The following excerpt is reprinted with permission from "Kindling the Celtic Spirit: Ancient Traditions to Illuminate Your Life Throughout the Seasons," published by HarperSanFrancisco.

Summer Solstice is one of the three Spirit Nights of the Celtic year, the other two being Beltaine and Samhain. Faeries are abroad, easily visible to those whose sensitivities enable them to pierce the veil between the worlds. This is also the time for healers to cull magical and healing herbs: vervain, yarrow, stonecrop, mugwort and above all, St. John's wort, the golden, star-shaped flower called the `blessed plant' in Wales.

The following meditation takes you on a healing journey to meet Morgen le Fay, Queen of the British Faeries and the Lady of the Lake who appears in Arthurian tales.

* * *

Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and begin to relax... Let the breath carry you away to another place, another time, before the beginning of time.

You are standing at the edge of a shore looking over towards an island. It is nightfall, and above you a full moon is rising. All is so still in the dim purple air, and the sounds of the evening seem magnified .a night owl softly hooting from a neighboring wood .the liquid sound of the water lapping at your feet .... Moths flutter white in the purple twilight, and as you look over the water towards the island you see it is half-hidden by a mist, and the moon is shining through this mist creating a filmy veil of white around it.translucent, opalescent light that seems to come from another world.and now out of the swirling mist, comes something moving towards you. it is a small boat and it is gliding swiftly but smoothly to the shore, and yet there is no-one aboard. It seems steered by some magic will of its own.

You gaze in fascination as the boat approaches the very place where you stand at the shoreline edge, and you know, as it comes to rest, bobbing gently on the water, that it has come for you. You step lightly into the boat and sit in the center of the wooden bench, feeling it rock a little, and then it steadies, turns and glides away from the shore, carrying you smoothly into the misty regions of the island.

At first the night breeze lifts your hair, but as you enter the mist, a cold dew surrounds you and you can no longer see. You must trust that the little boat knows where it is taking you, trust the passage into the unknown.and now the mist begins to lift a little and then rolls back fully like a curtain, to unveil the shore of the island under the full moon. A woman is standing there waiting for the boat to bring you to land.She is tall and straight, dressed in dark blue robes, and the little boat takes you to where she waits.

As you approach the woman, she is silent and does not move. Her face is half-veiled but you can see kind, wise eyes beneath the veil, and she extends her hand in welcome. Then without a word she motions you to follow her. She leads you though orchards of apple-trees that bear ripe fruit and blossoms at the same time, all silvered by the moon. As you reach the center of the island, you see a low stone building, the temple at the heart of the island.

She leads you through a small doorway hung with a curtain made of tiny crystal beads.inside, a dim amber light reveals bunches of herbs and flowers hung up to dry on wooden beams. The lady ushers you to a long low pallet made of straw and heather and you lie down upon it. Beside it is a small copper brazier in which is burning a gold and blue flame.Although she does not appear to speak, you sense she is asking you to let her know where in your body, mind or spirit you need most to heal. And you ponder this for a few moments . and let her know.

She picks up a large shallow wicker basket and takes from it certain things: sprigs of herbs, roots, glittering stones .maybe some other things.and she lays them on your body where they most need to go, maybe where you have told her there is a problem, maybe other places besides .notice where she places them. .The scent of the herbs.the warm glow of the flame .are very soothing after the cold boat ride, and you feel yourself drowsily drifting into a half-sleep state, while the lady takes a stringed instrument and begins to play.every now and then stopping to throw a handful of powdered herbs onto the fire, which sparkle for a few moments and fill the air with a sweet heavy fragrance .and the herbs lull you into a dreamy state, and you half-wonder if you hear the Lady singing .and time no longer exists .and you drift away feeling very sweet and peaceful.

And after what may have been a short time or a long time or no time at all, you surface into wakefulness, spiraling up slowly as if through water. The eyes of the lady are smiling down at you, and she bids you rise. The fire is low and a little breeze is now entering in through the low door making the curtain stir. She leads you outside, and you are aware of feeling lighter, better than before, as if there has been a shift within the matrix of your being . a healing has taken place.the first rays of the sun are gilding the apple-trees, turning the apples to pure gold. She takes you back to the edge of the shore where the little boat is still waiting for you.

You thank the lady with all your heart and bid her a fond farewell .then you get into the boat, and when you have found your balance on the seat, it begins to glide away.

As it turns away from the island, you look back and wave, but she is no longer there, and then the mist is all about you and you can see no more until you emerge on the other side.and now you are gliding along the golden path of the morning sun on the water and after a while, you find yourself deposited at the edge of the mainland once again. You step out and the little boat glides away once more back to the island. You take several deep breaths, and with each breath you take, become a little more aware that your body is lying on these cushions, in this room, in this time and place. You surface up to waking consciousness and open your eyes, feeling wide-awake.

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