because I was dragging my sheets over the neighbors fields and not a prediction of how well my fields were going to do. 🙂

    When I was in massage school we had a class module in aromatherapy and we got to play with herbal things. I made tincture of Valerian that was mixed with skullcap (Scutillaria laterifolia?). It was fun writing Skullcap on the label which is probably why I couldn’t get anyone to use it so I don’t know if it worked. I made an echinacea/goldenseal tincture for fighting colds. I used that stuff myself and it worked fine but I think it had more to do with the fact that the tincture was done in Blue Skyy vodka. 😉

    The extreme heat has finally broken with some thunderstorms and passing showers. It was so hot inside my car that the glue holding my highway toll transponder to the windshield melted and the transponder fell off. Twice. Hope it still works. I’ll have to drive through a toll booth to see. It’s a good excuse to make an ice cream run.

    Enjoy the day.

    • Hi Caryn!
      I’m glad we don’t have raccoons 🙂 🙂 So a hare sounds a bit older, fits right since it is so much bigger 🙂 Nasty sound in which case!

      I think I would have been thinking like You there 🙂 It would serve me right if I made my neighbor get a bad harvest 🙂

      But doesn’t vodca also come from the plants 🙂 🙂 I’ve done some cold tinctures but I can’t say it worked especially good 🙂 But I sometimes put different herbs and worts in my tea to get rid of stomach ache and things like that. Sometimes the belief that it will work is the working thing in what ever we do 🙂

      I think we might have had our summer heat in early May this time 🙂 But statistically if May is warm and dry, June becomes wet and cold. And if June is wet and cold July tends to become hot and very dry. I don’t need very hot though 🙂 🙂 🙂
      ASny reason is a good reason to get ice cream 🙂

      Have a great day!

  5. Oj, oj, oj vad många dekokter på valeriana jag gjort i min ungdom! Hag jobbade faktiskt i 5 år på apotek innan gubben och jag startade vår firma och där var jag ansvarig för att göra dekokter samt sterilisera vissa saker. Har alltid gillat att greja i kök….*fniss*

    • Tjänare Susie!
      ja då vet du hur man skall göra 🙂 Har aldrig behövt pröva just valeriana, somnar som en gris direkt när jag lägger mig och sover ofta helt till nästa morgon, om inte det är en fight på liv och död ute förstås 🙂
      Men visst är det roligt att göra små dekokter ibland 🙂

      Ha det gott!

  6. Interesting history. I enjoy it but keep wondering it sounds more Pagan than Christian. We woke this morning to our feral cat Calicita bringing along for breakfast three new kittens. We didn’t even know she was pregnant or had delivered them about six weeks ago. Our surprise made for a wonderful welcoming even though they ran and hid in the bushes, they came back to eat like they were starving. We now have a Tuxedo kit and two gray ones. I’m a bit tired to do the trapping again so will wait until late September. Right now we’re trying to get pictures of them with Ann’s zoom lens. Not having much success but they love playing on the palm tree in the side yard. More Pagan history please.

    • Hi Z&M!
      It is definitely only pagan and nothing Christian 🙂 Even though we’ve been Christians for around a thousand years paganism never really left us.

      It’s so nice to read about how much these feral cats trust You! I love to watch kittens play and I can imagine how hungry they must be, feral cats do live a tough life. Up here they usually freeze to death during winter.

      Looking forward to see photographs of them 🙂

      Have a great day!

  7. That’s why I’m alone! I can’t keep my mouth shut and I definitely don’t want to climb over any fences! LOL!
    and in MY dream the guy who be asking ME for water. 🙂
    Love to hear the Pagan ways. Very interesting.
    Love the deer photo.
    (I do hope it was trolls!)

    • Hi Cindi!
      It is an awful lot of troubles really 🙂

      It is strange though that the church never really stopped this when they did put a lot of energy to do other stupid things to keep control over people. I mean, the Christian churches are known to be cruel and terrible rulers in this world. To be honest, most of them have been much worse than any pagans and I wouldn’t call especially many real Christians either to be honest.

      Since I do like foxes I too hope it was trolls 🙂

      Have a great day!

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