is was today.
Sol + stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning “sun” + “to stand still.” As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky.
As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. Awed by the great power of the sun, civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer otherwise known as Midsummer (see Shakespeare), St. John’s Day, or the Wiccan Litha.
Perhaps the most enduring modern ties with Summer Solstice are the Druids’ celebration of the day as the “wedding of Heaven and Earth”, resulting in the present day belief of a “lucky” wedding in June. Today, the day is still celebrated around the world – most notably here in England at Stonehenge, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.
This eclectic mix of sun worshippers, hippies and pagans all appear at this time of year to ‘experience’ the event. It’s actually a toss-up as to whether there are more spectators than police who always seem to be out in force (no pun intended).
Despite this mix of religions, the only violent clash I’ve ever witnessed was years ago between police because their yellow fluorescent jackets, being in stark contrast to the white robes worn by the druids. It’s anyone’s guess as to which shone brightest when the sun reared it’s head above the horizon at dawn. (NB: I wasn’t there as a hippy, a druid or any other religious or pseudo-religious entity but there because my friend lived in a village nearby and it was too good an opportunity for us to miss – probably the one and only time I’d get to witness it ‘live’)
There’s a certain mysticism about the Druids…a bit like the Freemason’s nobody outside the circle appears to know the secrets behind them apart from there appear to be thousands of them from all walks of life including many city dwellers. This causes a bit of an issue when it comes to them all getting to Wiltshire. I believe this is why Skoda decided to help out…by the banks of the Thames near to Tower Bridge they erected a smaller less ceremonial but by far and away a more accessible structure for them….they’ve called it Citihenge.
And on this day, some would say like all London traffic, just like the sun in declination, the cars here are definitely stood still