Saturday, June 20, 2009


As is the longstanding tradition at AML to post something Arthurian on
every "Alban Hefin", so here goes:

On this day, 21 June, the first day of summer, and the longest day of
the year when Sol Invictus ("The Unconquerable Sun") is at its zenith,
the Midsummer Solstice is celebrated by Druids, Neo-Pagans, Pagans,
Wiccans and Alchemists throughout the world --- from Ireland, Scotland,
Wales and England, to Persia, Russia, Korea and China (note that the
Summer Solstice is delayed for two weeks in Asia).

The Midsummer Solstice marks the end of the reign of the Oak King (of
the waxing year), who is replaced by his successor the Holly King (of
the waning year), who will reign till the Midwinter Solstice.

Around this date, the deities traditionally honoured are fertility gods
and goddesses such as Cerridwen, Cuchulain, Kupala (in Russia) and The
Green Man. In the church calendar, June 23 is known as St. John's Eve.
At Beddeglert, South Wales, crowds gathered annually on June 21 to bathe
in the waters of St. Celert at Ffynnon Celer, near Llangeler in
Carmarthenshire, 17 kilometres from Merlin's Hill, seeking miraculous
cures from sickness. Merlin's Hill lies on the Midwinter Solstice line
from Dinas Emrys. Half a mile away, at Pumpsaint, the musuem of
Carmartheshire has on display an 8-spoked golden sun-wheel, decorated
with tiny golden balls, dating back to Roman times, perhaps symbolizing
the "wheel of the year".

On the nights of the full moon, Arthur and his warriors emerge from the
side of South Cadbury Castle to ride around the hill on horses shod with
silver, and water their horses at Arthur's Well. But it is also said
categorically in local folklore that on Midsummer Eve, the golden gates
on the hillside open for an instant, where one might catch a glimpse of
Arthur and his entire court seated within, enjoying a great feast.

On this day, at Midsummer, the modern-day British druids traditionally
gather at Stonehenge in Wiltshire to welcome the Midsummer sunrise ---
though it must be stressed that Stonehenge dates back as early as the
Mesolithic period, as far back as 8,000 BC, and was certainly not
erected by the Druids.

In the meantime, the Sun continues to be venerated at the Midsummer
Solstice there, be it in the guise of "Merlin", "Arthur", the Christ,
St. George, St. John, Melchizadek, Mithras, "Sol Invictus" or the Sacred
Masculine ...

from Karen Han from Yahoo Group Arthurian Myths and Legends

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