20 June 2016 – Summer Solstice – A solstice happens when the sun’s zenith is at its furthest point from the equator. Today, it reaches its northernmost point & the Earth’s North Pole tilts directly towards the sun.
It’s also known as the northern solstice because it occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere.
‘Solstice’ (Latin: ‘solstitium’) means ‘sun-stopping’. The point on the horizon where the sun appears to rise & set, stops & reverses direction after this day. On the solstice, the sun does not rise precisely in the east, but rises to the north of east & sets to the north of west, making it visible in the sky for a longer period of time.
Although the June solstice marks the first day of astronomical summer, it’s technically Mid-Summer
451 – Flavius Aetius’ battles Attila the Hun
940 – Gerbert of Aurilac, later Pope Sylvester II, Scientist, Pope, Wizard, –He traveled to Spain to study the lost quadrivium of the liberal arts: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, & music. His efforts to introduce Arabic numbers & the new art of algebra to Europe met with limited success; in fact, he was accused of practicing “dangerous Saracen magic”.
The accusations of black magic did not end with his death. A thirteen century manuscript denounced Gerbert as “the best necromancer in France, whom the demons of the air readily obeyed in all that he required of them by day & night because of the great sacrifices he offered them.”
But all of this was really part of the political skirmishing that brought down Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire, showing the nature of the medieval papacy, & the legend of the last emperor -The Abacus verses the Cross, a tangled relationship between religion, science & politics in the medieval world
1819 – The U.S. vessel SS Savannah arrives at Liverpool. It is the first steam-propelled vessel to cross the Atlantic
1877 – Alexander Graham Bell installs the world’s first commercial telephone service in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
1887 – Victoria Terminus, the busiest railway station in India, opens in Bombay
1895 – The Kiel Canal, crossing the base of the Jutland peninsula & the busiest artificial waterway in the world, is officially opened
1943 – The Detroit race riot breaks out & continues for three more days
1945 – The United States Secretary of State approves the transfer of Wernher von Braun & his team of Nazi rocket scientists to America
1948 – Toast of the Town, later The Ed Sullivan Show, makes its television debut
1970 – Deathday of Herbert Hahn – Waldorf teacher, writer & Anthroposophist. Best known for his book ‘Folk Souls Of Europe & ‘Notes from Memory’, about the founding of the Esoteric Youth Circle
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(Summer Solstice/Litha poem) St. JOHN’S EVE in the tropic of cancer
Hot horns of light
Frame the dreaded Forerunner…
Wild Pan the Baptist
With wort & rue in his pouch
Locusts & raw honey on his breath,
Anoints the mistletoe
In the oak-grove.
The God has gone into the grain
The Sun is on the water
The edge of the rioting rose
Begins to melt
Its scent is heavy on the heat
Stealing the breath
From the hot mouth of God
Her infer-red ruby steams
The magnetic stains of light
To guide the Summer-Tide Soul
Into the labyrinth
Where the Oak King crests
And gives way
To the Dark Holly Twin
The hissing serpent
A round writhing egg
Christens the honey moon with mead
Awaken the gate
Meditate the laurel grail
And St. John’s spear
Under Canopus squared
A packsaddle beam
Capping an arch
As Argo sails the dipper flock
From the top of severity
To the mount of the manger
Pin a tail on the donkey
Put a fence around the goat
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“At Midsummer the earth’s soul becomes pious. The warmth that flames through the atmosphere is like a mighty sacrificial fire on the wings of which the soul soars upwards towards the sun…” ~Emil Bock
Summer Solstice comes at the precise moment when the sun’s power is at its peak. Solstice means ‘sun stands still’ since the sun rises & sets in the same spot for a few days. Here in the northern hemisphere, this is the longest day & shortest night of the year. From now on, the days will get shorter. This phenomenon is a direct result of the Earth-Sun relationship. After peaking, the Sun begins to wane, & the journey into the harvest season begins.
It has always been an important solar event throughout the evolution of humankind. The axis of Stonehenge & the Temple of the Sun in Mexico are both oriented in the direction of the Midsummer sunrise.
In even earlier times, the sun was perceived in its shinning prime & glory –giver of light & heat and life, as the effulgent force of the Feminine –a passionate aspect of the versatile Great Mother, who issues forth & supports all life.
The Solar Goddess was known in many ancient cultures & Her Priestess’ were highly regarded as healers & Psychopomps – Spiritual guides, initiating supplicants into the mysteries hidden behind the blinding light & fire of the solar disk. They used the 1st mirrors or lenses to harness the sun, to start the altar fires & to cauterize wounds for healing.
During the time of the ancient Egyptians, Sirius, the Dog Star rose on the Summer Solstice, heralding the beginning of their new year, just before the season of the Nile’s flooding.
The sun itself was deemed to be the all-seeing, all knowing, all powerful eye; but It was also known to be the “scorching eye of Ra” burning away the shadows, like a laser in the hands of a surgeon, cutting away disease, a power not to be taken (pardon the pun) lightly.
Probably the most ancient source of the Solar Force known to humanity is an Egyptian lion-headed Goddess called Sekhmet. She displays all the passion of the noonday-sun at its peak, burning away all that does not serve, rousing us to dance our true power, in the magic ritual of our transformation.
Solar energy & its radiations are said to be the cause of evolution itself, reminding us that we can take an active role in our evolutionary process by aligning ourselves with this Solar Power, plugging in directly to the source of ourselves, to the source of action & passion.
But remember, at this time of the zenith, the brightest light casts the deepest shadow.
In our time now, we strive toward a renewal of these mysteries – To transform the unbridled passions into purpose & guided action. The Summer Solstice brings our inner selves into harmony with our cosmic being, & reminds us of the Sun’s connection to The Christ – which is now united with the earth.
We lift up our hearts to meet ‘the heights & widths of the universe’, where we feel ‘Not I, but Christ in me’. To say as John the Baptist said “He must increase, but I must decrease.” We respond to the summertime call for a yearly ‘metanoia’ by reviewing our deeds, looking with courage to the errors of the past, enduring all the pain self-knowledge brings, so we can take on the tasks that will bring healing to ourselves & to the earth, & so that someday, with hearts lifted, we may say: Yes I, and Christ in me!
Blessings and Peace ~Hazel Archer Ginsberg