|Thanks to Magickalgraphics.|
But all this got me thinking about solstice from a historical perspective. So, whether you call it Midsummer, Lithia, or just the summer solstice, I like looking at the roots of the celebration.
Prehistoric TimesThere's little doubt that humans in prehistoric times recognized the solstice and celebrated the day with the most amount of sunlight. Stonehenge and Externsteine were places where people could observe and mark the longest day of the year. The altar at Externsteine has a keyhole that lights up at dawn on the summer solstice. And Stonehenge is definitely a monument to the sun. The heel stone gateway capture's the sun's rays on June 21st.
Almost all prehistoric peoples worshiped the sun in some capacity. Bonfires were common both in prehistoric times and later to welcome the solstice.
Medieval and Viking TimesDuring the Viking era, northern peoples held a Thing and used the time to solve legal matters and disputes. Bonfires were common as were visiting wells that were thought to have magical properties. In northern Europe, it was customary to light a wheel encased with straw and roll it down a hill to determine if the harvest would be good or poor. If the wheel went out before it reached the bottom, it would mean a poor harvest. Methinks it'd be a good idea to pick a short hill. Obviously with the droughts in the West, that would be a foolhardy thing to do. At least I won't be doing that anytime soon.
|Thanks to Magickalgraphics.|
Midsummer in SwedenNot unsurprisingly, Midsummer celebrations are alive and well in Sweden. A direct descendant of the Viking era solstice celebrations, Midsummer is celebrated with feasts, music, dance, the Maypole, and honoring nature. Not surprisingly, the Church didn't squash the tradition, it merely usurped it and made it the feast of John the Baptist. Midsummer celebrations still has kept their fertility roots, thus hearkening back to the much older tradition. After all, who wants to let something like Christian conversion ruin a good thing?
My Own Midsummer CelebrationSolstices tend to be a special time for me. I'll be cooking a pork tenderloin and maybe make some special foods. I'll be honoring Freyja, Freyja, Sunna, Mani, and Tyr on summer solstice. Perhaps I'll used the time to reflect on what I want to accomplish before hunting season is upon us. I'll make offerings for a safe and fruitful season as well.
I hope you have a good solstice and let me know how you do to celebrate.
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