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Colours for the Summer Solstice

Colours for the Summer Solstice

Location: Lower Leas Coastal Park

Date: June 1st 2023

Written by: Michael (Walk Leader)

Welcome to Lower Leas Coastal Park, it’s June the 1st, the sun is out, the sky is blue, it’s still a little cool but today within our group, we are aiming to bring the colour, the passion, the romance and the celebration of midsummer to this beautiful sea facing Oasis.

It couldn’t start much more colourful as from the moment we enter the gardens we are welcomed by a display of many colours, it was red and yellow and… far more than the 29 colours in the amazing technicolored dream coat, (can you name the other 27 in order?) worn by Joseph in the Andrew Lloyd Webber song from the musical of the same name.

Flowers to delight included Alliums, Gladioli and Iris, before we had barely got going. We spent 10 minutes mindfully interacting, touching, tasting, smelling, photographing and mindfully considering just how beautiful the colours of summer are.

We were a set a challenge to chose a colour and to focus on that colour throughout our meeting together and each time we spotted or saw something in our chosen colour of gold, green, orange, red, white, yellow or purple to think of something that we could celebrate this summer. Before reading on, chose your colour and at the end of the article it will mention the symbolism of your choice.

Alliums are a favourite with butterflies and bees, and although we love seeing these beautiful insects, and we did spot a few, maybe it was not quite warm enough for them to come out and say hello today, but otherwise concerning that the number of bees we are seeing this year has been fewer than in previous years.

Alliums are truly beautiful and made up of hundreds of tiny flower heads, we didn’t have long enough to count them but next time you have an hour or two to spare, this would be a very relaxing thing to do.

For some fun facts about alliums, here is a page to view.

This seems like a very good point to talk about Midsummer and its traditions that have been celebrated by many countries since before the days of Joseph in early Old Testament times. Perhaps, the word midsummer is actually a little bit misleading because in most early traditions, it was the celebrated as the first day of summer and known as Litha.

The Celts celebrated Litha with hilltop bonfires and dancing. They were dressed as colourfully as they could, often adorned with petals from flowers or plants. Many people attempted to jump over or through the bonfires for good luck. I could not find any accounts if they all survived, but we probably don’t need to know.

Other European traditions included setting large wheels on fire, and rolling them down a hill into a body of water.

There are thousands of stories to be told about midsummer tradition and folklore and about the many areas of nature we can celebrate the whole summer long, what is very apparent is that our ancestors respected nature, were at one with their environment and celebrated with colour, zest, and passion for all seasons.

Our time together is often spent trying to, and quite often we succeed in identifying the ever changing plants, trees and flowers that grow within the coastal park. Over the past couple of visits we have been monitoring one that brings me a lot of joy when I come across it.

It is very prickly as some of our members got to have a personal experience of and grows to about 5 foot in height and in diameter, it was only about 1 foot high last month but today it was fully grown and it’s first brightly lilac coloured thistles were just appearing, but this is no ordinary thistle, this is the milk thistle, and it’s easily identified because of its white veined leaves.

Milk thistle is thought to have many health benefits, is said to be a cure for hangovers and in supplement form can be purchased within health food stores. It’s seeds can also be purchased and are used in baking recipes or smoothies.

The milk thistle has an interesting legend to explain its name according to a tale that the Virgin Mary encountered a cow.

She was feeling very thirsty and so she moulded the leaf of a thistle into a cup and milked the cow.

Having drunk her milk, Mary ordained that the plant would be forever marked in remembrance for its help. It is why it is also known as the holy thistle.

More about this beautiful plant and a smoothie recipe, plus lots of information on other wild edibles can be found from another of my favourite websites.

For more stories about Litha and things we can look out for this summer, then I recommend this site and this page.


Our times in the coastal park are always special, this is a magical park, where we can interact with our surroundings, take some time out to listen to the sound of blackbirds, robins, wrens and other birds and the enchanting waves as they ebb andflow. It’s a place to gather our thoughts, to learn new things together, to share stories, to unburden and to heal and if you want to experience this for yourself, then you’d be most welcome.

Time to reveal what those colours represent within us,  as given to us by our most ancient but wisest of ancestors.

Gold: A person with wisdom, passion, energy and a strength to succeed and prosper in good times and bad.

Green: A person who is calming, who welcomes and supports new beginnings that lead to prosperity, abundance, high fertility and growth.

Orange: A person who exudes positivity, optimism and energy, someone who is creative, adaptable, courageous, a good communicator who will bring success to those in their presence.

Yellow: A person who is a provider of happiness, someone with good communication skills who is creative, who loves to learn and impart knowledge, an empath, a protector, the go to friend

Red: A strong willed person, with plenty of courage, creativity, energy, fire, passion, a hot and lusty lover but also the one more likely to fuel the fire with anger.

White: A peaceful, cleansing and healing person, who seeks to bring protection, peace and truth into those they come into contact with.

Purple: The person who has all the traits of the colour white, but also someone who exudes abundance and is a confident and powerful leader. You would feel at ease in a royal setting.

Litha or Midsummers Day this year is on Saturday 24th June, so go on, chose your colours for the summer and go celebrate them and have some fun in nature.

📸 Image Credits to Michael Harden and Tony Dimmer


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