Archive for June, 2011


by on Jun.22, 2011, under philosophy, sacred days, social remedies



In traditional cultures, or those who define time by the agricultural cycles of the earth, the summer solstice is the point of the longest day and shortest night.  It roughly coincides with the passage of the sun into the first degree of Cancer.  Often, it is a time to relax after the frantic plantings of Spring, the time of growth between cultivation and harvest.  Although the chores certainly aren’t finished, as any good farmwife will tell you, there is a time now to sit and relax, look around you at the produce ripening, smell the scents of the blossoms on the breeze and be proud of your efforts.  It is a precursor to that time later in the fall, after harvest, when we give thanks for the bounty of the earth.

I often think that the USA, like Rome before the fall, uses some of these pagan festival times to support its own agenda.  July 4th has some interesting parallels of timing and purpose when one compares it to midsummer.  One can see, looking at midsummer celebrations, the drumming and dancing, the flowing mead and songs and families gathered joyfully.  Being imaginationally twisted as I am, I can see the cases of beer, the boar on a spit (a groveling apology to vegan pagans), the red white and blue tablecloths, and the addition of corn relish and hushpuppies to the table, the table of old folks, the kids table, games of pickup football and volleyball, the family dog times six.  Not to mention the pies made from recently picked and processed peaches, blueberries, and the local wild blackberries.  Sound like your family?  The one you wish you had?  The one you can do without?

The summer solstice is the bright side of the yearly ‘point of no return’.  The dark side being, of course, yule.  On the bright side, the days will get shorter now, which means we are heading towards the moment of time when our efforts will pay off.  When our struggles will bear fruit.  It’s a good time to remind ourselves that for all the flash and angst of our public life, we are in this together.  As a planet we will rise and fall together, quite literally.  Just as we plant a green life, so we can also plant discord and hate, as we’ve seen over the past several decades of public life.  In a garden, a healthy and nourished soil produces healthy and nourished plants.  A soil stripped of nourishment and filled with chemicals produces results that are twisted and infected with pests.  You can’t fight an undernourished soil with more anger and hate.  Pouring chemical fertilizer or pesticide on a garden does not solve the problem, but only exacerbates it.  Just so you can not solve the problems of hate and intolerance by becoming hateful and intolerant.  An ‘us against them’ philosophy, although understandable, is not productive of harmony.  Only love will heal hate.  Only acceptance will heal intolerance.  Only peaceful adherence to truth will heal aggression.  Fight aggression with aggression and you only get more aggression.  Do you think this is naive?  Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable.  The wisdom of this season reminds us to look to the earth for our answers, whether we like them or not.

Now, as a practicing martial artist, I have to ask, is there a time to set a physical boundary?  When is something an act of aggression, and when is it an act of self-preservation?   A big cat kills and eats dinner.  Is that aggression?  No.  A bully beats up a smaller child to preserve his sense of control of those around him.  Is this aggression?  Obviously.  What if a dog does it, to preserve his territory, and the pick of the finest females.  That’s tougher to answer.  Is the survival of the fittest based upon aggression?  NO, it is not.  We are reminded that each and every circumstance is its own moment.  No animal who is acting in a balanced and healthy manner seeks out another animal to beat up for the ‘heck of it’ or because the one does not like the other’s choice of arm deodorant.  In the moment is the truth.  And the our choice of action can maintain or destroy the balance or harmony of that moment.  The problem we seem to have, we humans, is being aware of that moment.  Of knowing where we are.  We get lost in doctrinal rules and lose track of the ‘peaceful adherence to truth’.  We respond to errors of judgement with lack of acceptance and hate, when the application of a bit of Love and Joy can restore the balance of the moment.

With the urgent necessities of public life, the life of our planet, the drama of our government, the social injustices around us, and war, it is so easy to be dragged away from the small truths of our immediate existence.  How can we not respond to the social injustices with anger and aggressive action?  The problem with looking to the temporal world for answers is that it has not yet learned the lessons of the earth.  The pendulum will swing, come what may.  And hatred planted with intolerance today may take root, and grow with twisted energy, but will not survive nor thrive.  To heal the ground left barren after that plant dies will take Love and lots of it.

As we celebrate this time of the longest day, the most solar energy of the year, we also celebrate the time of the most clarity.  In occult symbolism, the sun represents being able to see clearly to the heart of things.  This is particularly true in Exoteric Christianity, where the Sun/Son, represented by the Sephiroth Tiphareth, represents the highest point at which mankind can ‘know’ God.  Thru the Heart. To be at the crux or crossing place of the Pillar of Spirit with the Arms of Matter, to be at the Heart of the Cross, the Diamond Point of the Rose of the Rosicrucians, is to truly be in the Moment.  To be outside of, or beyond, Time.

If Samhain/Yule, is the time of Inner Wisdom, the ascendancy of the lunar energies, then Midsummer is definitely the time of Outer Wisdom.  Now is the time for our work with our families and communities to bear fruit.  Now is the time to see that wisdom of the Moment, that ‘peaceful adherence to truth’, the loving application of acceptance, heal the rifts and wounds cause by imbalanced aggression.  And now is definitely the time to honor yourselves for your good work.

Wherever you are, my friends, I hope your seasonal celebrations bring you plenty, harmony, the joy of family and friends, and an appreciation for the work of your hands and minds.  May your efforts grow strong and tall and provide you with shade, shelter, and fruit.


Marie Angeli

all text and images ©2011 Marie Angeli

You can see more of Marie’s paintings at her Imagekind Gallery.

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