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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Summer Solstice

Posted by on in Signs & Portents
Summer Is Here!

It’s Midsummer, also known as the Summer Solstice or Litha! Alternatively viewed as either the midpoint or the start of summer, Midsummer is the time when one hemisphere of the Earth (the Northern Hemisphere in this case) is at its maximum tilt towards the Sun, resulting in the longest day and an increase in temperature. Of course, for our southern kindred, it’s Midwinter.

Here at PaganSquare we’ve gathered a large number of posts both from our own website and others to celebrate this day. We hope you enjoy today’s festivities and have a wonderful summer (or winter if that’s where you are)!

-Aryós Héngwis

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Incan Summer Solstice Ceremony

I visited the Sacred Valley and the Temple of the Sun in Peru for my 40th Birthday, and these lands are a sight to behold. At the time of the Summer Solstice each year, the rising sun reflects off a certain point of a mountain in the Ollantaytambo archaeological site, and bounces off the altar atop the temple, where the Incans strategically placed it some 500 years ago. The fact that these laid by hand granite stones still stood now– with no cement holding them together– untouched– was truly spiritual. My mother, who had accompanied me, was moved to tears, taking it all in. Each year, not unlike their British counterparts at Stonehenge, local Peruvians reenact the Incan Summer Solstice ritual. I am sure it is a spectacle to appreciate, based on what I have seen and the commemorative photos marking the event.

Litha, or the Summer Solstice, is many a Pagan and Wiccan's favorite festival of the year. If you'd like to make yours truly special, here are some suggestions for a simple ritual, in tribute to Inti Raymi, not unlike our Incan ancestors held.

Buy some brightly-colored flowers and throw them festively around the ground of your firepit. Encourage participants to wear silver and gold jewelry, and have everyone bring a small carved wooden sun symbol or figure to place in a backyard bonfire. Since I'm sure you wouldn't want to sacrifice any white llamas, burn some white sage instead. Smudge everyone first, and then offer it to your fire as a sacrifice to the Sun God. Make a procession of building your fire where each guest contributes by adding to it. Build it first, and wait to light it at sunset, adding some straw and dancing around it to raise energy clockwise. Give a nod to each of the four wind directions as you do.

Give thanks to Suyos, representing the snake for the world below, the puma for life on earth and the condor, who presides over the upper world of the gods. These three animals were very honored and seen repeatedly in architecture and artwork throughout Cusco and the surrounding areas.

Celebrate and feast with some Pisco Sours (the national cocktail), ceviche,  Peruvian roasted potatoes (see recipe below) and Inca Kola – if you can get your hands on it! When the fire dies down a bit, those who feel able-bodied should take a running jump over the pit for good luck. Revel in the sunset.

     ROASTED PERUVIAN POTATOES
     Start to finish: 1 hour
     Servings: 4 to 6
     2 pounds Peruvian purple potatoes, scrubbed
     1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
     1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
     1 tablespoon minced garlic
     Salt and freshly ground black pepper
     1 tablespoon cilantro
     Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

     Halve the potatoes and place them in a bowl. Cover them with water if you cut them ahead of time.
     In another bowl, mix olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Drain potatoes well and add them to the oil mixture. Toss with olive oil mixture. Spread the potatoes on a sheet pan. Roast for 30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve
(Recipe from Aaron Sanchez, foodnetwork.com)


Resources:

http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/ancientlatinamerica/p/Inti-The-Inca-Sun-God.htm
http://www.livescience.com/22869-machu-picchu.html

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In the Celtic tradition, the Sun is female, a divine light and life bringer, so the Summer Solstice honours this season as a time of great fruitful goddess energy, but also a time of great power. In Celtic times summer solstice fires would be lit on beacon hills and high places to honour the sun and ward away evil, as this is a time when the veil between the worlds is said to be thin, encouraging interchange between the world and the spirit realm.

Sacred hills such as Cnoc Áine in Limerick, Ireland, named after the sun goddess Áine, were places of great ceremony in Celtic times, with fires lit there until at least 1879. Áine was also known as a Queen of the Faeries, the Sidhe, and one tale tells of how she emerged from the hill to ask the revellers to head home early so her people could come out for their own celebrations.  Her sister is the Goddess Griéne, meaning 'Sun' is associated with Cnoc Griéne , also in Limerick. It's likely that both these hills were once beacons hills with Fires lit to honour the solstice since ancient times. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tony Lima
    Tony Lima says #
    This day I wonder if she really cares about being honored. Keeping her secrets in knowledge of time and place, yes - a vital esse
  • Tony Lima
    Tony Lima says #
    This day I wonder if she really cares about being honored. Keeping her secrets in knowledge of time and place, yes - a vital esse

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Oak Moon, Holly Moon

At the Summer Solstice it is said that the Oak King and Holly King do battle, and the God of the Waxing Year must give way to the King of the Waning Year. This is a Hinge, a moment of transition that drives the Wheel of the Year. At the Solstice, the Sun is at its peak, the fruitful earth is coming into its most delicious bounty. After this, we cross a tipping point, as the days grow shorter, and we move forward towards the harvest festivals.

For me it feels more intuitive that this transition comes as the solar transit of Cancer turns into Leo. The lunar month attending Cancer is the Oak Moon, hearkening to the Oak King of the growing, fertile, waxing season of the Year. The Oak King evokes the solar qualities of the divine masculine: strength, forthrightness, generosity; he holds the energy of divine kingship and warrior-ship. A sacred animal often associated with this lunation is the Horse, embodying the power and dignity of the Solar God. An animal fit best for open, sunlit plains, the horse has been associated with solar gods since the Greeks wrote of Phoebus driving a chariot of fiery stallions across the sky each day.

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For me, Litha is about balance and light. For others—as I found out when I gathered with a fiery group of ladies at our Midsummer Celebration here on Martha’s Vineyard—it’s about the color yellow, fire, beauty, happiness, joy, and potential. That last one interests me in particular, because I’ve been studying quite a bit about potential lately; specifically, the possibilities that lie dormant in our minds and hearts that surface when we are ready for them.

   We connect with these possibilities through the rhythms of our lives, and I’m especially called to the rhythms of descent and rising, such as what Kore experienced when she descended and arose new and fresh as Persephone. We all know her story—she goes down as an innocent virgin and arises a woman, Queen of the Dead. She now knows about sex and maturity and life and death; she’s tasted of the pomegranate, or like Eve, of the apple. In other words, she’s tapped in to her potential, opened it up like a fruit to see the shape of the seeds inside. She’s pulled from the depths and the dark and has brought the juicy knowledge of her own being out into the light.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Midsummer Madness

Och: my sleep is all messed up. Too. Much. Light.

6:11 a. m. as I write this, and the Sun's already up. When I woke at 4:30, the cardinals were singing their dawn songs. (Like roosters, they have special receptors in their brains that register even the slightest increase in light.) CST: Cardinal Standard Time. Whtt whtt whtt: cheerio! Yeah, and the broom you rode in on, too.

When I went to bed at 11 last night, there was still light in the western sky. Where I live, it's about 8 hours from sundown to sunrise at the summer sunstead, but as any Northron can tell you, just because the Sun's below the horizon doesn't mean it's dark. In Shetland they call it the simmer dim: the long, slow twilights of summer's solstice-tide.

Nor am I the only one. Here and now we're all walking around in a collective state of chronic sleep deprivation. Add heat and voilà: the proverbial Midsummer Madness. Small wonder I've heard more sirens and seen more car crashes during the past two weeks than in the previous two months put together.

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