Solstice. There’s something intriguing about that word. Solstice…
1) Astronomy .
a) either of the two times a year when the sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator: about June 21, when the sun reaches its northernmost point on the celestial sphere, or about December 22, when it reaches its southernmost point. Compare summer solstice, winter solstice.
b) either of the two points in the ecliptic farthest from the equator.
2) a furthest or culminating point; a turning point.
So by this definition, a solstice isn’t just a seasonal event concerning the hours of daylight. A solstice is a turning point. One might even venture to say it is a climax. Think about that for a minute. The days leading up to the summer solstice are getting longer and longer, building and building. After the solstice, those hours fall. Same thing with the winter solstice, but reverse the daylight thing. Solstices have been extremely important for thousands of years. The Ancient Greeks used the solstices to honor their gods and goddesses, other cultures doing the same. Mythology seems to use solstices as a focal point, concentrating its energy into the brightest and darkest days of the year, the two days where the most magic occurs. Shakespeare is a great example of this. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we can all agree, is a very famous play, and takes place on the summer solstice. Magic and trickery abound in the story of four lovers, and the mischievous faeries who cause all the trouble. Vice versa, the winter solstice is usually regarded as a night of darkness and despair, when the world of the dead, or the world of spirits, was closest to our own. Start thinking of the solstices not as regular days where there just so happens to be more or less daylight than any other day of the year, but instead as turning points, new beginnings.
Happy summer solstice!