How Paganism is Good for Men

Lee Kynaston (The Telegraph, UK)

With all the talk about how witchcraft = empowerment for women, here’s something different: “7 things paganism can teach the modern man

It’s in a newspaper, so don’t expect great depth, but at least it means that the Paganism stories now run at the summer solstice, not just at Halloween.

Happy Independence Day & Blessed Be


The Stars and Stripes, a Colorado craft beer, and a Ripley’s witchcraft museum goblet. This is actually the summer solstice celebration, I reckon, delayed two weeks.

I’m kicking back after driving one of my department’s fire trucks in Nearby Town’s 4th 0f July parade. Here is a picture of one of the units pre-parade. Kids and an early Farmall Cub. You couldn’t pose that.

How They Celebrate the Summer Solstice

From 2012, a BBC piece on how Latvians celebrate the summer solstice:

It is not a complicated festival. All you have to do is head out to the countryside, get a fire going, stay up all night waiting for the sun to come up and drink lots and lots of beer – which, I can only assume, is why it is called Ligo, the Latvian word for “sway.”

I have been feeling the energy boost from more sunlight, but I live at just past 38° north, whereas Riga, Latvia’s capital, is at almost 57° north. So even the “shortest night” is longer here.

What do you do?

Solstice at Britain’s Newest Long Barrow

BBC

BBC

How will the archaeologists of the future explain how barrow (also known as as tumulus) building stopped in the Neolithic — and then resumed, 5,500 years later?

We know this one was built on a solar alignment, because the BBC tells us so.

See the barrow under construction here. And yes, dead people.

Saturnalia with the Romans

io-saturnalia

We are in the midst of Saturnalia, so consider this article by Classics scholar Mary Beard on “Five Things the Romans Did at Christmas.”

The headline was just to grab you, because she begins, “OK, the Romans didn’t actually have Christmas. And even Christian Romans didn’t celebrate Jesus’ birthday on 25 December until at least the fourth century AD. ”

Another sample:

A few Roman writers enter into the spirit of the occasion. Catullus, for example, called it “the best of days”. But mostly they were supercilious lot, complaining about the forced jollity and the forced shut-down (just like me . . .!). The philosopher Seneca tut-tuts about all the dissipation and fact that you can’t get any public business done.

I don’t put myself in the same class as Seneca (or Mary Beard), but I will probably be thinking on Thursday that I should go pick up the mail at our little post office . . .

Read the rest. And also what happens when she “takes the show on the road,” so to speak.

Solstice Is Coming, But Summer is Here Now

An exchange on The Wild Hunt as to when the “summer festival season” properly began led a commenter to post this link in response to the statement that summer begins on June 21.

I hear idiot television newspeople (but I repeat myself) saying that all the time at this point in the year.

From The Straight Dope:

There is a widespread misconception in this country–which extends, I might note, to the makers of most calendars, dictionaries, and encyclopedias–that summer “officially” starts on the day of the summer solstice, June 21 or 22, which is the longest day of the year. Americans also believe (1) that there is some valid scientific reason for doing it that way, and (2) that everybody in the Northern Hemisphere does it that way, and always has.

None of these things is true. So far as I have been able to discover, no scientific or governmental body has ever formally declared that summer starts on the solstice. . . . .

“It isn’t really clear how the astronomical definition [i.e., summer starts on the solstice] got started,” says Kevin Trenberth, a climate researcher at the University of Illinois in Urbana. “Although the sun-earth geometry is clearly the origin of the seasons on earth, it has nothing directly to do with temperature or weather.”

He notes that meteorologists define summer simply as June, July, and August. “For practical purposes, the meteorological definition is the best one, being very closely to the [weather] statistics,” he says.

In fact, it appears that June 1 was accepted as the beginning of summer in the United States until relatively recently.

Go the link to read the part about when summer used to be calculated in Ireland—not May 1, as some might think.

The moment of  the summer solstice is 1716 hours UTC, June 21st. Track your solar festivals here.