For those who live in the Northern Hemisphere –
In 2007, summer begins June 21, 2:06 P.M. EDT (18:06 UT)
Let the light shine!
During the summer solstice the sun sits highest in the sky. This is the longest day of the year and the beginning of the summer season.
We feel the solar energy pouring down upon the Earth, vitalizing and strengthening us. Even as we revel in the light we prepare for the next season of growth, the return of the dark, as we now move towards winter Solstice.
Druids celebrated the Summer Solstice as the wedding of Heaven and Earth. The Goddess manifests as Mother Earth and God as Sun King. Many traditions throughout time have celebrated the Solstices, Ancient Egypt, and Aztecs of Mexico, Chinese, Chumash Indians of California, Indigenous Europeans. In present time you will find the Solstices celebrated by neo-pagan, Western Mystery tradition, Wiccan, Native American and the Catholic tradition as the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.
Bonfires were lit to celebrate the Sun at its height of power and to ask the Sun not to withdraw into winter darkness. Midsummer Eve festivals in the countryside of Cornwall, England would have firelight shinning from every hill and peak. Bright bonfires with dancers adorned in garlands and flowers and young men jumping through the tall flames. This ancient Cornwall Summer Bonfire tradition has been revived during the 1920’s and is still a popular festival.
The spiral is a symbol associated with the Solstices. Ancient dances would follow the Sun’s movement like a spiral, people joined hands weaving through the streets, winding into a decreasing spiral into the middle then unwinding back out again. The Sun moving from contraction at the center of the spiral at winter solstice to expansion at Summer Solstice and back again.
Midsummer’s Eve is one of the three spirit nights of the year, when the veils are thin between the worlds. The others are Beltaine (May Day) and Samhain (October, Celtic New Year). At the great stone circle, Stonehenge, England, the sun rises over the heel stone. Only one heel stone stands now, though there is consideration that there was another heel stone, the sun would rise between the two pillars. There are many stone sites in the world that are aligned to the Sun’s yearly travel.
The Summer Solstice is a time to reflect on the growth of the season. Seeds planted in the Earth as well as are own seeds of our souls. A time of cleansing and renewal. A time of joyous Love and growth.
Some ways to celebrate Summer Solstice:
Gathering of magical plants and healing herbs, as they are at their most potent. Five common Celtic sacred plants associated with Midsummer are St. John’s Wort, Vervain, Yarrow, Fern, and Mugwort.
Gather with others creating a festival of common sharing and service.
Keep a sacred fire burning.
Burn your winter Yule wreath at the summer bonfire.
Exchange songs, stories, and poems with others.
Make an agreement of something that you will do to improve life, bring light and love into this world in your own creative way and begin to carry it out.
Brown earth lay blanketed beneath
the weight of white snow
People hold within their heart
the promise of light
Light that overcomes the night
That burns a hole
all the way to the hot dry summer fields
The hope that the light holds in winter
becomes in summer
the knowing of the sun’s pathway back again
We poise on the edge of these great turnings
Balanced night and day
Ah for a moment
By: Cheryl Ban © 1998