For those living in the Northern Hemisphere the Summer Solstice is celebrated around June 21st. It is the longest day of the year, where the abundance of light outweighs the darkness of night. It is a day that is celebrated around the world. A time when we are not only celebrating the arrival of summer, but also the light of consciousness within us all, which has the opportunity to awaken and spread the light of love all around. The word ‘solstice’ is derived from the Latin for sun (sol) and to stand still (sistere), this describes the movement of the sun across its seasonal path. At the summer solstice, the sun can be described as coming to a momentary stop before changing direction and reversing along its path.
The solstice marks ascension, the victory of light over darkness; not only in the physical world, but also within ourselves. There are many ancient sacred sites around the world which are dedicated to marking the significance of the summer solstice. In Egypt at the peak of the solstice the sun can be seen seemingly to be a crown worn by the great Sphinx. Pagans refer to the time of the summer solstice as midsummer, a time filled with great power when the veil between worlds was thinnest and the fairies were at their most evident. One solstice tradition which has now dies out, involved the lighting of fires. The light from the flames meant to hold off the darkness of the shorter nights which are to come.
Stonehenge has been the site of many thousands of solstice celebrations. This prehistoric wonder which has existed for millennia still holds its mystery. No one can say for certain why it was built, or even how the massive stones were transported and erected by prehistoric man. The only thing that can be known for sure is that is a sacred site of immense religious and cultural significance. The stones are thought to have been placed in their distinctive formation somewhere between 3000 – 2000BC. The placement of the stones allows for them to become almost perfectly aligned with the sun on both the summer and the winter solstice. The summer solstice marks the only day of the year when the light of the rising sun touches the sites central altar.
Thousands of people flock to this ancient site every year, from druids and pagans through to hippies and tourists. All come together to enjoy the energy produced by the combination of the energies of the earth and the sun. Despite the thousands that attend each solstice celebration, the event is always peaceful and filled with positivety and love. New theories are always emerging about the alignment of the great stones. Depending upon where you are positioned within the inner circle you are able to see the sun come into direct alignment with some of the stones, which has to be appreciated as something of a feat of engineering for ancient man.