This year it’s June 21, at 10:07 GMT and you can figure out the exact time where you are with an easy converter. For us here in PDT in the USA it’s 3:07 AM and I doubt we’ll be up then, but soon afterwards to at least watch the sun rise at it’s northernmost point on the horizon. The reason to celebrate every new sunrise is to express gratitude for the gift of a new day and this day, June 21, marks a particular point in the year. Some call it the beginning of Summer and maybe so astronomically speaking.
Literally, it’s the moment when the “sun stands still” before it starts back in the other direction and for those of us in the north, it is the “longest” day, meaning the most amount of sunlight and marks the official beginning of the season of summer. For our friends in the southern hemisphere, it’s the “shortest day” the least among of sunlight and the beginning of winter.
For half of the year we are inclined toward the sun and for the other half the southern hemisphere has this distinction. Why this makes any difference may be the question so let me offer a brief explanation. It’s almost in the category of “if I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand” but I’ll give it a go anyway.
I am one who follows the sun along the horizon in its northward and southward trek, most often by watching the sun rise or the sun set and this way I have a fairly good idea of where we are in the year, on the planet. I see this solar path that is a result of both rotation and revolution and I sense a deeper connection to the earth and the sun. I happen to love the four seasons and I celebrate each one on the four dates of the two solstices and two equinoxes. The precise day and time is not so critical for me although it happens when the sun reaches its northernmost point from the equator, thus the greatest amount of daylight before we start back the other way.
The lessons for me in all of this can be summed up as follows: It is a very good thing to stand still before changing directions and to know on which axis I’m traveling and why. Secondly, how I let external conditions affect my internal frame of reference informs me about how my response will impact those around me. Finally, while I am “in motion” during each of the seasons, the directions, activities and conditions under which I operate fluctuate appropriately, especially when I am in sync with the sun, the moon and the stars. And maybe, because I am a moon child, and my birthday is a mere three days after solstice, I am even more affected than I even know at the conscious level.
So, Happy Solstice to each of you. It’s another beginning for me, blessed with so many and by so many. What I will make of today, and tomorrow, remains to be seen. My intention, and maybe it can become yours as well, is from one of my favorite, oft-used quotes, attributed to William Penn: “I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”