In ancient China, the summer solstice was observed by a ceremony to celebrate the earth, femininity, and the “yin” forces." It complemented the winter solstice that celebrated the heavens, masculinity and “yang” forces.” Other cultures have different celebrations or exact meanings of the celebration but many refer to femininity and fertility.
Most commonly associated with Pagan traditions, the summer solstice or “Midsummer,” was celebrated in ancient Germanic, Slav and Celtic tribes with bonfires. After Christianity spread in Europe and other parts of the world, many pagan customs were incorporated into the Christian religion. In many parts of Scandinavia, the Midsummer celebration continued but was observed around the time of St John’s Day, on June 24, to honor St John the Baptist instead of the pagan gods.
In North America Native American tribes held rituals to honor the sun and that the Sioux were most well known for theirs. In addition to dancing, the Sioux would paint their bodies in the symbolic colors of red (sunset), blue (sky), yellow (lightning), white (light), and black (night).
Join us for our own pagan ritual: San Francisco 2011 (Ocean Beach)
Solstice, Tuesday 21 June, Ocean Beach near Taraval street (aka "Ye Olde Site"). Gather 7:30pm, ritual 8pm.
Join us for Summer Solstice at Ocean Beach as we gather at the end of the longest day of the year. We celebrate the light and honor the turning of the Wheel of the Year back toward the darkness.
Please bring clean firewood (firewood is always welcome - no pallets, nails, construction material, plywood, painted or treated wood), warm clothes, food or non-alcoholic drink to share, and a towel if you want to plunge.
Transit: You'll want to take the scenic L-Taraval Muni train from downtown BART stations. Ride to end of line, walk a block or two to the beach, and look for group of beach-loving pagans - possibly a few blocks to the left, depending on beach conditions.
Maps: search for "Taraval and Great Highway, San Francisco 94116". Gathering will be somewhat south of this intersection.