It is summer, it is the solstice
the crowd is
cheering, the crowd is laughing
~ William Carlos Williams
The crowd at the ball game
Summer days are often seen as days for play, for enjoying the sheer pleasure of being alive. The Summer Solstice is the epitome of that sensation. Long with light, hopeful with warmth and growth, it embraces us with its energy.
William Carlos Williams captures this wonderfully: the crowd is laughing in detail, permanently, seriously, without thought. What great language! I've never thought about laughing in detail. Have you? Laughter is without words and so seems without detail. Yet, on Solstice, in the high energy of sun and celebration, laughter itself becomes the detail, the expression of sheer joy.
Why is the Summer Solstice important? It's been marked by civilizations at least since Stonehenge was built over 5000 years ago. It's one of the four seasonal markers everyone recognizes throughout the year, and one of eight celebrated on the pagan calendar. It's been a marker of the cycles, as well as the passage, of time far longer than any printed calendar or designed timepiece.
Every civilization uncovered and studied by anthropologists shares one thing in common. Some anthropologists refer to it as the search for the Divine. Others simply call it a search for explanations and meaning. Yet each civilization left remnants and reminders of its expression of the Divine and its rites and rituals, generally through icons and images.
It's that continuity that brings Willliams' words to light and life: laughing in detail, permanently, seriously, without thought. No matter the what or how of the celebration, the energy of it seems to be ingrained into us, into our culture, into the fabric of who we are. In the midst of the energies bouncing around in the world today, finding ways to release ourselves from their bondage by reintegrating the ancient laughter is vital.
How will/do you celebrate the Summer Solstice? What is your earliest recall of acknowledging the energy of this day? How have people in your personal lineage celebrated it? in your cultural lineage? in the lineage of your heritage?