Summer Solstice June 10. 2010. The sun stands still at it’s highest point in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere. The word Solstice is derived from two Latin words, “sol” meaning sun and “sistre” meaning cause to stand still.
This astronomical event marks the first day of summer, sometimes referred to as midsummer; because it is mid growing season throughout much of Europe.
Summer Solstice is a major celestial event that results in the longest day and shortest night of the year.
Civilizations for centuries have celebrated the first day of summer, known as Summer Solstice, Midsummer, St John’s Day or Litha.
The worldwide celebration varies from culture to culture.
In ancient times many traditions celebrated solstices including Ancient Egypt, Aztecs, Chinese, Chumash Indians of California and Indigenous Europe.
The Celts and Slavs celebrated with dancing and bonfires. The Chinese mark the day by honoring Li, Chinese Goddess of Light. The Druid’s celebrated it as the ‘wedding of heaven and earth’ resulting in the present day belief of a ‘lucky’ wedding in June. Midsummer was thought to be a time of magic when evil spirits were said to appear, To thwart them, Pagan often wore protective garlands of herbs and flower…One of the most powerful was a plant called ‘chase-devil’ and know today as St Johns Wort.
Today the day is still celebrated around the world, most notable in England at Stonehenge, where thousands gather for the sunrise of Summer Solstice. In present times you will find solstices celebrated by neo-pagans, Western Mystery tradition, Wicca, Native American, American and Catholic tradition as the celebration of St. John the Baptist, the ‘burning and shining light’.
Whether or not you consider Summer Solstice a religious holiday; it is still a great time to celebrate the warmth of the sun and beauty of nature. Traditionally herbs are gathered and bonfires lit. It is a time to reflect on the growth of the season. Whether it is in your garden or your life. A time for cleansing and renewal. Soak in the solar energy that’s pouring down on the Earth and let it strengthen and revitalize your spirit. Reflect on what you want to do to improve your life and to foster love, prosperity and healing.
Above all it is a celebration of the fresh air and the Earth we live on. A time to gather with loved ones and feast, dance and enjoy the abundance of nature.