Happy summer solstice!

TWH – For many people around the world, this week marks 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 astrological date for this year’s solstice is June 21 at 6:07 a.m. Eastern time. In honor of the abundance of daylight and sunshine, communities have long used bonfires, music, dancing, and outdoor festivals as traditional features of both religious rituals and secular celebrations. In some modern Pagan practices, it is believed that this holiday represents the highest ascendancy of masculine divinity. At the same time, our friends in the Southern Hemisphere are experiencing the exact opposite.

Pagan Community Notes: Masterpiece Cake ruling, Phyllis Curott honored, OBOD changes hands, and more

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court of the United States delivered their opinion Monday, June 4 on the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. Justice Kennedy delivered that opinion, which holds that the “Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s actions in assessing a cake shop owner’s reasons for declining to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding celebration violated the free exercise clause.” This overturned previous court rulings. The vote was seven to two, with justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor filing a dissenting opinion. The ruling suggests that the commission did not uphold neutrality when dealing with the baker’s conscious-based objections, stating there was a notable bias expressed against the baker’s religious beliefs.

Pagan Community Notes: Circle Sanctuary, solstice and appropriation, April Cotte and more

BARNEVELD, Wis. — Circle Sanctuary has officially “been accepted as a religious endorsing organization member of two important national chaplaincy groups: the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) and the Coalition on Ministry in Specialized Settings (COMISS) network. At a Jan. 7 annual meeting, COMISS officials announced that Circle Sanctuary had been accepted into its network, joining another Pagan organization: the Sacred Congregation. One day later, Circle got word that it had been also been accepted by APC, as the first Pagan organization in that roster.

Column: Sweat, Tears or the Sea

Welcome to the other side of the solstice: light is waning but abundant, still at its strongest and letting us stare deep and long into the world and into ourselves. This solstice is the triumph of life to its fullest, heralding the certainty of harvest in a moment of lavish light. In my family’s traditions, midsummer meant a bonfire: the Bonfires of St. John. But not just a fire anywhere, a bonfire at the beach.