“The sun shines not on us but in us.” – John Muir
Today is the celebration of the Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer, or Litha. It is at this time that the Northern Hemisphere is tilted closest to the sun (the opposite being true for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere who are celebrating the Winter Solstice). It is a time of fertility and celebration: bonfires, maypoles, dancing, and outdoor festivals have been traditional during this time for most of human history. In some modern Pagan faiths it is believed that this holiday represents the highest ascendancy of masculine divinity.
Here are some recent quotes on this day from the press, along with some words from those who celebrate the Summer Solstice as a holiday.
“One of the largest solstice celebrations in the world, though, takes place at Stonehenge, where thousands gather each year to bring in the summer season. While for many the event is an excuse to party in the lead up to the Glastonbury Festival, there is also a strong contingent of pagans and neo-druids who treat the day like the ultimate marriage ceremony. ‘All druid rituals have an element of fertility, and the solstice is no exception,’ says King Arthur Pendragon, a senior archdruid. ‘We celebrate the union of the male and female deities — the sun and the Earth — on the longest day of the year.'” – CNN, “Summer solstice: It’s all about sex”
“Selina Rifkin of Trumbull is executive assistant to the director of Cherry Hill Seminary, a national non-profit that offers online training in Pagan ministry. Rifkin is in a syncretic tradition —a mixture of beliefs — called the Sanctuary of Tellus, after a Roman earth goddess. She said she was still undecided how she might mark the solstice, perhaps with kindreds — friends in one of the northern traditions — with a blot, a ritual that honors the gods in part by offering mead, consumed or poured as a libation.” – The Hartford Courant, “Longest Day Of The Year Carries Special Significance For State’s Pagans”
“All things on earth require the light of the sun. Even those things that need the safe sheltering of darkness are nourished by things that rise toward heat and light. We can care for the parts that need gestation, and allow these things to rest in the shade, sleep in the night, or burrow in deep earth. We can shine a light of gentleness or challenge upon those things that have stayed in darkness for too long.” – T. Thorn Coyle, “A Solstice Prayer: Let us Shine Light”
“The summer solstice, 21 June, is one of the most important dates in the calendar for many followers of ancient religions, and it’s a special time for people in Greece who worship the country’s pre-Christian gods. [...] the Prometheia festival, which celebrates the ancient Greek hero Prometheus, who helped humans by stealing fire from the gods.” – PRI’s The World, “The Greeks who worship the ancient gods.”
“The summer solstice—also called midsummer—has long been recognized and often celebrated by many cultures around the world. The ancient Egyptians, for example, built the Great Pyramids so that the sun, when viewed from the Sphinx, sets precisely between two of the pyramids on the summer solstice.” – National Geographic, Summer Solstice 2013: Why It’s the First Day of Summer
A blessed Midsummer to you all!