A Solstice Celebration

Today we are play­ing a wide vari­ety of cel­e­bra­to­ry music from Celtic, Tibetan, Native Amer­i­can and Euro­pean tra­di­tions. As we approach the longest day of the year, cul­tures all over the world recog­nise the SUN and its life-giv­ing ener­gy and light. All cel­e­brate this time in one way or anoth­er and it has a vari­ety of mean­ings.

In our Euro­pean cul­ture, the pagans and wic­cans believe that the Sum­mer Sol­stice is the day of the year when the veil is its thinnest between the world of the Fae (Fairies, Ele­men­tals etc) and our­selves.

The fes­ti­val is pri­mar­i­ly a Celtic fire fes­ti­val, rep­re­sent­ing the mid­dle of sum­mer, and the short­en­ing of the days on their grad­ual march to win­ter.

Mid­sum­mer is tra­di­tion­al­ly cel­e­brat­ed on either the 23rd or 24th of June, although the longest day actu­al­ly falls around the 21st. The impor­tance of the day to our ances­tors can be traced back many thou­sands of years, and many stone cir­cles and oth­er ancient mon­u­ments are aligned to the sun­rise on Mid­sum­mer’s Day. Prob­a­bly the most famous align­ment is that at Stone­henge, where the sun ris­es over the Heel Stone, framed by the giant trilithons on Mid­sum­mer morn­ing.

In antiq­ui­ty, mid­sum­mer fires were lit in high places all over the coun­try­side, and in some areas of Scot­land Mid­sum­mer fires were still being lit well into the 18th cen­tu­ry. This was espe­cial­ly true in rur­al areas, where the weight of Ref­or­ma­tion think­ing had not been thor­ough­ly assim­i­lat­ed. It was a time when the domes­tic beasts of the land were blessed with fire, gen­er­al­ly by walk­ing them around the fire in a sun-wise direc­tion. It was also cus­tom­ary for peo­ple to jump high through the fires, folk­lore sug­gest­ing that the height reached by the most ath­let­ic jumper would be the height of that year’s har­vest.

Today’s music cel­e­brates the fecun­di­ty, fer­til­i­ty and abun­dance of all that is present dur­ing Mid­sum­mer. Hap­py Sol­stice!!!

  • From the Library is pro­duced by Radio Riel in con­junc­tion with the Cale­don Library in Sec­ond Life, to inform, edu­cate and enter­tain. Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Soliel Snook. You can lis­ten to the pro­gramme now at http://music.radioriel.org .
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