I’m participating in the first annual Fantasy SciFi Readers Lounge Solstice Scavenger Hunt. Prizes include a $75 cash prize and 19 e-books so you’ll want to check the News page for how to enter. I’m also offering a special additional prize so keep reading for those details and the special Scavenger Hunt phrase you need!
First though, a couple definitions to help us all get on the same page:
Solstice – either of the two times in the year (summer or winter) when the sun reaches its highest or lowest point in the sky at noon, marked by the longest and shortest days.
Equinox – the time or date (twice each year) at which the sun crosses the celestial equator, when day and night are of equal length (about September 22 and March 20).
These scientific definitions can’t capture the fantasy elements of magic, superstition, or tradition of these events though. That’s one of the things I love about reading and writing urban fantasy and magical realism. Such stories can explore the elemental connection between man, nature, and magic.
The Rahki Chronicles certainly plays around with those themes, and I enjoyed the research needed to bring the magical realism to life. There are references to the seasons, solstices, and equinoxes. My fictional warriors and Gypsies even have their own unique traditions for each. As with real-world celebrations, their traditions are a mix of various cultures and often include a historical imprint despite the modern setting. BTW, I’m also a bit of a selenophile and have written about the moon previously. It is closely connected to the sun and also plays a pivotal role in folk tales and customs. However, as this is a Summer Solstice Scavenger Hunt Blog, let’s delve into that a bit more with three facts:
- Solstice comes from the Latin words sol, meaning Sun and sistere, meaning to come to a stop or stand still.
- The June solstice is the only day of the year when all locations inside the Arctic Circle experience a continuous period of daylight for 24 hours.
- Midsummer, Litha, St. John’s Day – as is often the case, there are different names for solstice celebrations.
Many of these celebrations embrace change and new beginnings. Look at it this way – if your New Years Resolution fell by the wayside, the summer solstice is a great time to start again! And yes, I’ve blogged about that too, and you can read it here!
Another similar characteristic to solstice celebrations across the world is the feminine edge!
Ancient Romans celebrated the goddess of the hearth, Vesta, while the Chinese associate solstice with yin (the feminine force). Yes, my images went with the warrior woman approach, but I still stand by it.
[BTW, if you want to celebrate strong women by reading my series (Mia Rayner is our heroine, but you’ll find many types of strong women in the #RahkiWorld), you can enter my secret Rahki Rambles newsletter contest by sharing the pinned post on my author Facebook page by 11:59pm on June 30, 2019 (Eastern). One randomly selected winner will receive the digital boxed set of Books 1-3. Find that post here!]
Another solstice theme is magic which always includes the potential for evil. Have no fear as there are ways to protect yourself. Our ancestors believed garlands of flowers would ward off the evil spirits. One such plant was called ‘chase devil’, but you may know it as St. John’s Wort.
[just in case you missed these words previously and are still scavenging]
My friends, whether you are lighting bonfires, dancing around a May pool, wearing flowers, or participating in a scavenger hunt, I hope the Summer Solstice brings you and yours the magic of hope and new beginnings. Feel free to share your own traditions by commenting below.
Here are some of the links I used to steal some details: