Summer Solstice at Stonehenge: live streamed this year!!
Have you ever wanted to watch the sun rise on the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge? Well, this year you can because it will be live streamed!
The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the time to celebrate life in all its aspects. It’s also the first day of summer.
Solstice means “stand still” and refers to the way the sun appears to rise and set in the same place for a few days.
At Stonehenge in England, built between 2500 and 5000 years ago, the summer solstice sun at dawn rises over the structure’s Heel Stone and hits the Altar Stone dead center. Surely our ancestors knew something we don’t about the importance of this day.
In 2019, 10,000 people were at Stonehenge to greet the sun, but this year, due to the pandemic, it will be closed to the public and will, instead, be broadcast live on facebook for the first time in history. So we will all get to see this amazing event. [Details at the end of this post.]
The power of Fire on the Solstice
All ancient cultures consider fire one of the most magical and necessary elements for transformation, purification and prayer.
According to Mara Freeman in Kindling the Celtic Spirit, our ancestors “lit bonfires to celebrate the sun at the height of its power and implore it not to withdraw into winter’s darkness.”
The fires were built on hilltops and the Old people would count the distant fires and tell the future from the number they saw and the brightness of the blaze.
In the words of author and shamanic teacher Alberto Villoldo, “Every time you light a match to light a candle, you can turn that into a fire ceremony because you are literally creating fire.”
Ancient peoples around the globe have always conducted ceremony at the time of the Summer Solstice, honoring the sun and imploring it to stay and continue giving us long days and life-giving light.
Summer is the season of abundance so This is a good day to be grateful for what you have manifested thus far this year, and focus on what you still wish to come to you. Be grateful for the sun which brings warmth and light, and allows growing things to flourish.
The sun here on earth
The elders teach that fire represents the sun here on earth: trees spend their lives drinking in the sun, and when they lay down their lives to be used as firewood, it is said the fire represents the sun here on earth.
As with the sun, fire brings us the gifts of warmth, light and the ability to cook our food.
But fire can also burn us, our loved ones and our homes, so it should always be treated with great respect.
Black Elk taught that when tending a fire, one should occasionally offer it cedar as an honoring.
Bear Heart taught that three to four times each winter I should offer raw meat to the fire in my home; that by making these offerings the fire would be satisfied and not take anything else.
On June 21, you might want to light a candle as a representation of fire, and say a prayer of gratitude for all that you have. After all, summer is the seasons of abundance.
And when putting out a candle, be conscious of the fact that you’re handling fire, a representation of the sun, and a sacred gift from the Creator. Be respectful and grateful.
To find an answer to a problem
The sun rises in the East, so the East is considered the direction of knowledge.
To find an answer to a problem, Bear Heart taught to face East and think about the problem, saying: “Grandfather Sun, you come each day to dispel the darkness. In that same way I ask you to shed your light so that I may see where to take the next step.”
“The fire that burns in our fireplaces is the eternal fire, it is the sun here with us, lighting our way. Among the different Indian tribes, we respect the fire that way.” Bear Heart in The Wind Is My Mother
Here’s how to watch the Solstice at Stonehenge:
You can watch the livestream on the English Heritage Facebook page. The sunset will be streamed live on Saturday June 20th at 9:26 pm British Standard Time, which is 4:26 pm Eastern Daylight Time in the U.S.
The sunrise (the most important part of the celebration) will be streamed live on Sunday June 21 at 4:52 am British Standard Time, which is Saturday 11:52 pm Eastern Standard Time. The summer solstice officially arrives on June 20th at 5:44 pm Eastern Daylight Time.
Let us all rejoice at this wonderful opportunity to honor the sun. Saturday evening you might want to light a candle as a representation of fire, and say a prayer of gratitude for all that you have.
“All living creatures and all plants derive their life from the sun. If it were not for the sun, there would be darkness and nothing would grow – the earth would be without life.” Okute, Teton Sioux
More than enough reason to celebrate the sun each year!
Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman” and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com