Astronomical Explanation of the Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice or the first day of summer

The Summer Solstice usually begins every year on June 21 or the first day of summer. The solstice and equinox are days of change according to various cultures. Many cultures and religions flourish on the Four Directions – East, West, North, and South; and the Four Seasons – Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring.

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year and is reflective of change – the season changes from spring to summer, but there may be other changes also. People often change what they do on these days also such as getting married; or beginning summer trips; school ends and the summer vacation time begins.

Solstice comes from the Latin word meaning to stand still; and on the Summer Solstice, the sun for a few days before and after does seem to stand still. (Sol for Sun and Sistit for Stands).

When we say the Sun stands still, what is really happening is that the Sun is at its highest path in the sky and on this day the sun rises south of east, and sets north of west, allowing the Sun to remain in the sky for a longer period of time. Also the North Pole is tilted closest to the Sun. During the Spring and Fall Equinox there is no tilt, thus causing shorter days at these times.

People often commemorate the Summer Solstice with drum circles. The drumming starts in the morning and continues into the evening.

One such group is the Rainbow Tribe of Living Light. Every year shortly before the solstice or beginning on the solstice, members of the Rainbow tribe begin their trek to the National and International Rainbow gatherings. They hitchhike, car pool, and caravan to their final destination, which is usually a National Forest that also contains some meadowland and drinkable water. Once there they begin their dances and drum circles around a huge bond fire in celebration of god, life, the sun, peace, and the environment. Most of them are vegetarians who are also into organic farming and sustainable agriculture. Organic and vegetarian kitchens are set up in the forest. Natural and organic food is donated from across the United States by natural food cooperatives (co-ops).

Members of the Rainbow Tribe are people from many different religions and cultures who believe in peace and environmentalism. This is their celebration of change and they hope to change the world to one of peace without war – peace for people, peace for the earth, and peace for the animals.

Perhaps you can find a way to celebrate the summer solstice; or perhaps you already are committed to celebrating it in your changes that will begin on or around the first day of summer – the longest day of the year – the Summer Solstice.


The Rainbow Family of Living Light