Starting Today

{ hol-i-day }
 1. a day fixed by law or custom on which ordinary business is suspended in commemoration of some event or in honor of some person. 
 2. of or pertaining to a festival; festive; joyous: a holiday mood.
Oh by no means is it an altogether recognized “holiday” to most people. But I am not most people, and The First Day of Summer is, in every above sense of the word, a holiday to me. In my private little sphere of existence, and in a place where four sense-able seasons are not just folklore (R.I.P. Southern Cal), the arrival of summer is like being born again. There is no season which makes me feel more alive, and more grateful to be so, than does summer. It is amongst the lush green grass, the trees voluptuous with leaves and life, the buzzing of bees and the smell of barbeque coals, all whilst drinking in the buttery rays of sunlight, that I feel most assured of the good that is to come my way.
 June 21st marks the beginning of the annual Summer Solstice. “Sol” + “stice” is derived from the Latin words meaning “sun” + “to stand still.” As days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky. As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. Ancient cultures like the Celtic Druids found just cause for celebration in this, the beginning of longer days. The Druids’ celebrated this day as the “wedding of Heaven and Earth” (isn’t it marvelous?!) with their Fire Festival of Litha. Today, modern Pagan cultures gather at Stonehenge where they light a sacred fire and stay up all night to welcome the dawn of Summer Solstice. Now, I cherish my personal religious dogma with all my heart. But Oh Delilah… I’d venture to say there’s a little Druidess in me, absolutely, because I so wish that I could light a fire and dance around naked with flowers in my hair, celebrating the summer. Unfortunately, I haven’t gone to the gym in eons and nobody would appreciate seeing that.

Even though I don’t dance around naked to show my appreciation for summer (not in public, anyway), I absolutely can relate to those Druid’s enamoration for it. It’s not just the warmth and the aesthetics of summer that promote that feeling “so like perfect happiness, that it [can] bear no other name”. It’s what summer implores simply in it’s be-ing: that unparalleled feeling of bohemian freedom that faithfully dawns with each summer morning. Granted, the tangibility of that freedom has been somewhat diminished with the responsibilities of adulthood. But there is still something about this season that makes me feel like I could do or be anything and that all the universe would conspire in my favor. If only there were a way to capture that feeling forever and live a little off of it each day of each remaining season.

What other season can claim days characterized by mirth and governed by sunshine? Or nights christened with starrier canvases, dreamier repose, and promises of a bright tomorrow? None, I tell you. Summer is intoxication in its most alluring form. “Be awake and alive as much as you can“, I tell myself, because I don’t want to miss even one second of it. And therefore sleep comes only because the sun has acquiesced to Rest and therefore so shall I.
Nothing puts me in a holiday mood, Pagan or not, the way summer does. Happy First Day of Summer to you. May you make as much of your summer as it implores you to!
I know I absolutely, positively will.

Peace and Love.

Solstice Sources:

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