The Summer Solstice of 2012 falls on June 20, 7:09 P.M. EDT. The sun will rise at 6:28 am and set at 8:26 pm. This is often referred to as ‘the longest day of the year’. It actually means, of course, the day when daylight is the longest. The Summer Solstice has long held an important place for mankind. Structures built to mark the event in Neolithic times still stand. Events and observations are still held around the world, unique to their individual cultures.
I have developed a tradition to mark the Summer Solstice in my own home. It centers around the herb St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum). The common name of St. Johns Wort is believed to have derived from it’s use in European solstice traditions that coincided with the newly set date of the feast of St. John the Baptist. The bright yellow ray like flowers bloom heartily on their small shrubby brushes at this time of year.
One of the properties of St. John’s Wort is that of an herb of protection. European households would suspend the herb over their doorways for protection through out the year. I’m fortunate to have quite a large patch that blooms in the summer on my acreage, so I thought this would be a great way to put what I have at hand to work. I gather a small bundle of the herb at the noon hour closest to the summer solstice, careful to never take more than ¼ of the plants flowers and growth. Bound into a small bouquet, I hang it over the door most used to enter our home. The previous years bundle is burned at the end of the walk way leading to the door. Some years, it burns rather hot, making me grateful for the amount of bad energy it must have stopped at our door!
Regardless of how you observe the summer solstice this year, remember that in doing so, you are connecting to the cycles of the year. You begin looking to the sun, moon and the stars in a whole way.