Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Gods and Goddesses of Midsummer

Here, in the Northern hemisphere, the Summer Solstice marks the middle of summer when the sun reaches its most northerly position in the sky and this day, about June 21st in our calendar, has been celebrated by many cultures throughout the ages. This is the time when we experience  the longest day and the shortest night; in the Southern hemisphere, it is just the opposite.  It is their longest night. 

This day is to celebrate the Sun, to celebrate the life, and many cultures throughout the world celebrate the summer season.  Light was believed to be sacred, and the sun was considered a god. And because our ancestors needed a way to explain natural occurrences of the world,  myths evolved of powerful beings who were able to control the cycles of day and night...and you all know how much I love my mythology.  The following are a few of the gods and goddesses of the season.

Helios is the Roman god of the Sun.   He is depicted as a handsome young man with a halo who drives his chariot across the sky from his palace in the East to another in the West.   It is said that as each night ends, his sister, Eos (Dawn), threw open the eastern gates of the sky, and the golden chariot of Helios rolled out.  Once he appears,  Eos changes to the goddess Hemera (Day) and travels with him across the sky until, becoming Hespera, she announces their safe arrival on the western shores of Oceanus.

The Egyptian Sun god was Ra, the shining one, who was said to travel through the sky in a solar barge by day, pass through the Underworld, and then rise again from the water in the East each morning.  The Sun god, Surya, was is one of the three chief gods in the Vedas.  He is considered the celestial form of fire and the source of life who arose from the eye of the world giant, Purusa; he is the husband of the dawn.  The Egyptian

god, Osiris, was born at the Summer Solstice and died at the Winter Solstice, when processions went round the temple seeking him, seven times. Anubis was the personification of the Summer Solstice, and Ap-uat of the Winter Solstice.

The Inca believed that silver was made of tears from the moon and gold was created by sweat from the sun. As well as being the Sun god, Inti was the state god and the ancestor of the Inca people.  Inti was represented as a gold disc with a human face and sunbeams radiating out from it. According to Aztec myth, the Sun god of the spring and summer, Huitzilopochtli was responsible for driving back the darkness at the start of each day.

In the mythology of the Celts, the deities associated with the sun are Grannos, Grianainech or Ogma, Belenos, and Lugh, all masculine figures. Lugh,whose name means brilliant one, was skilled in all the arts and crafts. Grannos, an important healing deity among the Celts, was connected with the curative powers the sun instilled in the waters when it descended beneath the earth at night. The ancient Irish god, Ogma, had the title Grianainech, 'the Sun Splendid'  The Sun, in its aspect as the healing sun god, Belenos, protected the hot spring areas; the sun itself was seen as the source of heat for these springs, heating them up as it passed underneath the earth on its nightly journey.

Besides being a sun god, Freyr was a god of love and peace, of happiness and good luck.. Freyr is the most important and the most beautiful of the male Norse Gods and is also called the God of the WorldHe rides a chariot pulled a golden boar. In Norse mythology, the sun goddess Sol is pulled travels across the heavens each day in a chariot drawn by two horses with manes of fire.   She is pursued by a wolf named SkollKupala was the Slavic goddess of the Midsummer.  The water mother, She is associated with trees, herbs, sorcery, and flowers.  Her celebration falls upon the Summer Solstice.  

The Arunta people of Australia worship Sun Woman, and the major Japanese deity is the sun goddess, Amaterasu.  It is said that, when she was born it was like the sun rising in the east. Malina is the sun goddess of the Innuit people.  Her brother, Armingan , is the moon god who lusts after her and continually chases her across the sky.  And finally, the aboriginal sun goddess of the Wotjabaluk people of southeast Australia is Gnowee, the Brilliant One, who roams Earth carrying a huge torch, lighting the way for all people on Earth. 

"See what delights in sylvan scenes appear!
Descending Gods have found Elysium here.
In woods bright Venus with Adonis stray'd,
And chaste Diana haunts the forest shade.
Come lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours,
When swains from shearing seek their nightly bow'rs;
When weary reapers quit the sultry field,
And crown'd with corn, their thanks to Ceres yield.
This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,
But in my breast the serpent Love abides.
Here bees from blossoms sip the rosy dew,
But your Alexis knows no sweets but you.
Oh deign to visit our forsaken seats,
The mossy fountains, and the green retreats!
Where-e'er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade,
Trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade,
Where-e'er you tread, the blushing flow'rs shall rise,
And all things flourish where you turn your eyes."
-  Alexander Pope, Summer-

Blessings to all on this most special day.


  1. May all the Gods and Goddesses of the Sun bless you today!

  2. Enjoy the Solstice blessings! What a beautiful time of year!

  3. I hope it ushers in, a peaceful summer for you.


  4. May all the gods and goddesses shine on me tomorrow when I try to plant my garden and end up with an aching back.;0)
    Happy summer to you Mary. (((hugs)))