Hard to believe that we are already halfway through 2017. Today, we are the most tilted towards the sun, making it the longest day and shortest night of the year. From now on, our planet will continue to tilt away from the sun until the end of December.
This means that after today, we are in a slow descent back towards darkness and the cold season.
Up here in Canada, no one wants to hear at this time that we are only halfway until Christmas season. But I do not think this is a bad thing to recognize. For the past couple years, I’ve had the thought on the summer solstice that we are heading into Autumn. I actually enjoy the summer more because I’ve become aware of how nature feels and looks as it goes through this transition from its highest point of vitality and slowly into death and dormancy again. And the cycle repeats itself over and over …
In Ancient Norse mythology, the tale associated with Midsummer is the death of the god Baldur. Baldur is the most beloved, beautiful and bright of all the Gods. His death is tragic for the Gods since they are aware that this signifies the oncoming “Ragnarok”, the destruction of world. Baldur’s brother travels to the underworld in an attempt to retrieve his brother from the Goddess Hel, but is unsuccessful. As the myth goes, Baldur can only return after the destruction of the world is complete and when new life can start to spring forth again.
Of course, these stories are metaphors for nature and the journey of life. They indicate how the ancients recognized cycles of creation and destruction in the world. The midsummer is the peak of the continuous cycle, when the world is at it’s highest point of life and beauty which is symbolized by Baldur’s characteristics.
Of course, everything at its peak declines into death but then from death, new life is able to grow. It’s what happens in nature, for example as when once living things decompose in the earth, feeding the soil nutrients so that it is capable of sprouting new life.
The myth of Baldur is representative of the sun, which on the solstice is at its brightest. But it has reached its peak, and will now appear to be gradually less bright. But on Yule, the winter solstice, it will return, becoming brighter again.
It’s nice to get familiar with ancient stories as it gives us a tiny bit of insight into how nature-based societies evolved their folklore and wisdom. It also encourages us to pay more attention to thebeautiful planet which inspired these tales.