Summer Sunning!

Today marks the Summer Solstice. Astronomically, it looks like this:

The Summer Solstice occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. The seasonal significance of the Summer Solstice is in the reversal of the gradual shortening of nights and lengthening of days. That will occur later today, June 20th at 22:34 UTC (6:34pm Eastern, 5:34pm Central, 4:34pm Mountain, and 3:34pm Pacific Time).

Today and tomorrow the sunrise (where I live) will be 5:18am and sunset will be 8:40pm – 15 hours and 22 minutes of sunlight. On Winter Solstice, six loooong months ago, sunrise was at 7:25am and sunset was at 4:25pm, 9 hours of sunlight.

Next Sunday, the sunrise will be one minute later, signalling the waning of the year. But that’s Sunday and today we have 922 minutes of sunlight to enjoy!!

(Don’t forget to hover!)

In the Northern Hemisphere ”summer” comes earlier than the Summer Solstice (the astronomical event).

Solar summer” began in early May, and is the quarter of the year when the most amount of sunlight is entering the northern hemisphere. Astronomical summer essentially marks the midpoint of solar summer.

Meteorological summer” is the warmest quarter of the year based on daily normal temperatures. This exact period varies slightly from place to place; but, in general, meteorological summer starts the first week in June and ends the first week in September

Well, “early May” and “first week in June” are not precise enough to plan a gathering around so the sun(ning) critters chose today, June 20th.

Let’s join them in the sun …

The Midsummer, or Litha, is one of the eight pagan festivals or “sabbats” from the Wheel of the Year . It is a “quarter day” along with the equinoxes and the winter solstice. The Summer Solstice is a time for a celebration of the abundance of summer.

Midsummer is the time when we celebrate the bounty of the earth and the power of the sun. Our fields are flourishing, fruits are blossoming on the trees, herb bushes are fragrant and full of life.

It’s the time of year when the crops are growing heartily and the earth has warmed up. we can spend long sunny afternoons enjoying the outdoors, and getting back to nature under the long daylight hours.

Lisa Thiel – Litha (The Summer Solstice Song)

I am the fire that burns within your soul
I am the Holy light that fills and makes you whole
I am the Flame within, that never dies
I am the sun that will ever arise

Power of the Sun we honor you this night
We leap across the fire to keep our spirits bright
Power of the Sun, fire in the night
We leave behind, that which blinds, to restore our sight

I am the fire that clears away the old
I am the holy light that guides you to your soul
I am the Flame Of Love for which you yearn
I am the sun that will always return

To all my pagan and non-pagan friends alike: “A Sunny Solstice to You and may your bonfires burn brightly tonight!!”

(Summer and sun quotes courtesy of

(Crossposted from Views from North Central Blogistan)


  1. Wishing a Sunny Solstice to everyone!!! Except for people suffering from the heat wave – may your clouds be thick and rain-filled … ;)

  2. Here my daylength is 14 hours 37 minutes – but of course there’s light before and after the official sunrise and sunset. There’s light enough to see my clock by when I get up in the morning and not full dark when I go to bed (I read for 1/2 to 3/4 hour before turning off the lights). At the winter solstice I go to bed and get up in full dark. Me, I’m a “middling” person – I prefer the equinoxes. :)

    But I love the good, fresh food from the Farmers’ Market in summer and the heat that helps keep my hands and feet from aching. (Could do without the bugs though. heh) Happy Solstice/Happy summer to all.

  3. I enjoyed seeing the moon shinning in my window last night, but today is a typical cloudy day.

    Thanks for noting the changing seasons…..I look forward to Lisa Theil’s music.

  4. Thanks for this really lovely post, Jan! Enjoyed every single bit of it, especially the “hovers.”

    I’m all in favor of cats reading more: it might improve their spelling, which is abysmal.

    My favorite things about summer: the long light, of course, harvesting the bounty of our desultory garden (we don’t feel up to much work), lettuce and tomato sandwiches made with toasted whole-wheat bread and mayo…’mmm.

    But there you are, for me summer is all about tastes: cantaloupe, peaches, strawberries picked from the garden, apples off the tree in mid-August, tiny new potatoes from the backyard…all that.

    And the scents, too—honeysuckle, petunias, everything. I even like the bittersweet feeling of Lammas, when we begin to realize summer won’t last forever. But there! I rejoice in all four seasons because in my opinion each has something to recommend it.

    • Each season does have something to recommend it! Even the winter, which can be cold and miserable here in the upper Midwest, is often beautiful. And the winter is a time to hunker down and let our plans for the spring begin to form.

      Cats have terrible spelling. :)

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