Here in the Northern Hemisphere, today is Summer Solstice. Also known as Midsummer, today is when the sun peaks to its highest point in the sky. It is the longest day and shortest night. From here, daylight will begin to shorten and we begin the journey to autumn and winter.
The word Solstice originates from Latin, meaning “sun standing still”. It is believe that Stonehenge was built to help establish when the summer solstice occurred, as the sun rises on Solstice at a particular point on the horizon that can be viewed from the center of the stone circle. If you stand outside at midday, the sun is directly overhead and there is barely a shadow cast. Since living creatures cast shadows, and only spirits have none, this day was traditionally seen as a day where people were closest to resembling spirits in our mortal reality. The Druids believed this day represented the marriage of Heaven and Earth. As with Halloween, it is seen as a time when the veil between the physical and non-physical worlds is thin, allowing easier communication between the two worlds. In Celtic tradition, the Summer Solstice is a time to celebrate nature, fertility, the Earth and her ever-changing seasons as part of the ‘wheel of the year’. People thought the world have celebrated Solstice to honor the sun, and to mark time. As with other ancient cultures and traditions, it is also a reminder of the journey of life, an acknowledgement of the cycles of time – birth, childhood, adulthood, old age, death.
This post also marks a milestone of my writing, as this is the 100th post of this blog. For 3 years, I have been sharing my adventures in urban homesteading. When I started writing, I wanted to chronicle my journey on trying to live a more simple life, focused on self-sufficiency in a modern day world. Reaching this 100th milestone makes me pause and think about why I continue to write, while there are thousands of other blogs doing the same thing I’m doing, but quite a bit better. In terms of the blogging world, this is not a successful blog, as I’m not earning money nor do I have tons of followers. But for the few that do read this (thank you!), or perhaps someone in the future that stumbles across this, I still write because I hope to serve as an inspiration. I hope that by me sharing my experiences of growing my own food, cooking from scratch, and generally living a type of life that I value, I might inspire you to take a chance to try one of these things. I am not from an argarian society, my grandma did not teach me to knit, I am not prepping for dooms-day. I’m just a regular person, learning these things as I go, because I like to learn and it makes me feel closer to the Earth. To those who leave comments, or those who silently read these words, thank you for joining me. I hope that my desire to inspire you is in fact, shining though.
Today marks the day of both endings, rebirth, and is the day that the “sun will stand still.” I encourage you to go outside and to absorb the brightness of the midsummer sun. Let us ask for the sun to shine upon anyone who is feeling a lack of light, and giving thanks for the sun which sustains us.
Mary Oliver, “The Sun”