Something for the solstice

The summer solstice is associated with Druid beliefs but celebration of the Dance of The Seasons goes back much further.


"Humankind has to get back to the rhythm of the Cosmos"
                                                                         D. H. Lawrence

In midsummer’s solstice rite
light triumphs over dark.
The sun-king in his glorious prime
climbs to his highest mark.
In turn the darkness will advance,
begin another round of dance
across the celestial arc.

Within rhythm’s easy fluxion
destruction is prescribed.
All things come to reduction,
from corruption all things rise.,
To the beat of a joyous reel
the endless turning of the wheel
binds that which all things comprise.

Written in night sky the reasons
seasons must turn in their dance.
Unmaking old and making new,
few permutations left to chance.
All things have their opposite,
thus may all life procreate
and perpetuate the sequence.

Now for this cycle’s generation
consummation is the goal.
Partners move, station to station
in formation around the pole.
Every egg and seed and spore
carries within its living core
a unique segment of the whole.

The Making and Unmaking Dance is a summer solstice poem which will eventually form part of my cosmos cycle "The Eightfold Year." I do know of certain pagan traditions which hold a ceremony called The Making and Unmaking dance but my use of it as a title here is a bit of poetic licence. I do not know if it is actually a summer solstice rite. (As a poet it is not always wise to constrict oneself within literal interpretations.) At this time of year, as the sun passes its apex and begins the decline a few minutes in any garden will confirm that pollenating is in full spate while a careless walk through a secluded stretch of woodland is likely to disturb a human couple joined in their exclusive pollenation rite. All living things want to get in on this act.

There are so many legends, parables, and folk tales attached to the summer solstice it would be futile to list any in a brief note such as this. The essence of them all is that as one cycle begins to wind down the seeds of the next are being sown.

Fires of Love
Three Secrets
Dancing With The Dead

Solstice Fires



Jeff Jackson Added Jun 21, 2017 - 3:45pm
Didn't make it to Stonehenge this year. Maybe will dance around the fire in the back yard. Or just water the tomatoes and grill a burger.
Ian Thorpe Added Jun 21, 2017 - 4:20pm
In my view anything that gets you close to nature is paganistic, so watering the tomatoes is a good was to celebrate the solstice. And a cold beer with that burger will complete the traditional solstice feast.
It's a long time since I ran around naked under the moon, and even then it wasn't part of any ritual - I'll rephrase that, it wasn't part of any ancient religious ritual.
Stone-Eater Added Jun 21, 2017 - 4:28pm
Is it a joke ? But anyway: Fact is that ancient beliefs from the North American natives to the Dogon of Mali and the Bamiléké of Cameroon to the Vikings and old Germans were much closer and more respectful to nature.
That alone is enough reason to reconsider them before it's too late. I love them....philosophical. What a difference to that blunt "god" and Jesus and Allah blather !
Dino Manalis Added Jun 21, 2017 - 5:26pm
Have a sizzling summer!
Lady Sekhmetnakt Added Jun 21, 2017 - 11:15pm
Good article, nice to see someone else here remembering the Solstice :-) 
Autumn Cote Added Jun 22, 2017 - 5:58am
Just some friendly advice, to improve readability.  I would use a uniform font for your entire article.  You also have some strange paragraph spacing issues going on.  As always, many thanks for your participation with Writer Beat!
Ian Thorpe Added Jun 22, 2017 - 11:41am
Stone, not a joke but to be taken as a light hearted piece - and of course a way to wind up the god squad. Not that I want to offend, but Autumn likes us to generate comments. When asked about faith I describe myself as paganistic, the idea that nature is the highest manifestation of the divine is the only one that makes sense to me. Having said that I would not join any pagan group, as Groucho Marx once said, "I wouldn't join any club that would have me for a member."
Ian Thorpe Added Jun 22, 2017 - 11:53am
Autumn, thanks for the comment but as this poem, posted elsewhere, in this exact form has garnered over a quarter of a million hits, I don't think there is much wrong with the presentation. Different fonts can be used very effectively as demarcation of segments, the poem section is set out as lines and stanzas of poetry and the notes on mythology in standard paragraph format. It works for me.
Bill Caciene Added Jun 22, 2017 - 12:13pm
I completely understand where Autumn is coming from.  The beginning is in italics, then it switches to bold without italics, then to a larger font bold, then underlined and all caps, then blue and in a really small font.  The whole thing makes my eyes hurt.  I also couldn’t understand what the text above the quote has to do with the quote has to do with the poem has to do with the text below the poem. 
Ian Thorpe Added Jun 22, 2017 - 12:39pm
Dino, you too.
Ian Thorpe Added Jun 22, 2017 - 12:45pm
Bill, looks fine in Firefox. The italicised line is an introductory comment, not part of the article, The smaller type is a quotation, not part of the poem bit part of the article, the notes on the mythical inspirations are in exactly the same font as the poem.

The single line of underlined text is a headline, marking another section, links to related posts.

Ian Thorpe Added Jun 22, 2017 - 12:52pm
Jenifer, the north of England, where I live, has strong associations with our pagan past. We still have well dressing in the spring and many ancient churches have Sheela Na Gigg figures, representations of the fertility goddess with exaggerated genitals, and other figures representing 'the old gods' carved in the stonework in dark corners of the buildings.
Leroy Added Jun 22, 2017 - 12:55pm
The summer solstice is always depressing.  The days become shorter and shorter.
Donna Added Jun 22, 2017 - 1:43pm
Good Article, 
I took the day off, took my mom and went on a nature hike, until she had to stop. Has health issues, but she still will head out that door for fresh air, and light..Nice to know old traditions are still held in great regard all over, and by so many )0(
Janie Smith Added Jun 22, 2017 - 2:01pm
Nice!  Some of my ancestors were Druids. 
Ian Thorpe Added Jun 22, 2017 - 3:12pm
Leroy, look at it this way, its only six months until Christmas.
Ian Thorpe Added Jun 22, 2017 - 3:14pm
Donna, a bit of sunshine gives us all a lift, and being close to nature makes me feel very relaxed, and I think that applies to most people.
Ian Thorpe Added Jun 22, 2017 - 3:16pm
OK, you've got me hooked, I want to know more. Any chance of you posting an article?
Janie Smith Added Jun 22, 2017 - 4:11pm
Hey, Ian.  Its a bit of a tagline, there really is only but so much information that survives from as far back as 500 BCE especially since Druids didn't actually keep records so all I really have is family rumors.
opher goodwin Added Jun 22, 2017 - 4:57pm
well paganism is all about getting close to nature. I agree. That's the real spirit of religion.
Ric Wells Added Jun 23, 2017 - 9:45am
Ian if people would a little more attention to the rhythms and harmonies of the planet we might just might become a little more humane. Been to Stonehenge. Wonderful energy transfer.
opher goodwin Added Jun 23, 2017 - 9:58am
May the long-time sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on
Incredible String Band
Ric Wells Added Jun 23, 2017 - 10:08am
Some cultures used to count age by how many snows they have been through. Me I have been through 65 of them.
opher goodwin Added Jun 23, 2017 - 10:37am
There's snow on the mountain top but there's fire down below.
Ric Wells Added Jun 23, 2017 - 10:49am
Old but true.LOL
Ian Thorpe Added Jun 23, 2017 - 11:12am
Janie, maybe there's more survived than most people imagine. And Druids did keep some records, ever heard of oghams. The Druids did not write their sacred texts because they believed each god ( they had a very different concept of the divine to the Abrahamic religions) had three names, the name enemies used, the name used by followers and the holy and unspeakable name. Their belief was that if the unmentionable name became known to anyone other than druids, the god lost all powers.
When the Romans took up Christianity and decided to destroy the Druids completely,, it became necessary to have some way of recording their knowledge. So the ogham alphabet was invented.
In a strange twist it was Christian monks of monasteries in Ireland, Scotland and Wales who translated the Oghams into latin in books like The Book Of Ballymote (linked above), and The Red Book Of Hergest
So we have a bit more to work with than the mainstream would have us believe.
Ian Thorpe Added Jun 23, 2017 - 11:16am
Opher, I agree, but not being young and mad these days, come the winter solstice I tend to eschew nature and seek the spirit in a bottle of Bushmills single malt.
Ian Thorpe Added Jun 23, 2017 - 11:25am
Donald, in the poem I tried to capture the mood of ancient ritual dances that celebrate the endless cycle of seasons. The best known of these is the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, performed in August at the Bartholomew Fair since the 12th century and probably before that. 
Age however, is a state of mind :-)
Ian Thorpe Added Jun 23, 2017 - 11:30am
Opher, The Incredible String Band were underrated I thought, saw them at Manchester College Of Commerce a couple of times, they were as good as Jethro Tull, another band of that period I liked.  
Ian Thorpe Added Jun 23, 2017 - 11:33am
Ric, In north west England our climate benefits a little from The Gulf Stream so we don't get snow every year. now I know why I don't feel anything like my numerical age.
opher goodwin Added Jun 23, 2017 - 7:05pm
I saw them a number of times and thought them excellent too.
opher goodwin Added Jun 23, 2017 - 7:06pm
Ian - I know the feeling. But I'm not ready to call it a day just yet.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 18, 2017 - 7:41am
Its fine, wouldn't change a thing. And I find a revelation here! I guess I must be a pagan!

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