O.Wilde, Preface to 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'

The artist is the creator of beautiful things. (...)
Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.
Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.
They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. (...)

No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. (...)
All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.
Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.
It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.
When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself...

O. Wilde (1854-1900),
Preface to 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Summer Solstice


21st   June   2011     

Thanks to the great power of our star, the Sun, civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer, known as Summer Solstice, Midsummer (Shakespeare!), St. John’s Day, the Wiccan Litha, ect…

               ‘Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
                Brief as the lightning in the collied night’
                                         A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1. 1
In the northern hemisphere the Summer Solstice is the day of the year when the Sun is farthest north. It is the longest day of the year (and, as a consequence, and the shortest night of the year).
Sol + stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning "sun" + "to stand still." As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky.

The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun's energy.


The Chinese marked the day by honouring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.
Pagans called the Midsummer moon the "Honey Moon" for the mead made from fermented honey that was part of wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Solstice. Moreover they celebrated Midsummer with bonfires, when couples would leap through the flames, believing their crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump. Midsummer was thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear. To defeat them, Pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers.
The Wiccan Litha

Today, the Summer Solstice is still celebrated around the world - most notably at the sites of Stonehenge and Avebury, in England,  where lots and lots of people from everywhere  gather to welcome the sunrise on such a special day. 

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