Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mid-Summers Eve

The Summer Solstice will occur for those of us in the northern hemisphere on June 20th-21st as the sun moves into the astrological sign of cancer. Solstice literally means sol for sun and sistere, to stand still. At the solstice, the sun has no apparent northward or southward motion. It is a time when the sun is at its zenith at the tropic of cancer, and basically when the sun reaches the highest point in the sky. It is the longest day of the year when the light force reaches its highest peak.

Many esoteric traditions celebrate various rituals during this important event. The ancient Druids gathered at this time period to celebrate the forces of light. Many Pagans celebrate this time period as Litha or Midsummer’s Eve. It is celebrated as a triumph for the forces of light over the forces of darkness with a huge bonfire. Wiccans honor the Horned God in all his glory and the Goddess as pregnant, and ready to bear the fruit of the harvest.

One interesting ritual that many Pagans celebrate is the Wheel of Fire. This ritual consists of constructing a wheel (usually made of wood or cardboard). Everyone in the ritual ties little colored ribbons, covered with symbols representing wishes that they would like to see made manifest to the wheel. The wheel would then be taken to a hill and lit on fire with drumming and dancing. At the climax, the wheel of fire would be rolled down the hill usually into a lake or pond. Basically the ritual symbolizes the sun at the height of its cycle and its sojourn downwards again. It is the intention that the wishes on the wheel, following the cycle of the sun will be realized when the sun reaches its lowest point at the winter solstice.

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