Saturday, May 23, 2020

Summer Solstice


This week of quarantine I started venturing from my apartment into the warm sunshine—looking at the community garden and sitting on the bench by the water fountain. I even went to the park that had been taken over by the ducks. The sun is not only good for crops it's good for humans too. 

The ancient Britts knew this. Going all the way back to the Neolithic tribes, they celebrated the amber fireball in the sky at the Summer Solstice. They even built monuments, such as Stonehenge, that framed the rising or setting of the Sun on the solstices. 

Later the Bronze Age and Iron Age Celts also celebrated the sun on the longest day of the year with festivals. The word Solstice comes from the Latin sol meaning sun and sisto which means to stand still. But Alban Hefin, the name the Druids gave to the Summer Solstice means the Light of the Shore or Light of Summer. The shore because it’s where the elements of land, water and sky meet, which the druids considered a place that’s in-between worlds, and the light of the summer because that’s when it shines at its broadest.
The Druids saw the Summer Solstice as a time to open up a path towards light and abundance and banish evil spirits through the light of the sun. They’d pray for a good harvest, as it was halfway through the growing season. Also, as the Summer Solstice was seen as a time of change, nature, and new beginnings it was associated with fertility. Feasting and dancing took place and bonfires were lit in celebration. And lovers traditionally clasped hands and leaped over bonfires. Some believed the higher the couple jumped, the higher their crops would grow. The ancient Celts also told and acted out the legend of the Oak King versus the Holly King. On the 21st of June - the Oak King is at his strongest. But his power gradually weakens until the Winter Solstice on December 21 when the Holly King reigns again.
In many regions (especially Europe), June 24 marks the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvest, and is called Midsummer. People also have festivals for Midsummer where they feast, dance, and sing.
This year, 2020, the Summer Solstice takes place in the Northern Hemisphere on Saturday, June 20th at 5:44 eastern time. The Farmer’s Almanac has a sunrise and sunset calculator at  to calculate  how many hours of sunshine you’ll get in your location on the solstice.

The fourth book in my Druidry and the Beast series, The Unicorn and the Druidess, takes place during the Summer Solstice.

At Summer Solstice people aren’t what they seem—they could be… a unicorn …a god…or someone you fall in love with

Druidess Maelona pursues a unicorn into the woods and returns with a runaway slave boy she takes under her wing. Before she can go back to look for the unicorn, a handsome stranger ignites a fiery attraction within her. But she can tell he's keeping something from her. She suspects that he may be a Roman spy.

God Epon’s blood burns at first sight of the gorgeous Druidess. Goaded by his desire for her he passes through the portal from the otherworld as a unicorn. Then he runs into the forest and she gives chase. There he shapeshifts into human form so he can get to know her better. Plus, to win her trust, he fights the Romans and saves her tribe. But even then, will he and Maelona be able to overcome the surmountable odds of a romance between a mortal and immortal being anything more than a summertime tryst?