Summer Solstice

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Anonymous

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#1
Well I guess alot of people are going to Stonehenge this weekend to celebrate the Summer Solstice, so thought I'd post this to say Happy Summer Solstice to our pagan friends (even tho its not til Monday officially).

Dunno if anyone is going down there (I want to go check it out but can't), but if you are, have a good time. :)
 
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#2
The in-laws live v. near the stones and we were down there visiting them today. It didn't seem too busy (yet!) as in previous years (when we lived there) it was heaving with travellers and hippies and daytrippers etc. for a week or so before (and after) the Solstice. We saw a few people in Amesbury and by the Countess Roundabout . The Wiltshire Constabulary are out and about.

Whatever you're up to this Solstice have fun!
 

rynner2

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#3
Well, 2004 is many years ago now, but the good old Sun keeps rolling around its regular path in the sky, and reaches the summer solstice for 2015 tomorrow, Sunday 21st, at 1737 BST.

Well, its path is regular relative to the Earth's poles and equator, but it shifts slightly against the fixed stars because of the precession of the equinoxes, a cycle of about 26,000 years.

So much for the science. The longest day is also a time for various traditional celebrations, and no doubt a crowd of pseudo-druids will gather as usual at Stonehenge (and other places) to watch the sunrise, at about 0510 BST.

In my last flat, I rarely got to see sunrise, as it had no windows on the east side. The exception was around midummer when, if I stuck my head out of my NW facing bedroom window and looked to my right, I could catch SR for a few days around midsummer, when the sun rises in the NE. (This is generally true for much of Britain.)

So, any plans for tomorrow, or any stories?
 

rynner2

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#4
R4 on iPlayer:

Inebriate of the Air

Samira Ahmed celebrates the bright, airy pleasures of Midsummer.
"Inebriate of air am I,
And debauchee of dew,
Reeling, through endless summer days,
From inns of molten blue."

The longest day of the year has been marked, especially in Northern climes, with bonfires, games and songs. Many of these rituals have faded over time but the sense of exhilaration of light and air and richness of the natural world still resonates. In literature this time of year is often an associated with magic and love: think of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. There's a sense of possibility and optimism that might extend us beyond the mundane and, in the poem from which the title of this programme is taken, Emily Dickinson describes it as a kind of spiritual intoxication.
The programme also includes readings from the work of Tove Jansson and RS Thomas as well as a new commission from the poet Jen Hadfield who sends us a postcard from the "Simmer Dim" of Shetland inspired, in part, by the Nikolai Astrup painting, Vårnatt i hagen. It is the image used for this programme page and is provided by Kode Art Museums of Bergen (DAG FOSSE/KODE/SPAREBANKSTIFTELSEN DNB).
The readers are Samuel Barnett, Natasha Gordon and Jen Hadfield.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05zc8hr
 

skinny

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Shortest day round here. My eldest and I marked the occasion with the mass sacrifice of jelly snakes. Sun sets in about 2 minutes. (5:01pm)

... That was great. It was a spectacular sunny day. Now back to bed. Night all.
 

rynner2

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Shortest day round here. My eldest and I marked the occasion with the mass sacrifice of jelly snakes. Sun sets in about 2 minutes. (5:01pm)
Ah yes, that's the 'down' side of this solstice business!

SS here today is 2134 BST (and even later for other parts of Britain).
 

rynner2

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Looks like we ignored the 2016 Solstice.

So here we are now in 2017. The actual Solstice is tomorrow, 21st of June, at 0424 GMT (UT).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_solstice

So you can post any boring stories of pseudo-druids cavorting at Stonehenge here, But it would be good to get some input on the lesser-known midsummer traditions.

And then the days start getting shorter, and before you know it it's Christmas again! :twisted:
 

JamesWhitehead

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#9
"The men stood terrified, and fascinated; and Bangle, gazing, bade, 'God bless 'em.' A crash followed as if the whole of the timber in the kloof was being splintered and torn up; strange and horrid forms appeared from the thickets; the men ran as if sped on the wind—they separated, and lost each other. Plant ran towards the old house, and there, leaping the brook, he cast a glance behind him, and saw terrific shapes—some beastly, some part human, and some hellish, gnashing their teeth, and howling, and uttering the most fearful and mournful tones, as if wishful to follow him but unable to do so."

Part of the dramatic climax to a local tale set on Saint John's Night in Boggart Hole Clough.

Three friends go there to gather fern-seed for a love-charm.

Bracken (Pteris aquilina) is sometimes called "brake" or "female fern". The minute spores of this fern were reputed to confer invisibility on their possessor if gathered at the only time when they were said to be visible, i.e., on St. John’s Eve at the precise moment at which the saint was born

The beastly shapes unleashed sound very like the amazing animation in Fantasia. A Night on the Bare Mountain by Mussorgsky

The full title is sometimes given as Saint John's Night on the Bare Mountain, for it was a Russian belief that at the Summer Solstice, the dead arose from their graves and gathered on the mountain. This sequence is notorious for having given children nightmares.

I showed it to some classes recently who found it weird and disturbing still. I think the horror comes from the way it is pure shape-shifting, allowing no sense of identification or escape. :cry:
 

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#10
Looks like we ignored the 2016 Solstice.

So here we are now in 2017. ...
People won't be bothered to note the approaching summer solstice until it becomes common to complain about all the solstice displays and advertising emerging ever closer to the preceding vernal equinox. :evil:


... And then the days start getting shorter, and before you know it it's Christmas again!
(Ahem ... ) That would be the winter solstice again, at which point you may well need to get in gear and make preparations for that other December holiday a couple of days thereafter. :cool:
 

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#12
I'm away working, but I got a message from my girlfriend yesterday evening telling me she and her friend and their kids are dropping everything and going to Stonehenge to see the solstice sunrise. They had a great time (and we're all apparently interviewed live on Wiltshire radio). Wish I could have been there. Next year perhaps.
 

PeteByrdie

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I'm away working, but I got a message from my girlfriend yesterday evening telling me she and her friend and their kids are dropping everything and going to Stonehenge to see the solstice sunrise. They had a great time (and we're all apparently interviewed live on Wiltshire radio). Wish I could have been there. Next year perhaps.
It's probably bad form to quote oneself. Anyway, I went this year. My first time at Stonehenge. The stones were amazing, the atmosphere amazing, the sunrise was amazing. It was blinking cold though.
 

onetwothree

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#17

Ermintruder

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Now: I'm sure someone will know the answer to this. Either really already, or shortly via online searches (I've tried, and failed so far).

Why is Midsummer's Day (or Eve, or Night, whatever) ie the Summer Solstice observed around 21-25June, also categorised as being the start of summer? Wikipedia rather-unhelpfully states that it's....

the ancient middle of Summer, beginning of Astronomical summer, and the nativity of St. John the Baptist.
...therefore, perhaps I'm asking....why did "ancient summer" apparently commence 6 weeks earlier(?) than the astronomical start of summer that we've all got printed in our calendars/year-planners?

And I think we'd all agree that the title "A Startsummer Night's Dream" doesn't really have a lot going for it....

[IGNORE]If I didn't not know (but I do) I'd've almost been tempted to guess....that....this...all....might've been something to do with the precession of the equinoxes....? Except it isn't. Despite the fact that the terminology sort-of nearly fits. But not properly[/IGNORE]
 

EnolaGaia

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... therefore, perhaps I'm asking....why did "ancient summer" apparently commence 6 weeks earlier(?) than the astronomical start of summer that we've all got printed in our calendars/year-planners? ...
Seasons are something of a culturally-ascribed overlay on the astronomical calendar, just as (e.g.) "evening" isn't a specific area on a clock..

I can't speak for all ancient calendar traditions, but one explanation is readily at hand from Gaelic tradition ...

The Beltane observation (early May) marked the beginning of "summer" in that tradition's calendar scheme.
 
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#21
A Solstice Handfasting.

American couple hold summer solstice wedding on the Hill of Tara

The pair made good their promise on Friday morning and held a wedding ceremony on the Hill of Tara just as the sun was coming up over the eastern horizon on the longest day of the year.

They picked a beautiful morning for it with not a cloud in the sky. “We brought the sun with us,” he said.

They had a traditional Celtic handfasting service in which braided ribbons were wrapped and tied around their hands.

They chose eight ribbons, each one representing the eight children they have from previous relationships.

Local interfaith minister Enda Donnellan agreed to do the ceremony. The wedding party consisted of 10 relatives of the couple who proceeded up the hill 30 minutes before the sun rose. By the time they got to the top of the hill, there were 30 more people there who had gathered separately for the solstice.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ire...olstice-wedding-on-the-hill-of-tara-1.3933401
 

Newt

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#23
Seasons are something of a culturally-ascribed overlay on the astronomical calendar, just as (e.g.) "evening" isn't a specific area on a clock..

I can't speak for all ancient calendar traditions, but one explanation is readily at hand from Gaelic tradition ...

The Beltane observation (early May) marked the beginning of "summer" in that tradition's calendar scheme.
This is something I have discussed with people before.

I dont know about other countries, but here in England the seasons starting at the cross-quarter festivals always made more sense that at the quarters.

At the beginning of Feb we get the first flowers, the snowdrops and stuff.
Around May everything seems to explode, the hedgerows go crazy. Everything is just growing huge.
At the beginning of Aug, thats it, everything seems more or less done. Everything is going to seed.
Around the begining of Nov its all over. Pretty much everything is finished. It all dies back, waiting for Feb when it all starts again.

I know that is very simplistic, but I can actually smell a change in the air around those days. An actual physical change, like one door has swung shut and another has opened.

I never understood solstice being the start of summer. To me it is the high point of the season. Summer at its fullest extent.
The same with winter solstice and the equinoxes.

People have argued with me, saying that jan feb and march are the coldest, so they must be winter, as though hot and cold are the definitions of the seasons. And I suppose that is fair enough, if that how they see it and how it makes sense to them. But for me the changing of the seasons is all about what the world is doing, and that smell in the air, that smells of spring, or summer.
 
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#24
A Solstice Handfasting.

American couple hold summer solstice wedding on the Hill of Tara

The pair made good their promise on Friday morning and held a wedding ceremony on the Hill of Tara just as the sun was coming up over the eastern horizon on the longest day of the year.

They picked a beautiful morning for it with not a cloud in the sky. “We brought the sun with us,” he said.

They had a traditional Celtic handfasting service in which braided ribbons were wrapped and tied around their hands.

They chose eight ribbons, each one representing the eight children they have from previous relationships.

Local interfaith minister Enda Donnellan agreed to do the ceremony. The wedding party consisted of 10 relatives of the couple who proceeded up the hill 30 minutes before the sun rose. By the time they got to the top of the hill, there were 30 more people there who had gathered separately for the solstice.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ire...olstice-wedding-on-the-hill-of-tara-1.3933401
Bad news.

Jeff Olsen and Anna Lisa Van Bloem are offering a reward for the return of their wedding photos and video

Following their summer solstice wedding at the Hill of Tara, newlyweds Jeff Olsen and Anna Lisa Van Bloem are appealing for the return of their wedding video and photographs after their photographer’s car was robbed the day after the celebrations.

https://www.irishcentral.com/news/robbed-hill-of-tara-wedding
 
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