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Today is the   Summer Solstice.

In the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year (near June 22) when the Sun  is farthest north. In the southern hemisphere, winter  and summer solstices  are exchanged. The summer solstice marks the first day of the season of summer. The declination  of the Sun  on the (northern) summer solstice is known as the tropic of cancer (23° 27').

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, respectively, in the sense that the length of time elapsed between sunrise and sunset on this day is a maximum for the year.

 So they are having Winter Solstice down under.  I wonder how they celebrate it.  We have co-opted it up here and smother it with Christmas.  The Winter Solstice id my favorite holiday.  I celebrate it instead of Christmas since it goes back so much further.  How about the Summer Solstice?  Read on below and find out.

Well indeed they do and where else butStonehenge.  Thousands gathered there to mark this ancient holiday.

About 20,000 people crowded the prehistoric monument on Salisbury Plain, southern England, to see the sunrise at 4:52 a.m. local time, following an annual all-night party.

The event typically draws thousands of alternative-minded revelers to the monument, as they wait for dawn at the Heel Stone, a pockmarked pillar just outside the circle proper, which aligns with the rising sun.

Unlike previous recent years, when the sunrise has been obscured by cloud - the bright sun bathed the monument in orange and gold on Monday.

"One time in maybe 10 we get a decent sunrise, and that was a good one," said Simon Banton, a 45-year-old education volunteer for English Heritage, the body that manages the site.

As the sun rose, a woman climbed a rock in the circle center and blew a horn, welcoming in the longest day of the year north of the equator. Drums, tambourines, and cheers reverberated in the background.

"It means a lot to us ... being British and following our pagan roots," said Victoria Campbell, who watched on, wearing a pair of white angel's wings and had a mass of multicolored flowers in her hair. The 29-year-old Londoner, who works in the finance industry, also said that "getting away from the city" was a major draw.

"It is stunning," said Stewart Dyer, a 43-year-old National Health Service worker and dancer on his first trip to the solstice celebration. "To actually be able to dance amongst the stones, to be able to touch the stones, to be that close to such an ancient monument is unbelievable."

The annual celebrations at Stonehenge, about 80 miles southwest of the capital, are a modern twist on solstice celebrations which were once a highlight of the pre-Christian calendar. They survive today largely in the form of bonfires, maypole dances and courtship rituals.

 Interesting perspective I'd say.  Here we have a holiday that goes back as far as we can look and it is an "alternative" of some sort.  Oh well those Christians seem to need that idea.

I wonder why those of us who are concerned about what has been done to the earth system since Western "Civilization" has been on the scene do not get in touch with the people of various beliefs who may have treated our planet home with a bit more awe and respect.  Just a thought to ponder.  Happy Solstice all!

Originally posted to don mikulecky on Mon Jun 21, 2010 at 08:32 PM PDT.

Poll

The Summer Solstice

22%8 votes
2%1 votes
8%3 votes
55%20 votes
5%2 votes
5%2 votes

| 36 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Mon Jun 21, 2010 at 08:32:15 PM PDT

  •  Could have fooled me (4+ / 0-)

    It's been raining all day (it has for about 3 months).

    They tortured people to get false confessions to justify invading Iraq.

    by yet another liberal on Mon Jun 21, 2010 at 08:39:09 PM PDT

  •  Right now we are having a great lightning (3+ / 0-)

    show...no sound effects yet,  but the front is moving in because the wind is picking up and the temperature is 5 degrees cooler....but it was sunny for the sunset of the "longest" day and that was enjoyable.

    The death of dogma is the birth of morality. -Immanuel Kant, philosopher (1724-1804)

    by Temmoku on Mon Jun 21, 2010 at 08:43:38 PM PDT

  •  Here is another solstice story (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jmknapp, Temmoku, kerflooey

    They tortured people to get false confessions to justify invading Iraq.

    by yet another liberal on Mon Jun 21, 2010 at 08:43:39 PM PDT

  •  GREAT Solstice story: (8+ / 0-)

    I was walking around the East Village tonight, at the most perfect state of dusk. I walked by this beautiful old cemetery on 2nd street - pure peace, green, graves, silence... and there were hundreds of fireflies going on and off as the night finally fell.

    What a perfect summer moment.

  •  The summer solstice is teh awesome! (5+ / 0-)

    I have all the usual outdoorsy person reasons for liking it, but I have to add one other reason:  our beloved Kodachrome.  She's a Sun Conure (aka Sun Parakeet) and their scientific name is Aratinga solstitialis.  It's her day.

    They only call it Class War when we fight back.

    by lineatus on Mon Jun 21, 2010 at 08:55:42 PM PDT

  •  Now the days become shorter and shorter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jmknapp, kerflooey

    I am depressed.

  •  Summer Solstice Celebrations (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, don mikulecky, kerflooey

    Couldn't agree more that we should celebrate the day, I always thought a Sun God made sense..and I am a non believer.

    Without the Sun what would this planet be.

    If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. Dalai Lama

    by ohcanada on Mon Jun 21, 2010 at 09:11:02 PM PDT

  •  Chief Arvol Looking Horse message (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, Miep

    This is a solstice day message from one of our most respected Spiritual Leaders....
    Sept. 15, 2001
    Mitakuye (my relatives):

    I, Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nation, would like to ask for this time for you to understand an indigenous perspective in reflection of what has happened in America, what we call "Turtle Island". For the past six years, my work has concentrated on an effort on uniting the global community, through a message from our sacred ceremonies in recognizing a day of World Peace and Prayer on June 21 as a time to unite spiritually, each in our own ways of beliefs in the Creator.

    We have been warned from the messages, passed down from ancient prophecies, of these times we live in today, but also of a solution to turn these terrible times around. To assist you in understanding the depth of this message involves the recognition in the importance of Sacred Sites. It is important that you realize the whole interconnectedness of what is happening today, in reflection of the continued massacres that are occurring on other lands and our own Americas.

    I have been learning about these important issues of Sacred Sites since the age of 12, upon receiving the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle and its teachings. Our people have strived to protect Sacred Sites from the beginning of time. There needs to be an understanding in the concern of the protection of Sacred Sites that goes deeper than just the issue of shrines built by humans. Our people have built similar objects and shrines to identify and to remind the significance in the power of the Sacred Site.

    We have also witnessed them being destroyed for many decades, but we also realize it is what is underneath them that is important. These places have been violated for centuries and have brought us to this predicament that we are in concerning the unstable global level thus far.

    Look around you. Our Mother Earth is very ill from these violations and we are at a brink of destroying a healthy and nurturing survival for generations to come, for our children's children. Our ancestors have been trying to protect our Sacred Site from the continued violations called the Sacred Black Hills in South Dakota, the "heart of everything that is."

    Our ancestors never saw this site from a satellite view, but now that those pictures are available with modern technology, we see that it is in the shape of a heart. When fast-forwarded, it looks like a heart pumping. The Dine have been protecting Big Mountain, calling it the liver, and now that the coal is depleting, we are suffering and going to suffer more from the extraction of the coal and the poison processes used in doing so.

    The Aborigines warned of the contaminating effects on the Coral Reefs from global warming, which they see as Mother Earth's blood purifier. Our sacred water is being polluted. The indigenous people of the rain forest relay that the rain forest is the lungs and needs protection. Now we see the Brazilian government approved the depletion of 50-percent of this Sacred Site. The Gwich'in nation has an issue of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain, also known to the Gwich'in as "where the life begins!" The coastal plain is also the birthplace of many other life forms of animal nations. The death of these animal nations will destroy indigenous nations in this territory. As these destructive developments continue all over the world, we will witness many more extinct animal, plant and human nations, because of the misuse of power that mankind has made and their lack of understanding the "balance of life".

    photos courtesy of dreamkeepers.net
    The indigenous people warn that these destructive developments will cause havoc globally. There are many, many more indigenous awareness's and knowledge of Mother Earth's Sacred Sites, connections (Mother Earth's chakras) to our spirit that will surely affect our future generations. These people are still suffering from this contamination and their livelihood is being destroyed.

    There needs to be a fast move toward other forms of energy that are safe for all nations upon Mother Earth. We need to understand the whole picture in the type of minds that are continuing to destroy the spirit of our whole global community.

    Unless we do this, the powers of destruction will overwhelm us. Our ancestors foretold that water would someday be for sale. Back then, this was hard to believe, since the water was so plentiful, so pure, and so full of energy, nutrition and spirit. Today we have to buy pure water, and even then the nutritional minerals have been taken out; it's just empty liquid. Someday water will be like gold, too expensive to afford. Not everyone will have the right to drink safe water. We fail to appreciate and honor our Sacred Sites, ripping out the minerals and gifts that lay underneath them, as if Mother Earth were simply a resource, instead of the Source of Life itself.

    Attacking nations and having to utilize more resources to carry out the destruction in the name of peace is not the answer! We need to understand how all these decisions affect the global nation. We will not be immune to its repercussions. To allow continual contamination of our food and land is now affecting the way we think. A "disease of the mind" has infected world leaders and many members of our global community, with their understanding that a solution of retaliation and destruction of peoples will bring peace.

    In our prophecies, it is told that we are now at the crossroads: either unite spiritually as a global nation, or be faced with chaos, disaster, disease and tears from our relatives' eyes.

    In times of disasters, it is sad to say that it is the only time that we unite spiritually. But we must not taint it with anger and retaliation. We are the only species that is destroying the source of life--Mother Earth--in the name of power, mineral resources and ownership of land. We are using methods of chemicals and warfare that are becoming irreversible, as Mother Earth is tired and can not sustain any more impacts of war.

    I ask you to join me on this endeavor. Our vision is for the peoples of all continents, regardless of their beliefs in the Creator, to come together as one at their Sacred Sites at that sacred moment of what is known as the Summer Solstice of June 21, to pray and meditate and commune with one another, thus promoting an energy shift to heal our Mother Earth and achieve a universal consciousness toward attaining peace.

    As each day passes, bringing us to this day of concentration together, I ask the global nations to begin a Global effort in knowing that each and every one of us are making a daily effort in waking to the gratitude of another day. Remember to give thanks for the sacred food that also has been gifted to us by our Mother Earth, so the nutritional energy of medicine can be guided to heal our minds and spirits.

    This new millennium will usher in an age of harmony or it will bring the end of life as we know it. Starvation, war and toxic waste have been the hallmark of the Great Myth of Progress and Development that ruled the last millennium. To us, as caretakers of the heart of Mother Earth, falls the responsibility of turning back the powers of destruction. We have come to a time and place of great urgency. The fate of future generations rests in our hands. We must understand the two ways we are free to follow, as we choose: the positive way or the negative way, the spiritual way or the material way. It's our own choice--each of ours and all of ours.

    You yourself are the one who must decide. You alone--and only you--can make this crucial choice. Whatever you decide is what you'll be, to walk in honor or to dishonor your relatives. You can't escape the consequences of your own decision. On your decision depends the fate of the entire world. You must decide. You can't avoid it. Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind. Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger? Know that you are essential to this world. Believe that! Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You are desperately needed to save the soul of this world. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending!

    •  I'd like to see a modern "scientist" with more (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Miep

      wisdom than this.  He says it all and in a way that makes sense!

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Mon Jun 21, 2010 at 09:45:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wish everybody (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      don mikulecky

      had declared all fossil fuel deposits sacred sites from the get-go.

      Technology would have developed much more slowly, and differently. But the future we would be facing might well have been much brighter.

      Why, oh, why, did any of us need to be in such a big hurry?

      "The concept of "library," can be applied to any product or service, not just books." - Jay

      by Miep on Mon Jun 21, 2010 at 10:06:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Stonehenge weather (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    "One time in maybe 10 we get a decent sunrise, and that was a good one,"

    That's a big problem with theories that Stonehenge was used for precise solstice observations. One might have to posit that England was a lot less misty back in the day.

    Alternatively, they may have had a way of making observations a few days before and after the solstice, and a way of interpolating the observations. Alexander Thom, a civil engineer from Scotland, wrote extensively about such possibilities. But then you have to imagine the ancient Briton priests as a bit on the wonky side, making slide rules out of stones and stakes. Thom also figured that Stonehenge was much more a lunar observatory. Observing a decent moonrise on the horizon is even more difficult.

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