Thursday, June 21, 2007

The longest day

..of the year is today, the Summer solstice. It's the longest day of the year, also the shortest night. It is a time for celebration, for the ripeness of the earth and warmth of the sun, for the life and bounty it brings.

Author Kim Antieau has a lovely blessing for the solstice that I'll share with some friends tonight; gratitude, affirmation, healing, blessing, giving.

More than 20 years ago I spent Midsummer in Sweden. Everywhere we went were maypoles, decked with ribbons and flowers for dancing. Everywhere we went was green -- sprigs of green leaves, branches of trees, bunches of flowers and grasses. Every boat in the water had its green boughs lashed to the front. Every house sported wreaths or boughs on the doors. The city was pretty much shut down because everyone had left for their country retreats for Midsummer.

It is dark there in the winter -- the sun comes up in the late morning and goes down in the early afternoon. The Swedes who are in cities live in an economy of space -- small apartments, little houses, and clean design.

And nearly every one of them has a retreat somewhere in the country. Boats are popular -- there is so much water! They love the green, the sunshine, the return of the warmth and light, and they celebrate it long, loudly, and heartily, dancing and drinking and singing.

This is the heart of summer, today and these next few days. Little by little, days will begin to shorten and head toward the darkness and cold of winter. It's a cycle, as is all of life, and it goes 'round in a wheel, a continous circle of cycles of lightness and dark, of life and death, of rebirth and aging.

This is a day to mark the cycle and honor the Great Wheel as it turns; to honor the seasons and cycles in our own lives; to re-evaluate and heal. Thanks be. Blessed be.

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