Today is the longest day of the year – the Summer Solstice. Although the hottest days of summer are still ahead of us (ugh), from today onward, the days will grow shorter until the arrival of the Winter Solstice in December.
It is also the celebration of the fire festival, Litha. The day to recognize the protective, healing, empowering, revitalizing, and inspiring power of the sun. In days long past, people would light bonfires to honor the Sun God and Earth Mother. Farmers would ask for blessings on their cattle and crops. The Earth Mother, who represents the earth, is pregnant with the crops that will ripen and bring life to the people. The Sun God nurtures the crops while they grow.
At noon today, light a candle – fire represents the sun – to bring light to any dark places. Enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. Make a bouquet of mugwort, rose, honeysuckle, lilies, lavender, ivy, yarrow, fern, daisies and set them inside where you can enjoy their beauty.
During this time, it is was also believed that fairies, elves, and sprites come out and play amongst the humans.
So, tonight set out a small bowl of milk and some berries to welcome them to your garden. Doesn’t hurt. Weirder things happen, you know.
So, Did You Know?
The term "solstice" is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because the Sun's relative position in the sky at noon does not appear to change much during the solstice and its surrounding days.
In Paganism and Wicca, the solstice is celebrated with a festival known as Litha. In ancient Europe, the festival involved rolling giant wheels lit on fire into bodies of water to symbolize the balance between fire and water.
Each year on the summer solstice, the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks celebrate their status as the most northerly baseball team on the planet with a game that starts at 10:00 p.m. and stretches well into the following morning—without the need for artificial light—known as the Midnight Sun Game. The tradition originated in 1906 and was taken over by the Goldpanners in their first year of existence, 1960.
Legend has it that it was on the summer solstice in 1633 that Galileo was forced to recant his declaration that the Earth revolves around the Sun; even with doing so, he still spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
Some people confuse the solstice with an equinox however an equinox occurs when day of night are of equal length and the sun is directly above the equator, which occurs twice each year and marks the beginning of spring and fall.
Although summer solstice marks the beginning of summer, for us, it is not the hottest time of the year. The hottest temperatures usually occur in late July and August. (double ugh)
One more, then I’m done . . . .
On Uranus, each summer solstice lasts for 42 years. This also means that each winter solstice lasts the same amount of time.
21 Jun 2019