Today is the summer solstice, or the first day of summer. This is an important celebration and I am told (and have read) this is a time when many rituals issue forth to send positive energies into the months which lie ahead. It is a celebration of the gentle days of summer and hope and blessings for crops, fertility, and the fortune for remaining months of the year. If you are a wee bit fey, you will celebrate wherever you are.
Summer solstice is also known as Midsummer. As per Wikipedia:
The summer solstice (or estival solstice), also known as midsummer, occurs when a planet’s rotational axis, or geographic pole on either its northern or its southern hemisphere, is most inclined toward the star that it orbits. On the summer solstice, Earth’s maximum axial tilt toward the Sun is 23.44°. (Likewise, the Sun’s declination from the celestial equator is +23.44° in the Northern Sky and −23.44° in the Southern Sky.) This happens twice each year (once in each hemisphere), when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the north or south pole.
The summer solstice occurs during the hemisphere’s summer. This is the northern solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the southern solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the summer solstice occurs some time between June 20 and June 22 in the Northern Hemisphere and between December 20 and December 23 each year in the Southern Hemisphere. The same dates in the opposite hemisphere are referred to as the winter solstice.
As seen from a geographic pole, the Sun reaches its highest altitude of the year on the summer solstice. It can be solar noon only along that longitude, which at that moment lies in the direction of the Sun from the pole. For other longitudes, it is not noon. Noon has either passed or has yet to come. Hence the notion of a solstice day is useful. The term is colloquially used like “midsummer” to refer to the day on which solstice occurs. The summer solstice day has the longest period of daylight, except in the polar regions, where daytime remains continuous for 24 hours every day during a period ranging from a few days to six months around the summer solstice….
Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied among cultures, but most recognize the event in some way with holidays, festivals, and rituals around that time with themes of religion or fertility. In some regions, the summer solstice is seen as the beginning of summer and the end of spring. In other cultural conventions, the solstice is closer to the middle of summer.
Solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).
Read more about it here:
BBC Summer solstice 2017: Stonehenge crowds as sun rises
Mirror UK: What is the Summer Solstice 2017? Times, rituals and traditions as Google doodle marks the longest day of the year/Happy Summer Solstice 2017! Get ready – it’s officially the start of summer
Vox: The summer solstice is upon us: 7 things to know about the longest day of the year
The New Yorker: On This Summer Solstice, Be Glad You Live on Earth By Alan Burdick 10:46 A.M.
Learn about Stonehenge on English Heritage.
“This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath…”
― Margaret Atwood, Eating Fire: Selected Poetry 1965-1995