Summer Solstice / Father’s Day 2015

Sunset over Windmill Hill

Sunset over Windmill Hill

Merry Midsummer!

Today Father’s Day and the Summer Solstice fell on the same day, which seemed to me to be a very auspicious time for celebrating the Great God and the Divine Masculine of nature.

The beginning of the day started with an offering of mead, candles and prayers at my altar (which is much simplified as I’ve packed away many items in preparation of our move). I honoured the Great God and asked Inari Okami to bless my father and all the other men in my life.

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We then met the rest of my family at a local Italian restaurant to celebrate Father’s Day.

After lunch, we went up to Windmill Hill (the highest point in Gravesend) to fly kites. The men in my family have recently gotten into kite-flying, and my sister gave my Dad a kite (in the shape of a Red kite bird!) as a Father’s Day gift. It wasn’t that windy so it was hard to get the kites in the air, but we managed eventually. It struck me that kite-flying can be quite a Pagan thing to do – you have to focus a lot on what the wind is doing, and move according to the wind. In this way, flying a kite can bring you closer to the natural forces. Flying the kites was a lot of fun, until my Dad’s kite made a break for freedom and got stuck in a tree!

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My Dad’s kite

In the evening, my husband and I returned to Windmill Hill to hold a little ritual at sunset.

I made an offering of herbs to one of the sycamore trees, and made a little altar of candles and incense

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Our timing was perfect – as we faced West, we saw the Sun sink rapidly below the skyline. I raised an offering of plum wine to the Sun, and we both drank from the goblet as the sun set. At the end of the ritual when the sun had disappeared, I poured the plum wine over the candles both to extinguish them and to offer the wine to the Earth.

It was a really serene and joyous ritual, and I felt so glad to see the sun set on the longest day. What I loved best about it was its symbolic symmetry – at the Winter Solstice, my husband and I came to Windmill Hill to watch the sun rise, so it felt very significant to me to watch the sun set at the same place at Summer Solstice.

It was one of the most lovely days and meaningful rituals I’ve had in a long while.

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6 Comments

Filed under Places, Rituals & Festivals

6 responses to “Summer Solstice / Father’s Day 2015

  1. EmilyAnn Frances

    My favorites are from both sects of Shinto:

    Izumo Sect (kuni no kami): O-Kuni-Nushi no Kami and Suseri-hime-no-Kami. O-Kuni-Nushi healed the little rabbit deity of Inaba, Inaba no usage gami. He is not only ruler over the earthly realm but also herbs and healing.

    Ise Sect (ama no kami): Akaru-Hime-No-Kami and her earthly husband Ame-no-hi-hoko-no mikoto. She is considered a daughter of the Sun, Amaterasu, born without any father. She came out of a red jewel after her husband, a Korean Prince, took the jewel to bed with him. He eventually was rude and uncaring to her. She picked up and went home to Japan to be with her mother. Her shrine was near the harbor in Naniway. Ame-no-hi-hook also came in search for her but she refused him. He went on to marry a mortal woman from a royal family. The accounts in the NIHONGI and the KOJIKI differ slightly but I like the independence she represents. What appeals to me about the NIHONGI version is that her mother, Amaterasu, is given another name I’ve never seen anywhere else. It is a lovely attribute for a sun goddess. The name means something like “The Lady or Goddess of the Camellias”. Given all the meaning in such a name, along with the red jewel, both mother and daughter must be beautiful.

    Both male deities have their appeal as well. Ame-no-hi-hoko regrets his actions so to my way of thinking he represents a man trying to be a better person.

    A free copy of the NIHONGI is at https://archive.org/details/nihongichronicl00astogoog
    Great posting.

  2. EmilyAnn Frances

    Oh boy I mad a boo-boo. This response was meant for your posting on male and female deities in Shinto. Sorry! This post on Father’s Day was also good.

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