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!!”
(Crossposted from Views from North Central Blogistan)