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

b2ap3_thumbnail_monarch-emerging.jpgThe Summer Solstice this year happens on June 21 at 6:52 a.m. EDT. This is the moment when the Sun touches the Tropic of Cancer, and enters the sign of Cancer. Astrologers refer to this moment as the “Cancer Ingress” and cast a chart as the Sun hits 0 degrees of that sign. The chart is predictive for the upcoming three months. Here is this year’s chart, cast for Washington, DC, which is predictive for the entire country. Here is the ingress chart in a bi-wheel with the USA’s chart.

We’ll definitely be hearing from revolutionaries of all stripes over the next three months, particularly related to foreign affairs, higher education, religion, government, and big business. Even the economists will be calling for change, and undoubtedly the Tea Partiers will continue to wave their “Don’t Tread On Me” flag and use rifles as fashion accessories while random shootings by insane people become a weekly news item. So far, the Cardinal Cross has heralded a lot of destructive upheaval in the world — wildfires, civil wars, kidnappings, floods, earthquakes, transportation disasters, mudslides, shootings — but the main message of this celestial pattern, which is anchored by the profound and life-changing Uranus-Pluto square, is that we have reached criticality in the health of the planetary web of life. It is the under-reported changes and collapses within ecosystems, the rapidity of climate change, the insanity of those in power who ignore the crisis and conspire with their corporate cronies to extract every last drop of fuel from the body of the Earth, that exemplify for us the lessons of survival we are faced with.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I don't think I've ever been so happy to welcome the Spring as I was this year. This Winter was so cold, so long that Spring really was a dim memory. Even warm-ish days didn't get my trust. I have only recently packed up my winter clothes, and despite a lot of mowing and weed whacking, I haven't started putting in my garden quite yet. Because the Winter was inside me by the time the snow and ice and freezing weather finally retreated. A hard Winter, like the one we just had, will wear on you, make you feel tired all over, a deep tired that will take more than just a few warm afternoons to shift. This is perfect for introspection and meditation, but beyond the usual quiet of the Descent, I realized that Winter had settled into me, settled into my bones and muscles the way it had frozen the lake and bound the land under snow. Even when the snow started to melt, the chill didn't leave me. It was hard to remember what sweet breezes had felt like, with icy blasts blowing in my face.

This Winter brought lots of worry and sorrow to my door. The stress became part of the the work of Winter: the slogging through the cold, the shoveling of snow, the march through short days of low, subdued energy. Even as the first gentle days showed up, when the world seemed to be a closed fist slowly opening, it was hard to trust it, hard to sink into the promise of warm days to come. It was hard to feel the Spring, or I should say, it was hard to allow myself to feel Spring's optimism and new beginnings. The Winter had settled into my mood, and it was hard to generate much “fire” for anything beyond getting through the day. I wasn't depressed, exactly, but a certain limitation had settled down on my thinking, like a visor. I stopped thinking about a time when I might have more energy, more enthusiasm, when I felt passion and excitement for any of my fallow projects. The world outside was monochrome, all pewter and taupe, and even as the light came back, and the land opened up, my thoughts remained dull like that as well. When the sky got even darker with the brooding rain clouds of early Spring, my thoughts did not leap ahead to the sweet green season yet to come. They remained in the inky black nimbus clouds that poured sleet and hail down, that made tame creeks open up into roiling muddy rapids, and turned the stone cold ground into brown mud. Dark weather for dark moods.

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His-story. It's dark, and the air is chill--Summer is a'comin in--but not quite yet. You're standing in a circle around a tall, dark object. You can just make out its narrow limbs; arms and legs formed by tightly tied bundles of twigs and straw. Suddenly, flames blaze up. In the crackling firelight you can see the figure at the center of the circle--the Wicker Man.

The lighting of the Wicker Man is a very old tradition that we know little about. Of course, there's the obvious: a Wicker Man is a human figure made out of wicker, straw or twigs, but he's built hollow so that things can be put inside him. But how this tradition started is a bit of a mystery. The ancient people who first built them--the Celts--didn't write about their practices. The first person to actually record anything about Wicker Men was Julius Caesar, and the picture he painted wasn't pretty. He wrote that the Celts created huge, human-shaped wicker figures, and inside they would put small animals, grains and slaves (yes, people), to be burned inside as an offering to the gods.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

We stand in a circle beside the enormous maple branches that lie across the road, a sort of honor guard to a fallen land Wight. Claire, on whose lot the maple stands, greets each newcomer by name; Susan, who lives across the road and has a gas stove, offers coffee to folks without power.

Scarlett informs us, with a seven-year-old's precision, that the kids (seven at last count, though the number fluctuates as neighboring families walk or cycle past, witnessing our changed landscape) have collected ten earthworms. They've all been presented to us as holy offerings before being released back to the greater Mystery that is the rain-soaked boulevard. Summer has arrived with a bang.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Oh What A Beautiful Solstice

"Oh What a Beautiful Solstice, Oh What a Beautiful Day…"

These are the strains I remember waking to coming from an enthusiastic fellow Pagan Spirit Gathering camper some years back, on the day of the summer solstice. It stuck with me, and I have very fond memories of the experience. The gathering has gotten quite large and sadly, I have not been able to return– but the spirit of PSG stays with me. Drawing on some of that energy and a few of my own Litha gatherings since, here is my idea of the perfect Midsummer camping trip, on a much smaller scale.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Editor B
    Editor B says #
    We have our reservations at a state park, and I had some rough idea of how we should celebrate, but you've helped to crystallize t
  • Colleen DuVall
    Colleen DuVall says #
    Glad to hear it!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

St. John's Wort Happy Solstice! While today and tonight are the actual Solstice, on June 23 we celebrate St. John's Eve and on June 24 St. John's Day, which are hugely important for folk herbalists.

Likely a Christian adaptation of the pre-existing Summer Solstice festivals, St. John's Eve honors midsummer with bonfires and herbal customs. The phenomenally powerful herbal ally St. John's Wort (hypericum perforatum, internally taken as an anti-depressant, internally and externally applied as a potent anti-bacterial/anti-viral) blooms right around this time each year, turning beautiful yellow flower-faces to the Sun.

On St. John's Eve, venture into the garden at midnight and gather your St. John's Wort flowers. Allow them to dry, flat on cookie racks or a baking sheet lined with a linen towel, for a day or so. Then, loosely chop and place the flowers, leaves, and stems in a jar. Cover with olive oil, jojoba oil, or your favorite other skin-friendly oil. Place the jar in a sunny window or on an outdoor altar for a few weeks, shaking gently on a daily basis. The oil will deepen into a wonderful shade of red. The depth of the red color, in Polish folklore, is indicative of how much love surrounds the maker of the oil. After a few weeks, strain this oil and use it topically as a moisturizing and cleansing oil for topical skin conditions. I typically mix in some comfrey root, peppermint leaf, calendula flower, and lavender flower as well, and the resulting oil is my all-purpose treatment for itchy skin, healing wounds, scars, eczema, and for softening rough spots.

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