Summer solstice officially drops, like the New Year’s Ball, this afternoon at 1:16 P.M. EDT, right here in the Northern Hemisphere, which includes Port Chester, Rye, White Plains and most of Westchester County except Rye Brook, which wants its own Hemisphere…with door to door garbage pickup on Tuesday and Fridays.
First, some quick “facts”:
Solstice from the Latin, Sol + Stice basically means the sun stands still...until it gets tired and needs to sit because the sun is very old. Even older than John McCain, and leans more to the right than McCain on most issues.
The Midsummer moon was called the "Honey Moon" because apparently, in ancient times, there was a lot of honey utilized as a part of wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Solstice. When honey was not readily available Peanut Butter was often substituted but lacked the popularity of honey since it just sounded weird, after the wedding, to say you were going on your “Peanut Butter Moon”. The practice was later discontinued, completely, due to allergy concerns.
Ancient Pagans, as opposed to today’s more modern, sophisticated pagans, where known to celebrate Midsummer with bonfires, wherein couples would leap through the flames, believing their crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump. This practice also involved Naked Fire Dancing depending on just how “high” the participants were able to get.
Midsummer was also thought to be a time of great magic, in which evil spirits could easily slip between worlds and appear at your door to eat your food and drink you liquor.
Which brings us to our annual Summer Solstice Party, now celebrating its 10th consecutive year.
It’s a pretty simple party as parties go, since I’m the one in charge. We usually have bout 10-15 “evil spirits” in attendance, but they never come empty handed, so we’re good with that. We also have the Chase’s, Kay & Matt, who will be celebrating their 31st wedding anniversary.
Yep, some 30 plus years ago Matt “chased” Kay, and Kay didn’t try very hard to get away. Of course Matt always makes the obvious joke that their wedding night was indeed “the longest night of the year”, to which Mrs. Chase will roll her eyes and say, “I wouldn’t say it was that long.”
To which the rest of us will politely chuckle then quickly change the subject because sexual banter amongst evil spirits is just creepy. Besides none of us really know what she means.
These days every Summer Solstice celebration worth its salt involves a mystical labyrinth in which participants wander toward the center, getting in touch with their inner spirituality.I’ve been up all night constructing this year’s labyrinth; it wasn't easy but I think it's pretty cool.
It winds its way through the garage, the garden shed, my next door neighbor's bedroom, then slithers under the deck and finishes up in my other neighbor’s laundry room. I'm not sure exactly what spiritual energy we'll be tapping into...but I know it involves a keg of beer and some live goldfish, which I’ve placed in the center.
I admit, it’s kind of a complicated maze—maybe too complicated—but to be honest, I'm hoping we lose a few guest along the way so I can cut back on the hot dogs.
Then I read somewhere where the folks in England really do it up right. They trek out to Stonehenge where they “gather with musicians and morris dancers; sharing flasks and flagons with robed druids and cloaked mystics…”
Which depresses me, cuz now I think our event is lacking by comparison, with or without the labyrinth.We have no, henges of any kind, stone or not. No musicians (unless you count my friends Phil and Mike doing that invisible band thing they think is so hilarious) and not one morris dancer in the bunch. And forget about sharing flasks with this group who is so damn worried about e-coli and every other germ floating around out there. And I haven't seen my flagon in years.
And where the hell am I going to find robed Druids and cloaked mystics at the last minute. This is their busy season and every one that I know is booked up to their Druid kazoos with events.And then Joanne, our chief mystic in residence, has to get the naked fire dancers organized. I’m just hoping, this year, she’ll have more discretion in regard to some of the moves they’ll be performing. I don't want the health department barging in, like last year, citing numerous heath code violations; something about performing 3 point squats too close to the chopped meat if I recall.
Here’s a photos of the dancers from the first year when they were still working out some of the kinks.
And this is from two years ago, when they got very artistic with the lighting, which we all agreed was a very nice touch. Unfortunately Mike stumbled on some possum poop, as you can see, and kind of threw off everybody's rhythm.
In some ways, I think that might have been worse than the chopped meat incident.
After that none of us could ever look at possum poop the same way.
Enjoy Summer Solstice everyone…
I know I will!
I know I will!