Thursday, June 13, 2013

Keep it simple

The color is all wrong here. I can't get it right, no matter how I try. These lilies, in real life, are deep mahogany.

Summer solstice is right around the corner. In the Reyaverse, solstice is a time of concentrated energy, worthy of my attention. In summer, the denseness of energy is the result of an overabundance of light. There is such a thing, there is.

I loved the Reclaiming beach rituals for the solstices. At summer solstice there was a wicker man, always home made and homely, if elaborate, at the center of a rather large fire circle. The effigies were huge some years, sometimes more modest. It depended completely on who volunteered to make it.

We brought to the ritual the stuff we were ready to say goodbye to. We brought symbols of ended relationships and life eras now concluded, also mundane odds and ends like the stubs of wax left after the candle has burned out, old spells and such. We decorated the wicker man with our stuff.

There were always lots of roses at those rituals, roses on the wicker man, also there was always a rose wreath that was passed around the circle after the wicker man had begun to burn. To gaze through the wreath at the solstice fire would give us clear vision through the darkening half of the year.

Very cool.

Even cooler, just as the sun set into the Pacific, an archer strapped a sparkler onto an arrow, lit the sparkler, then sent the arrow into the sky, up then down towards the western horizon. I loved watching the sparkler soar through the sky. Also loved the sound of the arrow as it was released from the bow. There is music in archery, for sure.

It was an elegant send off for Brother Sun. The years when the burning man's fire sputtered out just as the sun set were especially magical. Sometimes, though, that fire burned on and on, in which case the drummers would start up and people would dance around for awhile.

I was never that great as a pagan for many reasons. I'm too uptight, I guess. I did not enjoy dancing naked around a campfire at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Even considering the peer pressure at those gatherings, I mostly kept my clothes on. The rituals were held on the beach at the foot of Taravel Street which runs right through the middle of the Sunset district. It was hardly private.

That was then and this is now. I still dance with the solstice. I like to sit on the west steps of the Capitol, fully clothed, watching Brother Sun sink down behind the monuments, the river and Arlington National Cemetery. There is no archer, no sparkler salute. There is no burning man. The Pacific Ocean is 3,000 miles away.

I celebrate the solar year in a quiet way these days. I'm far better suited to it, and Brother Sun doesn't seem to mind the form of my worship. It's the sincerity of observance that matters, not the structure.

Let there be light! Shalom.


Meri said...

My favorite summer solstice memory comes from Paris. . . something like 970 outdoor music venues. . . music on every corner and the middle of the block along Boul San Mich. Elderly grandfathers dancing with tiny girls in patent leather shoes. Chamber music competing with Stones knockoffs. It was magical!

Reya Mellicker said...

That sounds wonderful.