I’m sure we might struggle to recall the exact year,
old gits. But the memory of the event is just as important.
I’ve had so many summer solstice celebrations. While still at school I had the pleasure of hanging around with older hippies, and a brother who lived in tipis in local woodlands. So I had the opportunity to start early. My first Solstice at Stonehenge 1982, I wasn’t that impressed with the solstice sunrise ritual and annual overcrowding of the stone circle. It was more like chaos, on a organic climbing frame.
After the first week at the festival, I was so high, a moonwalk would have appeared normal to me.
1983 at Stonehenge, I climbed a burial mound to sit quietly & with many strangers I watched the sunrise, while looking over the City of coloured vehicles, fabric and people stretching out in all directions. That was a very spiritual experience. The love I felt emanating from the festival became a foundation for future Solstices.
I’ve since celebrated Summer Solstices at various stone circles throughout the UK, and many of them on my own bit of land. Memories I do treasure to this day.
By far the most visually moving (spectacular even) was watching the 2011 solstice sunrise (sat alone) on a rock facing out to sea, on the Isle of Wight.
The optical allusion, where time stalled, as the sun broke free from the horizon. The golden shaft of blinding sunlight stretched across the entire flat sea, beaming directly to the rock I clung to. The warmth and brilliance, combined with the sound of lapping water, was more than enough company for me.
Today I woke in pain at 4.30am. Stepping out into the damp morning air I pondered the many souls, looking into grey skies. Another Solstice, for some, special again. Farther’s day and solar eclipse (Eastern skies). In a world in turmoil, the seasons beat to a ancient rhythm.
Have you got memories of a favourite summer solstice you can share?