The summer solstice has connections with pagan faiths, ancient religions and metaphysical interpretations. Our ancestors celebrated it with fire and probably tons of beer! Celebrating the longest day and shortest night of the year isn’t very common anymore, but there isn’t any reason to avoid bringing it back. I enjoy celebrating the changes that accompany our mother earth.
2017’s Summer Solstice (Midsummer, Litha, St Johns Day…) is on Wednesday, June 21.
Unless of course, if you’re located in the southern hemisphere, then you would be experiencing Midwinter. 🙂
In many pagan faiths Litha is celebrated and recognized for being the complete opposite of Yule. It’s a day to celebrate the Sun Gods greatest day of strength. It overcomes the night whereas in the winter, Yule, the Moon Goddess has her day of greatest strength.
In modern day society there aren’t too many religions left celebrating the day of longest sunlight, but if you look into our ancestral past you will see that many religions over the decades worshipped the sun, especially on this day.
In the ancient Berber mythology of Africa a popular sun deity, also known as a solar deity, was Magec who was believed to be the mother or father (gender is unknown) of brightness. Magec was believed to possess radiance.
In Australian Aboriginal mythology Wuriupranili was a traveling Goddess whose torch was the sun.
Arabian Mythology included Malakbel. The Aztecs had Tonatiuh, god of the sun and ruler of the heavens. Buddhist text includes a deity Surya, the deity of the sun (Suriya Pariththa, Suthra Pitaka, Pali canon, Theravada Buddhism). The Celts had a large variety of solar deities, but one of the most well known is Áine, Irish goddess of love, summer, wealth and sovereignty, associated with the sun and midsummer. Ra, god of the sun in the Egyptian pantheon is widely known as well. Apollo, Olympian god of light, the sun, prophecy, healing, plague, archery, music and poetry, is well known in the Greek pantheon.
I could list for days all the solar deities if I had to, but long story short, somewhere in our blood lines our ancestors celebrated this day. It meant that the days were going to start to get shorter and lead us towards Yule. It is a time to truly get things together because when winter comes it will be much harder to work through the elements.
The summer solstice was converted into a Christian religion after a period of time (I couldn’t find an exact date on my search – if anyone knows it please feel free to share below). John the Baptists birthday crossed with the summer solstice apparently. So, the Christians turned it into St Johns Day so that converted pagans could still celebrate the summer solstice under the protection of their new found faith with their Lord Jesus Christ.
To this day there are Nordic Midsummer celebrations. Women wear white dresses, men wear light colored clothing, people wear rings of flowers in their hair and dance cheerfully around a pole decorated with greenery and flora. In ancient times they would sacrifice an animal and live for the day. Literally, because after that day they would start losing sunlight. As the sun sets they will light a giant bonfire to scare away the demons that are attracted to the depths of darkness. They drink, dance cheerfully and sing around the bonfire saying goodbye to their solar deity.
I will most likely be spending this day sitting around our decently sized fireplace in the yard and potentially having myself a drink to say goodbye to the long days. It will be my humble nod to those of my past who celebrated shamelessly knowing there would be many days full of hard work ahead.
Even if you have no plans for this day, take a few moments to enjoy the sunlight wherever you may be and that night, take a step outside and observe the waning crescent moon. A few days after the moon will be New, meaning it will be completely dark and won’t be visible to our eyes.
I like to think that maybe its natures way of reminding us to live for the day, celebrate the things we have (sunlight in this instance) because they don’t last that great forever. Take a moment to BE IN the moment. Take a second to say thank you to whatever higher power you beleive in. Stop and smell the flowers in the garden department when you’re picking up groceries. Cross your legs, rest your palms and clear your mind, even if its just 2 minutes.
The year is flying by quickly and there are so many changes happening around us so quickly. I wish for you all to have a beautiful Midsummer night.
Love & Light,
Wanderlust & Smoke