Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ring Solstice Bells!

Tonight is the night of the Summer Solstice, the shortest night of the year. All over the world this is a time for celebration. There are many things that are celebrated on this night. For example, in Ireland and Spain, they will begin celebrating St. John's Eve. This is just one of many. However, not in Louisiana. This is a bit of a surprise, as almost any excuse for a party or a festival is popular here.

The actual Solstice this year will occur tomorrow, the 21st at 18.06 UTC (1.06pm EST). This is the time when Summer officially starts, at least in popular culture (there are many more complex theories). This means that it is the day when the Sun is highest in the sky. So, this is a significant milestone of any year.

The name 'Solstice" is also of interest. It comes from Latin and literally means 'Sun stands still'. After the Solstice, the days start getting shorter and the nights longer. There is a rich set of traditions associated with the Solstice. According to those of a Pagan inclination, it is a day when the Goddess manifests as Mother Earth and the God as the Sun King. It is a traditional time for people to gather together. It is certainly an excellent time to decide to have a party. I have done this quite a few times. The parties have always been a tremendous successes.

Some of the traditions associated with this time of the year include building a large fire, to welcome the Sun and then to stay up to greet the Sun rise in the early morning. It is also a time when medicinal plants that are gathered are supposed to have special properties.

This is going to be a quiet Solstice for me. I have had more exciting ones. For instance, in 1984 I met the morning Sun standing by the Slaughter Stone at Stonehenge (or I would have done, had it not been cloudy). Of course, the Druids are famously associated with the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge. It is unfortunate that their putative history is almost certainly fictional.

So, I wish you all a merry Solstice and hope that your celebrations (if you do such things) go well. I shall celebrate by shouting,


L. V. X.

Sorry, this is an odd tradition of mine. Happy Solstice!

The CP


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ummm... All over the world?

Not down here in Australia, or in fact in any part of the southern hemisphere! It is the middle of winter!

5:51 PM  
Blogger The Combat Philosopher said...

Ok, anon, point taken! Although you may not celebrate the Summer Solstice, there is still another Solstice to celebrate. Thanks for the correction.

The CP

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Waz said...

sorry I didn't mean to be anon... hit the button too quick

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you explain this to me?


I am very curious. Also I would like to use those images on my website about stonehenge

my email

For some reason my blogger account has been corrupted

9:45 PM  

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