Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Solstice!

The Summer Solstice happens today in the Northern Hemisphere at 7:59 PM EDT. Be sure to raise a glass to the orange ball at that time.
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.
As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Northern Hemisphere celebrates in June, but the people on the Southern half of the earth have their longest summer day in December.
Early Celebrations Awed by the great power of the sun, civilizations in the northern areas have for centuries celebrated the Summer Solstice, otherwise known as Midsummer (see Shakespeare), the Christian St. John's Day, or the Wiccan Litha. The Celts & Slavs celebrated with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun's energy. The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light. Perhaps the most enduring modern ties with Summer Solstice were the Druids' celebration of the day as the "wedding of Heaven and Earth", resulting in the present day belief of a "lucky" wedding in June.
Today, the day is still celebrated around the world - most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands still gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice. Pagan spirit gatherings or festivals are also common in June, when groups gather to light a sacred fire, and stay up all night to welcome the dawn.
Summer Solstice Fun Facts 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. Ancient Pagans 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 thwart them, Pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers. One of the most powerful of them was a plant called 'chase-devil', which is known today as St. John's Wort and still used by modern herbalists as a mood stabilizer.
I'm going to have a mood stabilizer tonight :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

First Sail

Break out the champagne! We finally got the sails up. We had very little wind, and no waves, but managed to squeeze out about 5 knots at one time. The wind was under 10, and with the flat water we were able to get moving. So, for a shakedown, it was successful. Hopefully we can ramp it up bit for the next time out. Daughter Kell, came out to give us old folks a hand, but pretty much just polished off our snacks :0 Thanks to all who helped us dock the beast. I had a hard time with the prop walk, and over-reacted in applying reverse. WhisperIII would take a lot of reverse throttle to stop her, but his girl will just take off in reverse. I stopped short, but no harm done. Thanks to S/V Reach, for the photo. So we are officially into our four year plan to sail away. We will celebrate the solstice this weekend. Maybe a sunset champagne toast is in order. Not sure if we will see the sun this weekend :(