The longest day of the year is upon us and many will celebrate as usual. While the traditional celebrations are part of Wiccan traditions and thus religious, there are many solstice celebrations today that are not Wiccan based. Here is an article written by Grove Harris, a writer, speaker and consultant on religious diversity. The article appeared in The Huffington Post (Religion section). Let’s see what she has to say about summer solstice and spiritual journeys.
Summer Solstice and Spiritual Journeys
Celebration may be among a broader spectrum of people, such as the 35,000 who gathered at Stonehenge last year. BBC’s coverage of that event included an interview “with those who appreciate the solstice the most: ‘We believe it is very important for people to move with the cycles of nature, and actually feel them. If you get up early in the morning and you watch that special sunrise, you’ve been a part of it. The rest of the year is shaped by that. And we think it’s a really healthy thing to do, and a very spiritual thing to do.’” And clearly the large crowd shared at least some of this sentiment and journeyed to one of the world’s most renowned sacred spots to observe the sunrise. For those for whom this is a religious practice, there are variations on the rituals or traditions.
Some will burn a Yule wreath in a bonfire; some will dance, drum, sing, and pray. The variations are endless — some rituals may be prescribed and ceremonial, while others will be more spontaneous: all are witnessing the turning of the wheel of the year. People attune themselves to the rhythms of the natural world and invite the seasons of waxing and waning, of birth, growth, death and renewal to reverberate more consciously in their lives.
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This is an very old ritual time dating back to 3000 BC, and the rituals have been passed down from one generation to another. I sometimes attend a solstice celebration that has been going with the same people for over 40 years now. They have their own set of rituals and parties. However, this year I’m going to opt for a pot luck party where people are encouraged to read original poetry or sing original songs. I’m sure the food will be good, and perhaps we will get lucky and have some good entertainment from our neighbors too. It will be another kind of spiritual journey. I’m going to recommend a different kind of book this time, a romantic suspense story just published: Summer Solstice by G.M. Frazier. Very affordable in the Kindel version at $3.99. Great summer reading.