Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice

Hail and welcome all Pagans to this auspicious occasion! Called Litha by the Anglo-Saxon settlers to the British Isles, the Sun on June 21st or 22nd is above the horizon for the longest number of hours. With the climate in Britain, sometimes clouds cover the sky but the light is still noticeably there. The Druids name for this day is ‘Alban Hefin’ (Light of the Shore) and it’s astronomical and agricultural significance was of utmost importance to our Pagan ancestors who lived by the natural cycles. Our modern world with it’s harnessing of the power of electricity has brought us 24-hour light at any time of year, so it is very difficult to imagine what an awe-inspiring day this was for them. Mother Earth is in her fullest glory: greenery and flowers in staggering abundance, insects fill the air, animals and birds busily going about their lives. Crops are reaching their fullness and the harvest is soon to begin. Life appears limitless, joyous, full-on, or in the words of a song from a modern musical, ‘June is bustin’ out all over!’. The day also carries with it just a tiny hint of sadness, as we know that the daylight will from this point wane and gradually turn to the time of winter, darkness and cold. But be of good cheer, because the best Summer weather is yet to come!

One way to celebrate is to really get into it like an Ancient Briton, either alone or with company, by going to a wild place to pay homage to the Sunrise. If you can’t manage that, a park or back garden will do. Have a picnic, paddle in a stream, make daisy chains, enjoy being among wild plants, trees and birds. Make an offering of food and drink, pick up any litter you find. Feel the sun on your face, breathe in the scents (apologies here to any pollen allergy sufferers!) and revel in this most bounteous of seasons. Pause when the Sun is directly overhead to honour this life-giving celestial orb. When evening comes, feel the amazing power and life all around you as the Sun reclines below the horizon on this very special day.