Midsummer/Litha Rant

So ok. One of the few frustrating things about researching about Litha/Midsummer rituals, in order to create my own, is the fact that most of the information about this time of year is provided from a northern hemisphere perspective to other northern hemisphere dwellers. Now I appreciate that a large chunk of the neo-pagan movement, the chunk that does observe the Sabbats, has been born out of traditionally northern hemisphere (European and Mediterranean to be precise) religious. All that aside however, it does not excuse the lack of information or exclusion of the Southern Hemisphere, and how midsummer could possibly be celebrated in the Antipodes. (Having said that, if anyone reading this is able to point me to a really good source of information concerning Southern Hemisphere Midsummer celebrations, I would be very much obliged).

Having done some reading on midsummer lore, I now want to apply it to my circumstances, and the circumstances South of the equator. Don’t get me wrong. A lot of the observances are very much applicable to the South, it is just that I would like to make them less Northern Hemisphere centric. Also I understand that some things cannot simply be transposed to the South. Take the heliacal rising of the star Sirius. I mention it here, because to the Ancient Egyptians, the rising of the star was very important, as it heralded the annual flood of the Nile. It also coincided (in ancient times) with the Northern Summer Solistice. I mention Sirius, because Sirius was identified as Isis. When it rose in the morning before the sunrise in the height of summer, it was the tears that Isis shed for her beloved Osiris that caused the Nile to rise. It was a time of rejoicing, and was a time when human hearts were full and people gave thanks for the blessings soon to be received.

M.Isidora Forrest in her beautiful book Isis Magic (2001; Llewellyn Publishing) provides a beautiful rite to be performed to coincide with the Summer Solistice (taking into account that today the Heliacal rise of Sirius no longer coincides with with the Solistice). It would….except for the fact that in the Southern Hemisphere the heliacal rising of Sirius occurs during the coldest part of the year…therein lies the conundrum….

Forrest does make mention that Magical time is flexible, when accounting for the fact that the modern day rising of Sirius now occurs closer to August. Yet I am not sure how flexibility it is willing to withhold before it becomes meaningless…Given that by the time that Midsummer roles around in the Southern hemisphere, Sirius has been visible in the sky for approximately 5 months…….

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One Response to Midsummer/Litha Rant

  1. Pingback: Winter is coming… | wherethelotusflowergrows

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