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Posts Tagged ‘summer solstice’

I’m feeling confused in this festive season. For more than half my life it’s been my practice to celebrate the Summer solstice in preference to Christmas, yet this year the two seem to have conflated into a muddled mixture lacking clarity.

Our long-standing ritual group met socially with minimal acknowledgement of the season. I attended a Solstice ritual with another group who usually fulfill my spiritual needs to mark the turning of the year’s wheel, yet found that ceremony to have more of a Christian focus than I would choose.

Summer Solstice altar

All around me there are symbols of Christmas with carols in many quarters. I know and enjoy those that tell traditional stories such as Good King Wenceslas and We Three Kings, although I long for more mention of Mary and appreciated the Facebook joke that suggested some people wait until Mary’s waters have broken before doing their Christmas shopping.

When I was younger my favourite carol was Te Harinui, because it spoke of a summer Christmas in my own land. Raised consciousness has revealed its colonial prejudices and it’s understandably years since I’ve heard it in public.

Yesterday was the Longest Day, and the hottest at over 30°. I met a friend for an early morning tea, then Stephen and I enjoyed a walk around the central city with lunch at Riverside Market. We chanced to meet an old friend whom I’ve not seen for years. Usually we would have hugged, but in these virus-aware times we refrained. Life is so different now with masks, signing in, and vaccine passes. My immediate circle manages to avoid consumer excesses, with gifts that are kind to the earth.

This is the time to enjoy summer fruits, especially cherries and apricots. Sadly last week’s heavy rain has wrecked many of these crops – climate crisis impacting on our seasonal treats.

Summer Solstice is when we consider what we’ve achieved over the past year. In 2021 it seems the main achievement for all of us has been survival. Stephen and I consider ourselves fortunate to have come through the year with physical and mental health intact and without financial worries. So many others have been less fortunate.

Next year is again uncertain. Omicron will inevitably move into our community and the climate crisis looms ever larger. Meantime, a blackbird is nesting in our banksia rose, and piwakawaka flit about the garden. We sit outside in the warmth, enjoying the shade and breeze, and appreciating the present moment.

Can you identify the reason
we have to celebrate the season?

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Part of the Christmas fun in the central city is Santa’s sleigh, parked on the ground floor of The Crossing.  As we approached it there were several elves in Santa hats sitting inside, but they quickly disappeared.  A sign warned that feeding or riding on the reindeer is strictly forbidden, but people are welcome to sit in the sleigh for photos (how could I resist?).

Ruth in Santa’s sleigh

I’m always pleased to see free family entertainment like this.  If you’re planning to bring children into town there’s also Ballantyne’s window with the story of Santa’s Lost Letter.  All lots of fun, but I wish there was more acknowledgement of the Summer Solstice at this time of year.

We can enjoy the festive season
for me, mid-summer is the reason

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The Summer Solstice is a time of fullness, when we contemplate what we’ve achieved during the year.  Our group met yesterday to do just that and to share our hopes for the year to come.

Solstice Altar

Solstice Altar

In the evening I went to the Transitional Cathedral for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.  Because of my role at Volunteering Canterbury I’d been asked to read one of the lessons, which came from the Prophet Isaiah.  (My only memory of this Prophet is that he had his lips cleansed with a burning coal.)

The juxtaposition of these two rituals reminded me of the Easter Sunday in 2006 when we visited both Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge.  It all goes to show that there are many roads to the theosophical Truth.

The actual summer solstice is tomorrow, and today’s forecast is for 33 degrees.  Tomorrow may be longer, but I hope it’s not hotter!

Happy Solstice and Merry Christmas to all my readers.

“Whatever the beliefs you hold
I wish you blessings manifold.”

 

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These sunflowers make a perfect symbol for the Summer Solstice.

Sunflowers in the Restart Mall

Sunflowers in the Restart Mall

The weather here’s been ideal for a traditional summer holiday – very warm, with temperatures in the high twenties.  It feels like midsummer.

This is the time of year when we celebrate fullness and achievement.  Many in Christchurch find our greatest achievement is to have survived another year of uncertainty.  We look forward to the new year and hope to see the birth and blossoming of a new city.

“What will twenty thirteen bring here?
We hope our future may be clear.”

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