View Full Version : The Summer Solstice

Ericka Scott
June 20th, 2008, 07:47 PM
What a lucky Diva I am - my first two postings get to be about special days. The first was Friday the 13th (shiver) and today is the summer solstice - the longest day of the year. Guess that makes me a Diva of the Light today...

I started researching the solstice, because everything is fodder for an author's toolbox. I found some cool celebrations from the past...some that linger on into the present.

Druids celebrated Alban Heruin ("Light of the Shore"). It was midway between the spring Equinox (Alban Eiler; "Light of the Earth") and the fall Equinox (Alban Elfed; "Light of the Water"). This midsummer festival celebrated the apex of Light. During this time, the crowning of the Oak King took place. At his crowning, the Oak King falls to his darker aspect, the Holly King, God of the waning year.

In ancient China, the summer solstice ceremony celebrated the earth, the feminine, and the yin forces. It complemented the winter solstice which celebrated the heavens, masculinity and yang forces.

In ancient Gaul, the Midsummer celebration was called Feast of Epona, named after a mare goddess who personified fertility, sovereignty, and agriculture. She was portrayed as a woman riding a mare.

Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires! It was the night of fire festivals and of love magic, of love oracles and divination. Pairs of lovers would jump through the luck-bringing flames of the fire and it was believed that the crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump. The fire's power would reveal information about future husbands and banish spirits and demons. Bonfires also generated sympathetic magic by giving the sun's energey a boost so that it would remain potent throughout the rest of the growing season and guarantee a plentiful harvest.

In ancient Rome, the festival of Vestalia lasted from 7-15 June. It was held in honor of the Roman Goddess of the hearth, Vesta. Married women could enter the shrine of Vesta during the festival. At other times of the year, only the vestal virgins were permitted inside.
In ancient Sweden, a Midsummer tree was set up and decorated. The villagers would then dance around it. Women and girls would customarily bathe in the local river, this magical ritual was intended to bring rain for the crops.

So, how are you going to celebrate the summer solstice?

June 20th, 2008, 11:52 PM
Wow Erica, that's some great information you've compiled there. I always loved finding out neat info like that.

I didn't do much at all today except wait on the repairman to fix my freezer. I hope you had a better day.

June 21st, 2008, 06:49 AM
I always wanted to go to Stonehenge for the solstice as its only a few hours from here but it gets so busy and they don't let you near it anyway i've never got round to it

June 21st, 2008, 01:48 PM
I love this sort of stuff too. Here are some more fun facts.

Communicating with fans:

From the sixteenth century on the fan was used in fashionable society as a means of communication. Most all of the messages were words of love.

This form of sign language was published in contemporary etiquette books and magazines. One of the Original Fanology or Ladies’ Conversation Fan was published by William Cock in London in 1797. It told how to holds complete conversations with simple movements of a fan. Both men and women carried fans and understood the different messages.

Some of the most common are listed below...

Placing the fan near your heart...I love you.

A closed fan resting on the right eye...when can I see you?

A half-closed fan pressed to the lips...You may kiss me.

Touching the tip of the fan with your fingers...I wish to speak to you.

Letting the fan rest on your right cheek...Yes.

Letting the fan rest on your left cheek...No.

Dropping the fan...We will be friends.

Fanning slowly...I am married.

Fanning quickly...I am engaged.

Carrying an open fan in the left hand...Come talk to me.

Twirling a fan in the right hand...I love another.

Twirling a fan in the left hand...We are being watched.

Shutting an open fan very slowly...I promise to marry you.

Drawing the fan across you eyes...I am sorry.

Open a fan wide...Wait for me.

June 23rd, 2008, 11:19 PM
That's cool! I've always wondered about that because of movies and books. I used to have a big thing for fans. I still have one very small fan that I keep put up because it's delicate and beautiful.