Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happy Midsummer!

Today is the June solstice, the longest day of the year (or the shortest, if you're in the southern hemisphere). The word solstice comes from the latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) - the day when perceived northern or southern movement of the sunrise/sunset points stops and reverses itself. This would have been the way most people noticed the date before the introduction of accurate timepieces. Because the difference from one day to the next is slight around the solstices, they may have been celebrated over a period of days in ancient times. Of course, if you wanted to be exact, you could always erect a few standing stones...

I think I'll close with a quote from Storyteller. "There are two points of balance in the turning year: midsummer and midwinter, when the sun reaches its highest and lowest points. As in the brightest, longest days we can foresee the decline into darkness, so in the pit of darkness we can look upwards and foresee the light. In hope and in despair are each the seeds of the other: in the year, and in the life of a man."

Happy solstice!

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