It’s summer! No doubt about it. While we’ve been lucky in my corner of SoCal and haven’t had the ridiculous heat, it’s coming. I’m still in recovery mode, so I’m not doing very much. As I lay around, my mind wanders back to the late 90s when Solstice was an event to look forward to.
I originally wrote this post several years ago. This is a refreshed version. The original is here.
Back in the 90s I was still a healthy working mom with two young daughters and a husband. I was in management for a major corporation and my husband had his own small landscaping company. We were both very involved with PTA and classroom volunteers. We were also part of a group of grassroots activists. My husband & I ran the local Leonard Peltier Defence Committee & AIM, American Indian Movement. With our group of friends/activists we were also part of the Committee Against Police Brutality, Peace & Freedom Party, LGBT rights and homelessness. We would feed the homeless a couple times a year. Just set up a BBQ in a park and feed people. All the kids of our core group would be dragged along with us to events, protests and ceremonies. We always got the kids out before any trouble started, and the kids grew up learning about giving back and participating.
Solstice was always something to look forward to because we would have an Aztec ceremony to celebrate the longest day of the year. The ceremony was held at the beach and lead by an Aztec friend of ours. It was a corn ceremony and everyone that was at the beach joined in. Sometimes there would be over 100 of us honoring the sun and giving thanks for the corn. I miss gatherings like that.
The ceremony happend at Sunset and a conch shell was blown to call the ancestors and spirits. There was a fire, usually in a hibachi cuz there weren’t any fire rings at that beach, and we would all join hands in a circle. We each had a small amount of corn kernels, or even corn meal, to toss onto the fire as an offering. Our Aztec friend, in full Regalia would lead us in a spiraling dance around the fire, eventually TO the fire to offer our corn.
It was a beautiful way to celebrate the longest day of the year, and another culture. Even if the ceremony was modified, it was something and it was enough to bring all the other folks in the area in to join us and participate.
After the ceremony, we shared a potluck meal. It was always a good time with good people of all ages, religious beliefs, culture and skin colors. Summer Solstice is special to me because of those times, and every year I get a little nostalgic.
We used to camp at pow wow every year too. My ex is native though not from here. He is Anishinaabe from northern Michigan. His grandfather disenrolled so my ex was trying very hard to reclaim his heritage. His family was never able to.
Solstice is a special time for me. At least it used to be. Now it’s just another reminder of what my life used to be before the fibromyalgia took over. Before my ex lost his battle with addiction and tore our lives apart.
I really miss the good times but I wouldn’t want to bring back the bad times.
Have you ever been to a Pow Wow or Native American ceremony? Do you do anything to celebrate the Solstice? Winter Solstice is usually around the Winter Holidays, Spring Equinox is around the time of Easter and Passover… A lot of pagan holidays were co-opted by the Catholic Church and changed to Saint’s Days to try to convert people and still allow them their celebrations.
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