Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Summer solstice:the hight of power
A summer! How I love the warmth; the constant sunny days. How I love the tick-tick-tick sound of the sprinklers in the evening, and the lazy drone of bee's. Granted the summers here can get pretty darn hot, I still love it.
Soon it will be the Summer Solstice, and with it a ritual that celebrates the sun at the height of it's power and also the loss of that power. Though we celebrate the longest day of the year, from that point on the nights grow longer.
The Welsh have the tradition of the twin brothers, the oak king and the holly king, who do battle at each of the solstices. At the summer solstice the Holly king challenges the Oak king and wins. At the winter solstice the oak king will challenge the holly king and the cycle continues. Desert sage protogrove will be sharing the summer solstice with the local eclectic pagan group. As part of our ritual we shall have a mock battle between the oak king and holly king. With this comes several lessons. First that the act of attaining the height of power also plants the seed for its demise or decline. All things have their natural waxing and waining. We should keep in mind if a spiritual being as powerful as the sun can't maintain the height of his power, how then can we expect ourselves to always be at the height of power? How can we expect nations or governments? The virtuous recognize this, and realize that to fight it is painful, costly, and ultimately futile. The virtuous also realize that which declines will also one day rise up again.
The solstices also teach us that there is a need for balance in nature and in our lives. The summer is a time of great activity. Whether we are living in the city or on the farm, we find our lives busy doing doing doing! This is as it should be. But come winter it will be time to rest. A time for stillness. So many people don't pace their lives this way however. They are busy in the summer, and just as busy in the winter. This is one of the great ways that we modern humans are so out of touch with natural rhythms of life.
I will step into ritual. I shall hail the sun and drink the mead, I shall pound my drum and watch the ritual battle that we all know can end in only one way. I shall smile and dance and rejoice; all the while I will remember the wheel of the year is turning, and the harvest is fast approaching.