Posted by: JanF | June 20, 2013

Celebrating the Critters of Summer

Tonight will mark the Summer Solstice. Astronomically, it looks like this:

The Summer Solstice occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. The seasonal significance of the Summer Solstice is in the reversal of the gradual shortening of nights and lengthening of days. That will occur on June 21st at 5:04 UTC (1:04am Eastern, 12:04am Central, 11:04pm June 20th Mountain and 10:04pm June 20th Pacific Time).

Tomorrow the sunrise (near where I live) will be 5:15am and sunset will be 8:29pm … 15 hours and 14 minutes of sunlight. On Winter Solstice, 6 loooong months ago, sunrise was at 7:15am and sunset was at 4:22pm, barely 9 hours of sunlight.

That is all the sciencey stuff. Of course, we know that there is more to it than that.

Twice a year, on the Solstice holidays, Basement Cat and Ceiling Cat are locked in mortal combat over the Light. At Winter Solstice, Ceiling Cat prevails and the light starts returning … gradually at first and then more quickly until the light and dark are equal at the Vernal Equinox.

The daylight continues expanding and then … on Summer Solstice … Basement Cat prevails!!

In the Northern Hemisphere ”summer” comes earlier than the Summer Solstice (the astronomical event).

Solar summer” began in early May, and is the quarter of the year when the most amount of sunlight is entering the northern hemisphere. Astronomical summer essentially marks the midpoint of solar summer.

Meteorological summer” is the warmest quarter of the year based on daily normal temperatures. This exact period varies slightly from place to place; but, in general, meteorological summer starts the first week in June and ends the first week in September

But “early May” and “first week in June” are not precise enough to plan a gathering around so the sun(ning) critters chose today.

Let’s join them in the sun … (don’t forget to hover over the photos!)

The Midsummer, or Litha, is one of the eight pagan festivals or “sabbats” from the Wheel of the Year . It is a “quarter day” along with the equinoxes and the winter solstice. The Summer Solstice is a time for celebration of the abundance of summer.

Midsummer is the time when we celebrate the bounty of the earth and the power of the sun. Our fields are flourishing, fruits are blossoming on the trees, herb bushes are fragrant and full of life.

It’s the time of year when the crops are growing heartily and the earth has warmed up. we can spend long sunny afternoons enjoying the outdoors, and getting back to nature under the long daylight hours.

Lisa Thiel – Litha (The Summer Solstice Song)

I am the fire that burns within your soul
I am the Holy light that fills and makes you whole
I am the Flame within, that never dies
I am the sun that will ever arise

(Chorus)
Power of the Sun we honor you this night
We leap across the fire to keep our spirits bright
Power of the Sun, fire in the night
We leave behind, that which blinds, to restore our sight

I am the fire that clears away the old
I am the holy light that guides you to your soul
I am the Flame Of Love for which you yearn
I am the sun that will always return

To all my pagan and non-pagan friends alike, “A Sunny Solstice to You and may your bonfires burn brightly tonight!!”

(Summer and sun quotes courtesy of GoodReads.com)

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