Look both ways

A look back and forward at the same time.

The solstice was yesterday (June 21), and I am always fascinated by this day. Celebrations near and far still do happen-fires, harvest, and sun worshipers collide.

On the solstice, we are given a reminder to ‘honor’ ancient wisdom and traditions, to celebrate the summer with its abundance of light, warmth, and agricultural bounties. Overall we are much less conscious of the joy of the solstice and its celebrations, festivals, and rituals than days gone by. Our ‘modern’ world does still mark the solstice, and most of us somehow connect (somewhere in the recesses of our brain) that it is a day of celebrating new beginnings.

The simple ‘facts’ of the Solstice are that it is the day sun reaches it’s highest point in the sky all year, “the tilt of Earth’s axis is most inclined towards the sun directly above the Tropic of Cancer.” (http://time.com/5314789/summer-solstice-facts) and so it is one the longest day of the year. It marks the beginning of summer. One of the most well-known celebrations of the summer solstice is at the Neolithic monument of Stonehedge: with many of the theories of this magical prehistoric structure stating it was built to align with the sun. In doing a little research about Stonehedge, I learned a few new things that historians and archeologists are saying about this masterpiece: It took 1,500 years to erect, it is roughly 100 stones, it was possibly a burial ground, some stones are local to the nearby quarries, and yet other stones of the inner ring seem to trace to the Preseli Hills in Wales- some 200 miles away. WOW!  (BTW- want some interesting reading on Stonehedge? click.)

Icarus drawingOn this day I always tend to think of the Mythological story of Icarus, because of the sun. It’s a story of hope, and creative imagination at the beginning, unfortunately, turning into sorrow. Somehow this small Greek Myth has always stayed with me, and although it is kind of sad, I have always liked this myth. I think it’s the soaring free, the wings, flying above it all, the innovation of Daedalus and the spirit of Icarus,  that makes me admire this myth. So, on these summer days, where now, unfortunately, the days are getting shorter, there is still a joy and lightness of summer. Right now the day light is approximately five and half hours longer than that opposite day (i.e the winter solstice) and I’ll take it! Hopefully, we all get some soaring time this summer-with projects, friends, families, maybe some journeys, and always some paths with their twists and turns. With a little luck, your melting will be minimum!

The myth of Icarus:

“Icarus was the son of the famous craftsman Daedalus in Greek mythology. His father was the creator of the Labyrinth, a huge maze located under the court of King Minos of Crete, where the Minotaur, a half-man half-bull creature lived. In order for the secret of the Labyrinth to be kept, Minos had then imprisoned Daedalus and Icarus in a tower above his palace. Daedalus managed to create two sets of wings for himself and his son, that were made of feathers glued together with wax. He taught Icarus how to fly and warned him not to fly too high, which would cause the wax to melt, nor too low, which would cause the feathers to get wet with sea water. Together, they flew out of the tower towards freedom. However, Icarus soon forgot his father’s warnings, and started flying higher and higher, until the wax started melting under the scorching sun. His wings dissolved and he fell into the sea and drowned. The area of the sea where he fell took the name Icarian Sea after him, while a nearby island was named Icaria.”