The media would have you believe that today is the very first, bright and shiny day of summer. I’m not sure why the media have embraced this idea, given that they also accept this as Midsummer’s Day.
Astronomers will tell us – and they have PhDs and things, so it’d behove us to pay heed – that this day, today, is in fact the mid-point of the summer season. But on the other hand, astronomers tend to ignore spring and autumn, so can they really be said to know?
What we do know is that it’s the Time of Mostest Light and Heat – though of course this being Britain we can depend reliably on neither. It can also be a time of some wicked-awesome storms, flashing and banging all around the place and generally having a rumbunctious old time of it. We like a nice bit of drama here and there – just as long as Those In Charge could avoid too much of the old downpouration come Summer Camp time, plzta.
In modern paganism there are many interpretations of the exact significance of this date; but most share the understanding that it is both a celebration of light, warmth and life at the very peak of the summer – the Earth is at Her most fruitful and vibrant; the Sun at His strongest and most passionate. It is a time of joy and energy and just sheer bloody zest (sometimes in summer I look out of the window for, oooh, minutes at a time).
Being aware of Nature and Her cycles, though, we’re also mindful of the fact that the high point of summer means the beginning of the gentle darkening: not discernible now, of course, but inevitably to follow in the months to come. There will be preparations to be done.
But for now, there is sunny weather (we hope); there is ice cream, there is tea on the lawn, and cricket, and flowers, and fluffy clouds and the trees show off their most dazzling emerald rainments and it all looks a bit gorj, frankly.
So have a ball, and a Jolly Happy Litha from us!