Monday, June 20, 2011

The Call of the Sun King

The official start of Summer is almost here.  I can feel its pull, like when you stand in the ocean as the tide is going out and you feel as if the waves will pull you right out with them.  At this time of year, my heart begins to ache for sea and sand, for bright burning sun on my skin and the ocean’s lullaby, for the feeling of diving under a wave as it breaks, for the echoing thunder and streaks of lightning that come with Summer storms, for the smell of all the flowers in blooms, of vegetables ripening under the sun’s rays and of salt air, for the taste of sweet juicy strawberries and other fruits warmed by the sun.  In a few hours, Summer will be here.

Summer Solstice, also called Midsummer or Litha, is the longest day of the year with the Sun at its highest point in the sky.  From this point in time to the Winter Solstice, the days begin to grow shorter and the nights longer.  The first harvest is not long off from now.  All life - plants, insects, animals and people - is at its apex of vitality.  Midsummer marks a time of balance between the elements of Fire and Water.  I find myself being called back to the beach by these elements.  Fire -the Sun- calls to me to soak up its rays, its energy, and Water -the ocean- wishes me to swim in its cooling waters and be reborn anew, refreshed.  These same elements are needed for things to grow and to create abundance.  Both sun and water are necessary to plants for energy for photosynthesis.  Flowers are now giving way to ripening fruit.  It is said that herbs gathered at the Summer Solstice are at the height of their potency.

At Midsummer, the Goddess manifests as the Full Moon of Summer, at the height of her fertility giving birth to all life, as the Great Mother and Queen, and the God as the Sun King, strong and full of energy.  Summer Solstice is a celebration of Fire and the masculine principle.  Without the Sun, there could be no life.  At Beltane, or May Day, we celebrated the sacred marriage between the Goddess and the God, their fertility and the fertility of all life.  Now we see the result of that marriage through the abundance of the crops and in our very own gardens, in the abundance of energy and light.  Great bonfires are lit on Midsummer’s Eve to mirror the power of the Sun at its peak and to attune with the element of Fire and the aspects of the Sun King.  We spend more time outdoors in the Summer to soak up the Sun’s rays and to borrow some of its energy to carry with us through the darker times of the year.  Fathers are also honored at Summer Solstice.  Isn't it interesting that Father’s Day falls right before the Summer Solstice?

As I write this, I am making the final preparations for tonight’s Summer Solstice celebration.  Big beautiful sunflowers, candles, seashells of varied sizes and colors, starfish and driftwood adorn the heart of our home, our hearth, to call upon the elements of fire and water, of sun and sea.  Because I long so for the ocean at this time of the year, I have also added a picture of the sea taken during a hurricane (by the way, June 1 marks the beginning of hurricane season).  Strawberries and cream are ready for passing around after the celebration as well as big juicy cherries and grapes.  The birds and critters of my yard will even have some berries in their feeders tomorrow morning to welcome Summer’s arrival.  A small fire will be lit with summer herbs and rose petals added to the flames to scent the air with Summer.  When my son was younger, we would catch fireflies in jars and watch their little lights spark on and off but tonight they will dance in the trees as we celebrate.  So, tonight, think about what Summer means to you, what it brings to you, what it ends for you, and thank the Universe for all of its bounty.

1 comment:

  1. Really nice Johanna. I enjoyed reading it and imagining the simple pleasures of your celebration. :)