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Monday, June 21, 2010

Hail Litha 2010 !

The Festival of Litha celebrates the Summer Solstice - the point at which the sun reaches its furthest south before returning north, thereby shortening the days and lengthening the nights. At the latitude of Cumbria, it scarcely gets dark on the night of the Solstice. This year I decided to observe the night's vigil at the ancient stone circle at Birkrigg Common, overlooking Morecambe Bay.

As I arrived at the stone circle at about 10.00pm on the eve of Litha, some pilgrims had already arrived. Placing our offerings in the centre of the circle (mine, wholemeal bread rolls and my Flask of Ferment) we beat our drums until midnight, when it became scarcely dark

Within a couple of hours, the sky became pink a few points to the east of north,
heralding the dawn of Litha


As the sun climbs above the range of hills to the east,
the ghostly stones of the circle become apparent in the foreground


The rising sun illuminates the circle. Who knows what ceremonies might have taken place here when it was built some 4000 years ago?


Daybreak on Litha - some stones of the Druids' Circle at Birkrigg Common

You can see more pictures of Birkrigg Common and the stone circle here

A Happy Litha to all my readers!

See how I celebrated Litha in 2006 and 2007

9 Comments:

Blogger lorenzothellama said...

And a happy Midsummer to you too!
One of these summers I will have to come and do the vigil with you!

1:04 pm  
Blogger Badger said...

I imagine the ceremonies 4,000 years ago included English Rugby players practicing their kicking.

1:11 pm  
Blogger Shrinky said...

What a marvellous way to herald in Midsummer, I can only imagine the beautiful atmosphere engendered there, amongst your like minded friends.

Happy Litha, Maalie!

3:57 pm  
Blogger TCA said...

Did you have to take your clothes off?

5:56 am  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

I love Spring and Summer (even Autumn) and ideally a short Winter (especially with a wife who does not like cold!).

I admit in my vast ignorance to confusion. Isn't this part of the earth now tilted more the sun's way? And isn't the sun more south than north come winter in the northern hemisphere?

Beautiful pics! I must admit I can scarcely conceive of a day with all sun, or no sun, as is experienced toward the poles of our globe.

1:05 am  
Blogger abby said...

ooh that sounds like my cup of tea. A fab way to spend the evening. I expect the atmosphere was beautiful

11:35 am  
Blogger Sunshine said...

hey Maalie Beautiful Pic :) love every single of them..! I was working on my blog.. .i made lots of changes and need a feedback..so pls let me know, i would really appreciate it..


Regards
Sabi

7:46 pm  
Blogger donsands said...

Stonehenge had a lot of paganism kicking on this their sacred day.

I'd like to see Stonehenge one day, Lord willin'. But not to worship the Sun. Just to ponder how, whoever, put these enormous stones there.
Quite Amazing. And very befuddling really.

Excellent photos BTW.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/gallery/2010/06/21/GA2010062102787.html

3:49 pm  
Blogger Lana Gramlich said...

I used to do such stuff (mostly alone.) Now I just seem too busy (but it's a good thing, really. It means I'm selling paintings!) At least I still make sure I get out hiking enough (during the non-Summer, when it's not 8 million degrees out with 2000% humidity.)

10:52 pm  

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