“Green was the silence, wet was the light, the month of June trembled like a butterfly”. – Pablo Neruda
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.
“To the ancients, the mighty combusting ball appeared to stand still in the sky, unmoving, burning at its zenith. Filled with light. What will you stand for, unwavering? For what will you burn brightly, lighting up the sky? Tomorrow is another chance to share, to love, and to show that we are willing. We each need to find our way. Then we need to stand together, and find some ways to sing.” – T. Thorn Coyle, “Beautiful, Radiant Things”
“According to George Thomson, priest of the Wiccan Church of Canada’s (WCC) Temple in Hamilton, Ont., today’s Wiccans celebrate in similar ways to their ancient counterparts, in some respects. “The festivals go back to agrarian times when people were dependent on the land to sustain all their needs,” he says. “So they would feast on the newly harvested grains and meat from first cows slaughtered.” Likewise, at celebrations Thomson will attend on the solstice this year there will be a circle, a ritual and feasting on foods appropriate to the season, such as berries, bread, grilled meat and fruit wine.” – Jill Ellis, London Free Press
“Altogether, Midsummer is a favorite holiday for many Witches in that it is so hospitable to outdoor celebrations. The warm summer night seems to invite it. And if the celebrants are not, in fact, skyclad, then you may be fairly certain that the long ritual robes of winter have yielded place to short, tunic-style apparel. As with the longer gowns, tradition dictates that one should wear nothing underneath—the next best thing to skyclad, to be sure.” – Mike Nichols, The Witches’ Sabbats
A blessed Midsummer to you all!
* Technically speaking, the 2012 Summer Solstice occurs at 23:09 on June 20th. Please check your local time-zone for accurate Solstice timing.