The Day of the Longest Light
Summer Solstice, Thomas Berry,
and the Energy of Rocks
The divine communicates to us primarily through the language of the natural world. Not to hear the natural world is not to hear the divine...The universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, not objects to be exploited. Everything has its own voice. Thunder and lightening and stars and planets, flowers, birds, animals, trees, ~~ all these have voices, and they constitute a community of existence that is profoundly related...We lose our souls if we lose the experience of the forest, the butterflies, the song of the birds, if we can't see the stars at night.
-- Thomas Berry
-- Thomas Berry
The energy of rocks is particularly mysterious and primordial...A rock holds the energy of the sun long after everything around it succumbs to darkness and chill. The warm energy of the rock feels as if it were a living thing. And, in a sense, it is. And its “life” radiates a personality of something strong and trustworthy—and forever present in the world, remaining long after we are gone. The rock is very sure of itself, of its past and its future. And it has reason to be. When we pick up a rock, we are not just holding a lump of minerals: we are holding a piece of eternity in our hands.
-- Patricia Adams Farmer, The Numinosity of Rocks
Today’s American Pagans can articulate many other ways their faith has contributed to contemporary society, such as environmental consciousness. Stewardship in Paganism does not rest on the claim of human dominion over the Earth, but on respect for all life as part of an interdependent web of relationships. Devotion to the Earth and to the land on which they live motivates many Pagans, and for them, its pollution is akin to the desecration of a sanctuary. Some Pagans enact human interconnectedness with the land through the cycle of the seasons and the ritual calendar; others seek to form relationships with the other-than-human beings that live around them by growing their own food, learning about the plants and animals of their bioregions, or simply spending time outdoors. Not surprisingly, many are avid environmentalists, actively working on programs to halt the degradation of the environment.
-- Excerpted from The Pluralism Project at Harvard University
"Our ancient ancestors, who lived in harmony with the sun and the moon, knew within their bones the sacredness of such times. The eve of June 21, or midsummer's eve, was a night of magic and feasting. Deep within our bodies the memories of those sun feasts are still alive. We are children of the sun, the daystar that makes all life possible, as we travel in the icy darkness of frozen space. It is only fitting that we celebrate this turning point of our planet, even if we have a more sophisticated knowledge of the Earth, sun, moon, and planets than did our ancestors.
"It was believed that on midsummer's eve, the walls separating the worlds of the spirits and humans became as thin as tissue paper. The spirits of field and forest, of river and stream — all the inhabitants of that inner world — were free to pass back and forth between those walls and play among humans. It was a festival of fire, celebrating the full force of the sun-star. It was a time for feasting, a summer Christmas for play and pretending.
"Summertime allows us opportunities for celebrations outside — ideal for a fire feast. Whether you celebrate the solstice alone or with family or friends, you are in communion with all peoples, ancient and modern, who are touched by the magic of the feast and who gratefully honor the blazing gift of the sun."
- Edward Hays, Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim