I'm going to let you in on a little pet peeve of mine: People who say that the Summer Solstice marks the beginning of summer. I mean... Hello?!?! Have you been in a cave the last few months? Have you somehow missed the swelteringly hot days and crippling humidity? I haven't. My hair hasn't. But apparently my afro and I know something that the rest of society refuse to acknowledge and that's this: Summer began with the lighting of the Beltane bonfires. What the Summer Solstice marks is not the start of summer but the half-way point – hence the term “midsummer.”
The Summer Solstice is also called “Litha” (among other things) and is one of the four “Lesser Sabbats” of the Pagan year. It normally falls on the 20th/21st of June. This year, the Solstice ocurs on the 20th (tomorrow). The Sun reaches its peak on the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and as the old saying goes, it's all downhill from there. The Sun's power begins to fade and the days begin to shorten again, leading us to the end of summer (and the start of Autumn) at Lammas/Lughnasadh.
I've never been much of a Sun worshipper myself, preferring Moonlight and shadows (as well you know) but even I can't deny the magick apparent at this time of the year. Today Dylan Dog and I took a stroll through woods and it was absolute bliss. All the trees and shrubs are growing wild, the flowers are in bloom, the birds are singing... It's like a Disney movie come to life. I'm glad I got to take the time to connect with Nature today since I know that tomorrow will probably be a busy day for me and the Solstice will have to contend with Pay Day (or, as I like to call it, Bill Day).
The Ancients would celebrate the Summer Solstice with dancing and feasting long into the long night. Indeed, there will be many Pagan celebrations tomorrow, all around the world, including the traditional ritual at Stonehenge. How will I celebrate? *sigh* I would love to wear a garland of flowers in my hair and walk barefoot in the fields... but somehow I doubt my reality would allow that. The weather isn't suppose to be bad, though, so maybe I will take a walk in my lunch hour – maybe stop and buy myself a bouquet of bright flowers and stuff myself on Summer fruit... I could think of worse ways to celebrate!