Today marks the official first day of summer!
I got an email this morning from the Joseph Campbell Foundation MythBlast about the Summer Solstice. Here is an excerpt:
The celebration of the Summer Solstice is one of humanity's oldest mythological traditions, as evidenced by the many ancient ceremonial centers around the world that contain structures intentionally designed to align with the sun on the solstice.
Stonehenge, constructed in several phases between 3000 and 1600 BC., includes elements that align with the summer sun at sunrise, midday, and sunset on the solstice. Half a world away a statue of the Buddha, seated within a stupa, in Cave 26 of the Ajanta Cave complex in India (which was carved out of the cliff face between 200 BC and AD 600), is illuminated at dawn on the summer solstice by the rays of the rising sun.
In the northern hemisphere, the waxing of the light born at the Winter Solstice reaches its full extent at Summer Solstice; this is traditionally a time of great joy and celebration of the powers of life. Known as Midsummer in several European traditions, at the solstice fairies are said to be particularly active, dreams more potent, and love is in the air (themes central, no surprise, to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream).
Even though daylight begins to wane after the Solstice, all know that summer will come again.
Here at Space for Breath, we are also aware that the beginning of summer marks the transition from the Wood to the Fire Element in Taoist Alchemy (more on this later).
On a personal level, I am so happy to celebrate this season! Last night my students performed their culminating school year event, including plays of what we had learned that year, parents and special guests, and lots of food (and lots of stress). Now I have a two week break before the summer program starts in July.
I am also grateful that I am in a much better place this summer than I was this time last year: http://heroicthinking.blogspot.com/2012/06/first-day-of-summer.html
And as a summer baby, I am excited to celebrate my birthday in the middle of next month!
What do you all think? What changes will summer bring for you?