The Goddess of Summer Solstice
People from every culture and era have held spiritual and religious celebrations in June! Most are holy days, linked to the Summer Solstice. Officially, it’s the first day of summer. On this day, literally, the sun appears to stand still as it reaches the zenith of its climb through Heaven. From this day forward, it will slowly descend, the days growing shorter as we move toward winter.
The Pagan Community celebrates Litha, the Summer Solstice, on June 21st. It‘s the longest day of the Pagan year, halfway between Beltane on May 1st, and Lughnasadh on August 1st. At this sacred and fruitful time, the Oak King, or Green Man, who presides over the first part of summer, is succeeded by the Holly King, or Horned God, who carries us forward toward Fall and Harvest. Both are seasonal gods, lovers and royal consorts of the Goddess. They provide for her and for her children: the Green Man, with the fruits of agriculture, and the Horned God, by his skills as a hunter. The images I’ve painted of both gods depict them at the peak of their powers, instead of as an aging or youthful deity who is just beginning, or ending, his reign.
For me, however, the Solstice is all about the Goddess! Here, she’s shown as pregnant with the Sun God, to whom she’ll give birth at Yule. Surrounded by the tropical lushness of summer, she’s the essence of fertility and abundance. A summer sun rides high above, warming her and the god she carries with its healing rays. Fruitful, feminine and maternal, she proudly cradles her belly, nourished by her understanding of the vital role she plays in Creation.
With all Nature in a riot of fertility at this time of year, it’s not surprising that June has long been the traditional month for weddings. The ancients believed that the “great union” of the God and Goddess happened at Beltane in early May. Unwilling to trespass on the rites of deities, many couples delayed their weddings until the following month.
The word “honeymoon,” describing the joyous period when they went off together to savor their marriage, came from the first full moon in June ~ called the Honey Moon. Our ancestors believed this was the best time to harvest honey from the hives, hence the name. Newlywed couples were also fed food and drinks flavored with honey for the first month of their marriage, to increase love and fertility.
June is a magical month. Rejoice in the fertility of the goddess and her consorts, as seen at Summer Solstice. Enjoy Earth’s abundance that she brings into being. Celebrate it in your own life! Now is the time of milk and honey, long, sleepy days, and scented nights.
Her GODDESS CARD line grew from a birthday card she created for her daughter, Amanda, in 2001. Amanda was disheartened at being a curvaceous beauty in the Land of Thin. (Los Angeles.) That seminal card declaring, “You’re a GODDESS, not a nymph!” evolved into a long line of love notes and affirmations for ALL women. At over 125 cards, the line is steadily growing.
Anne is inspired by the archetypal Legendary Goddesses, who have so much to teach today’s women. Her greatest inspiration however, comes from the Goddesses of Today, who write her with wonderful suggestions and thoughts that expand her consciousness and card line.
She is launching an E-Goddess Card website soon, where the Goddess on the Go can send Goddess “e-cards”, enriched with music and stories, at the click of a mouse. (A virtual mouse.)