Summer Solstice. The longest day of the year.
Yes we know it's summer but why do we call it solstice?
Because for several days around this time of year the sun rises at the same spot on the horizon and the sun sets at the same spot on the horizon.
The ancients spoke of this experience as 'the time when the sun stands still'.
It's all about perception, isn't it. What do we see? What do we observe? What do we experience. We see the sun rise. We see the sun set. The earth doesn't move, does it? We experience movement through our bodies and what we see is that the things above us in the sky move. Things in the day sky and things in the night sky.
This observation is so powerful, visceral, experiential we still speak of it with the same language used by our ancestors. Solstice.
How often has it happened to you that someone in power and authority, or someone who professes to know more than you do, tries to convince you that what you see, observe and experience is not true?
Forget all the jargon, the convincing arguments, the scientific measurements, the instruments, the text books, etc.
Reconnect with nature, the earth and life around you and allow yourself to know that what you experience is true, perhaps not for others, but for yourself.
Solstice. The sun stands still.
Photo courtesy of James Pritchett - unsplash.com
When was the last time you woke up in the morning early enough to watch the sun rise?
There was a time when all the people knew the songs of life, the songs of the seasons, the songs of the earth and moon and sun.
How long has it been since you sang the sun up? What song would you sing to bring her back each morning?
How do you experience the sun? Is it male? Is it female?
Some of the Northern European tribes spoke about the sun as being female. They called her Sunna, the bringer of life and light, warmth and new growth. Only Sunna could melt the ice of winter. She was pulled across the sky each day in a chariot drawn by horses, Alsvith whose name means All Swift and Arvak whose name means Early Waker. She was chased by the wolf Skoll who sometimes came so close he took a bite out of her.
In the very far north they knew her through the long summers when the sky never darkened and through the long winters when the sky was never light.
Our ancestors in the north had a relationship with the sun that was different from people who came to conquer, a relationship different from the armies of Romans and the monotheistic priests who brought with them a religion born in the desert.
Are we perhaps the first culture to fear the sun, to consider her our enemy? We shield ourselves from her in a strange and fanatic way. We smear our faces and bodies with sunscreen and believe we can spend long hours in her presence without being affected by her. We believe we can override our body’s natural warning system and suffer no harm. We don’t really know the damage caused by sunscreen.
We shield our eyes from her, filtering her light through dark glass, forgetting that it’s vital to our health and well being for the full spectrum of her light to enter our bodies through our eyes. What parts of sunlight are we missing when we wear sunglasses?
We no longer honor the sun. We’ve forgotten her sacred symbols and we’ve forgotten her fair name. We’ve forgotten her rituals and her songs. And few of us remember to welcome her back at winter solstice. There are too many who think only of the birth of a male child who is son to a sky god.
What makes us so sure that she will always rise again? Our ancestors were not so smug.
How is it that in our search for enlightenment we have forgotten to honor the sun?
How is it that in our arrogance we have forgotten that she who gives us light can also blind us?
Before the advent of clocks, people knew what time it was by knowing where the sun was in relationship to features of the landscape. You would have to live in a place a long time to learn where the sun would be at a certain time of day at a certain time of year. This is very different from the arbitrary time determined by clocks that doesn't relate to anything. Forming a relationship with Sowelo can strengthen your relationship with the sun and that will shift your relationship with time.
Do you ever wonder where she goes at night?
What do you see at sunset?
Does she disappear into the earth?
Does she sink down into the ocean?
Who takes care of her and guards her while she's away?
Have you ever dared to follow?
Have you ever asked her in the morning where she’s been all night? Or why she stays away longer in the winter than she does in the summer?
When Sowelo comes to you, what questions might you ask about the sun?
Perhaps you think of the sun as being male, as the Greeks and Roman did. For those of us whose ancestors came from the North, the land of the midnight sun, the land of twilight winters, the sun is female, Sunna, the great mother of warmth and light and growth and I suspect that if we go back far enough we will find that she and the earth and the moon are all sisters.
This morning as I was walking in the Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery in Portland, Oregon I was momentarily blinded by the sun as she rose up out of the earth and appeared between the trunks of several winter-bare trees.
I paused in awe, remembering back to a time when my ancestors rose to greet the sun each morning, humble in their relationship, never assuming at night that she would automatically return.
Here is the poem I wrote for Sunna which can be found in my rune book (un) familiar:
I rise at dawn
to greet you Sunna
singing your song
you grant sight
you blind the arrogant
I rise at dawn
to greet you
When was the last time you rose a dawn to greet the sun?
There are only 3 copies left of the original 33 handmade, limited edition rune books which contain my 33 original poems. Are you called to be a guardian of one of them?
I am available for personal readings and spiritual direction either in person or by phone/FaceTime/Skype. Contact me for more information.
Ingrid, the Rune Woman
Changing Lives With Ancient Wisdom