Monday, 20 June 2016

Strawberries and the Solstice!

The Summer Solstice...

The veil is thin and spirits can walk between the living and the dead during Midsummer’s Eve - from the shortest night into the longest day. It was (is) thought to be a brief time when the spirits were (are) most powerful. (is/ are - some people still harbour similar beliefs) 

This is one reason why the Summer Solstice (and indeed the other winter one) was important to the ancient tribes of northern Britannia that I write about. They may not have named it solstice - from the Latin word solstitium meaning standing still -  but the ancient peoples of Britain certainly knew when it would occur and they looked forward to the turning of the sun. After the festival of the solstice they knew that the day’s length (time of daylight) would get shorter and though the crops were not yet ready to lift they would watch the ripening process with joy and awe because, as farmers, their crops were their livelihood and food stores for the coming winter.

Today as I write this, June 20th 2016, the sunrise for me at my location was at 04.12 though I wasn’t awake to see it. Sunset is due at 22.10 and I’m sure to be awake for that.

I’ve written before about the Summer Solstice but I’ve not had the occasion to couple that with the rarer happening this 2016. The full moon of this June is named as a Strawberry Moon… I’ve read that the moon will not appear a strawberry colour but that if the sky is clear enough it may glow an amber colour due to its position low in the sky and close to the horizon. I look forward to that.  The term Strawberry moon for the June Full Moon was, apparently, coined by the Algonquin tribes of North America as it was the point at which they expected their strawberry crops to be sufficiently ripened to pick them.

I’m afraid my strawberries aren’t quite there yet!

I read HERE that the Algonquin also had names for the Full Moons of the other months, as did many other Native American Indian tribes.

In Europe the name for the June Full Moon was the rose moon, the hot moon and sometimes the honey moon as it was thought to be the best time to collect honey.

The combination of the June Full Moon and the Solstice occurring on the same night has not happened since 1967. 

Back then it was a Tuesday and I was probably listening to a Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum since it was in the top 5 hits. The film The Dirty Dozen had recently been released and I’m sure my sister and her boyfriend, who later became my brother-in-law, would have been at the cinema watching that. Though I loved to watch movies on T.V., a cinema visit wasn’t high on my priority list at that time. 

Do you remember what you were doing back then? 

Whatever, enjoy the Summer Solstice and the Strawberry Moon. 


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