Happy Summer Solstice to You

22 06 2010

Today is Summer Solstice 2010, the first day of summer. Solstice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning “sun” + “to stand still.” As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky. Today is known to be the longest day of the year when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. As a major celestial event, the Northern Hemisphere celebrates in June, but the people on the Southern half of the earth have their longest summer day in December. The Summer Solstice is also referred to as “Midsummer” during Shakespearian times and in his works because it is roughly the middle of the growing season throughout much of Europe.

Awed by the great power of the sun, civilizations have for centuries celebrated the Summer Solstice. The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun’s energy.  The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.  The Druids’ celebrated the day as the “wedding of Heaven and Earth”.  Today, the day is still celebrated around the world – most notably in England at  Stonehenge where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice. Pagan spirit gatherings or festivals are also common in June, when groups assemble to light a sacred fire, and stay up all night to welcome the dawn. Following the birth of a White Buffalo Calf in 1994, the Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe for the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Nations, Arvol Looking Horse, was directed to honor the Four Directions with ceremony on June 21st. According to Lakota Star Knowledge, the birth of Miracle, a female white buffalo, signaled a time of earth changes and the coming of the mending of the Hoop of All Nations. The Summer Solstice is said to be a powerful time to pray for peace and harmony among all Living Beings. People around the world have observed spiritual and religious seasonal days of celebration during the month of June. Most have been religious holy days which are linked in some way to the summer solstice.

The seasons of the year are caused by the 23.5° tilt of the earth’s axis. Because the earth is rotating like a top or gyroscope, the North Pole points in a fixed direction continuously — towards a point in space near the North Star. But the earth is also revolving around the sun. During half of the year, the southern hemisphere is more exposed to the sun than is the northern hemisphere. During the rest of the year, the reverse is true. At noontime in the Northern Hemisphere the sun appears high in the sky during summertime, and low during winter. The time of the year when the sun reaches its maximum elevation occurs on the summer solstice — the day with the greatest number of daylight hours. It typically occurs on, or within a day or two of, June 21st, the first day of summer. The lowest elevation occurs about December 21st and is the Winter Solstice, the first day of winter, when the night time hours reach their maximum.

Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires, when couples would leap through the flames, believing their crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump. Midsummer was thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear. To thwart them, Pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers. For some people, religious diversity is a positive factor. They enjoy the variety of June celebrations, because it is evidence of wide range of beliefs. Others reject all celebrations other than the holy days recognized by their own religion. Some even reject traditional holy days if they are convinced that they have Pagan origins. Historically, the Christian settlers of the New Americas wanted to sway those with other beliefs to follow theirs and bribed them by changing Pagan Days of Celebration to Holy Day of recognition as one of the ways they used to persuade them.

Astrologically, the June Solstice marks the entry of the Sun into the Cardinal, Water Sign of Cancer.  The Tropic of Cancer (23°N26′) is the actual degree of latitude over which the Sun stops in its journey north, and then turns, having gone as far north as it is going to each year. Cancer is ruled by the Moon and Midsummer celebrates the elemental powers of fire and water, so people would light fires and bathe in the dew on the morning of Midsummer’s Day – as indeed they still do in many parts of the world.

For me, this marks a time of great memories growing up in a sun bathed small town with beaches kissing the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.  Chasing boys from the Catholic School Summer Camp nearby, going to fairs for cotton candy and dangerous rides built overnight by traveling carnies, sun bathing with a cancerous concoction of baby oil and iodine, syrupy sweet snowballs, and fun.  Even though I’m and adult and my days of school letting out for summer are long gone I still get that warm and fuzzy feeling inside when this day arrives.

This summer is going to be hotter than usual for us folks on the coast.  I would say there’s a bit of truth to global warming since it seems our summers have been getting hotter and hotter with each year that passes, but our winters have been surprisingly colder too.  I suppose the world is changing after all, just as I had to go and grow up.  But, being grown up hasn’t stopped me from getting that warm and fuzzy feeling… and it also hasn’t stopped me from using that cancerous tanning concoction I love so much.  But, it has stopped me from riding those dangerous rides built over night by carnies (I do have my standards).

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18 responses

22 06 2010
uncle jailbird

summers are much too hot. the yukon sounds nice this time of year.

22 06 2010
suzrocks

Amen to that, Unc! Be sure to check out my myspace blog too, I posted some great summer tunes 🙂

22 06 2010
Rory

Very informative Suz and I like the way you put your personal tidbits in with the info as well. I like summer barbque’s and the sunsets along the beaches in summer. However I have sunburned a couple of times believe it or not so I can do without that. Well put together here my friend.

Rory

22 06 2010
suzrocks

I love all things summer. I can stand the heat pretty well and it takes a lot for me to sunburn… I’m lucky that way 🙂 Always good to see you here Rory!

22 06 2010
Abe's Blog

Oh, I love summer! A couple of years ago I landed in the hospital with a heart attack scare. Ever since then, I have really enjoyed the heat. Don’t know why!

22 06 2010
suzrocks

That is very odd, Abe… but you’re an odd guy… which is why I love you so. Are you still getting notifications when I blog? I am not getting them for yours but I keep subscribing???

22 06 2010
Abe's Blog

Yep, I still get your notifications in my email. But I also use the Follow This Blog option and then I can see you when I use Blog Surfer.

23 06 2010
suzrocks

You’ve told me about this option before, but I can’t find it???

24 06 2010
Abe's Blog

At the top of the page, you have a bar with your own options on it. Click on the one that says “Blog Options”, then select “follow this Blog”.
To see the blogs you are following, go to Dashboard, then Blog Surfer.

22 06 2010
Jeff

You must be getting my global warming. It was 68 degrees yesterday, and about the same today. I believe cities in Alaska are having warmer weather than we are in the PacNW. It will warm up in July and August. Meanwhile, we wait in the rain for summer to come.

22 06 2010
suzrocks

Meanwhile, we could use some rain. When I come home from work and walk past my plants I can hear them sizzling… or either hissing at me due to not watering them, lol

22 06 2010
Richardttu

A nice discussion about the solstice and the tilt and revolutions of the earth (you did miss the wobble though). This summer and next couple will seem very hot, as we are nearing the period of solar maximum (which is on a roughly 11 year cycle). which should hit around 2013. The last solar maximum was in 2001, which was one of the hottest summers on record in Dallas.

Have a Happy Summer!!!

22 06 2010
suzrocks

OMG! You mean it’s only gonna get hotter? Yikes. I did see the wobble in my research to write this, but I try not to take up too much space because I know people get bored quickly…lol

24 06 2010
Drew

Interesting I did not know all that about this day. Summer does have a similar meaning to me. I miss those days gone by. Hell I wish we had met when I was in the Bay every summer for a month, but then again you would have just been a little girl to me, being 8 year younger than me. So I am sure I wouldn’t have wanted to hang out anyway. haha….

25 06 2010
suzrocks

I dunno, most of my friends are older than me… always. Once I was “of age” I’m sure it woulda been cool. I didn’t realize you were 8 years older than me. I thought we were the same age??

25 06 2010
Drew

Well how old are you again? haha…. I just turned 44 in April…. don’t look like it huh? Well once you were of age…. hell yeah, except by then I didn’t come to town as much, having a full time job and a social life. But no doubt it would have been bad ass to meet you at that age. 😉

27 06 2010
suzrocks

I’ll be 38 soon…too soon, lol. But yeah, that makes you younger than the majority of my friends, my dear.

27 06 2010
suzrocks

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