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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Monday
Jun212010

Happy Summer Solstice

Today's Summer Solstice sun rises over Stonehenge. Image from the Daily Mail

An Invocation of Summer
 
by Patricia Telesco

Fireflies and Summer Sun, 
In circles round we become as one. 
Singing songs at magic's hour 
We bring the winds and timeless power. 
Turning inward, hand to hand 
We dance the hearth to heal our land. 
Standing sacred beneath the Sky 
We catch the fire from out it's eye 
Swaying breathless beside the sea 
We call the Goddess, so Mote it be! 

 

Today is a powerful day. So powerful, in fact, that I awoke at 5:45 am, without a the help of an alarm.  I was alert and alive. Instead of drifting back to sleep, I meditated in my FAR infrared sauna box for 30 minutes, did a little detoxifying skin brushing, took a refreshing shower, then made zucchini oatmeal pancakes and sat down to do a little blogging.

What an amazing way to start the longest day of the year. 

Technically, the Summer Solstice is the exact moment when the Earth's axial tilt is closest to the sun.  That moment occurs at 11:28 this year in the Northern Hemisphere, but rather than celebrating that exact moment, we celebrate the day in which it occurs.  It is the longest day and shortest night of the year, and is also referred to as Midsummer.  Thus, today marks the gradual shift toward shorter days and longer nights as we approach autumn, fall, and winter.  Interestingly, the word solstice derives from Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).

The Druids celebrated the Summer Solstice as "the wedding of heaven and earth". Ancient pagans called the Midsummer moon "the honey moon", and thus brewed mead, a fermented honey beverage (if you ever have the chance to try mead, drink it.  The Redstone Meadery in Boulder, CO makes incredible mead). Midsummer was believed to be a time of magic, when evil spirits may show their faces and cling to unsuspecting souls.  So, European peoples wore garlands or headdresses of protective herbs, including Mugwort, more commonly known as St. John's Wort. Also known as the herb of St. John, it is commonly used today as an anti-depressant.  Other powerful herbs and plants gathered at the time of the solstice are rue, roses, vervain, trefoil, chamomile, geranium, thyme, and penny royal.  Large bonfires were often started to celebrate the Solstice, on which bouquets of these fragrant herbs were thrown, releasing powerful aromas that also helped to ward off evil spirits.  Other cultures around the world have various celebrations for the solstice, honoring fertility and growth, and generally lasting all through the night until sunrise the next day.  

The solstice is also an important time to connect with the land and feed off the natural energy that the sun creates in the plant and animal world. It also creates energy in us! The pineal gland, located in the area referred to as the "third eye" or the Agna (Anja) chakra, is a photosensitive organ. This means that it reacts to light.  I had heard this before, but wanted to do a little more research in order to write about it.  I found a really interesting article here, from which I am pulling this information.  According to the article, when light enters through the retinas in the eyes, it passes through the hypothalamus and along a nerve pathway, ending at the pineal gland, a tiny little pea-sized gland located deep in the middle of the brain.  These nerve impulses inhibit the production of melatonin, a naturally occurring compound that causes drowsiness and lowers body temperature.  In darkness, the hypothalamus is no longer stimulated, and therefore, melatonin is released into the body, which is why you get tired in the dark.  The pineal glad serves as a an important internal timekeeper, and is a key player in the endocrine system, helping to regulate hormonal activity through the body, as well as our natural rhythms of the sleep wake cycle and the aging process. 

In short?

More sunlight = less melatonin = more energy.  Today gives us the opportunity to harness more energy today than on any other day of the year.

How awesome is that? We all say we want more energy, and today we actually have the chance to get it.  

If the pineal gland is the "third eye", also known as the seat of the soul, I challenge that this day is perfect for gaining clarity on our own lives and intentions, and exploring the conditions of our own soul.  What will you do with all this amazing, natural, sun-driven energy? Will you channel it into activities that support your goals, dreams, passions, and support beauty, generosity, and acceptance of yourself and those around you? Now is the the perfect time to shed negative emotions, thought patterns, and habits, and cultivate new traditions and rituals that support these goals.  

May the sun's energy warm our bodies, souls, and minds, and give us the strength to live with good intention and pursue truth in its many forms.

Peace and blessings!

Kim


Sources:
The Daily Mail http://tinyurl.com/2btxs86
Tribe.net http://tribes.tribe.net/eclecticwitch/thread/c745b6be-1eb4-4715-8622-7d9bf6248879
Mystical World Wide Web
http://www.mystical-www.co.uk/solstice/index.htm
Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_solstice
Holistic Web http://www.holisticwebs.com/shengzhen/sun2.html

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Reader Comments (4)

Happy First day of Summer to you as well :)

June 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

Awesome. Happy Solstice to you too. Feels like a special day.YES!

June 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia Biesen

this is so beautiful. love, light, and more light. thanks for posting. happy solstice to you too.

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterelizabeth

I am a sun worshiper and this day is one that is quite different from all the rest. I was not aware of the facts that you mentioned about the various beverages. The challenge for the day is awesome and a person will truly benefit from taking it on.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYoga Teacher Training
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo