The Summer Solstice
The Summer Solstice marks the high point of the year – the time when we have the longest day and the shortest night. It is the time when the tilt of the earth’s axis is most inclined towards the sun.
The Ancients saw this as the Sun pausing and thinking before changing direction and seemingly retreating - gradually making the days shorter, thus it was named Sol-stice - as the three days when the sun appeared to stand still. It is probably the oldest of humanity’s celebrations and certainly the earliest astronomical observation in the history of humanity.
Now, with all of our modern equipment, we are able to realize that it is not the Sun which moves, but the changing tilt of the earth’s axis which causes the differentiation in the amount of light.
The changed amount of sunlight has a profound effect on our earth and all upon it. Without Sun, the crops will not grow, food cannot be produced, and we lack the light and warmth we depend upon for survival.
Today, we almost do not notice the changing seasons – or perhaps only subtly, as we switch on the lights and turn on the air conditioner to bring the temperature back to a more moderate zone.
When we celebrate the Solstice, we are really acknowledging the importance of light - both actual and spiritual light. We know light is the highest vibration we can see with the human eye. It represents all that we value and hold dear. This is why we feel so in awe at the break of a new day – or when we watch a sunset.
Our word Luxury also means ‘light-filled’, referring to an item which is finely made and filled with light from the way it was crafted with love and care.
The Sun and light also represents consciousness. Think how often we use phrases like “throw some light on the subject”, “a light bulb moment”, “the light dawned” and suchlike.
These sayings all refer to us having greater awareness and consciousness.
Similarly, fire is also associated with the Solstice. If we think of the sun as a fiery ball in the heavens we will understand the use of fire to celebrate the Solstice, especially in ancient times. The Sun has an internal temperature of something like 15 million degrees Celsius, so the association with fire is a very real one!
When our Sun dies – burns up its supply of fuel - all life on our planet will cease to be.
No wonder the ancients became worried when the Sun appeared to decide to leave! No wonder they devised all manner of rituals and procedures to encourage it to return! They knew their life and indeed all life everywhere depended on it!
And for all the primitive, pagan beliefs, they were not far wrong!