LOCAL, PHOTOS: We begin to lean in to Summer Solstice

In case you haven’t noticed, the Sun is rising further NE than at any other time of year. Likewise, it sets further NW. All day long, it arcs across the sky nearly overhead, which is why the day is so much longer than the night. Unlike in winter, when at that Solstice Sun rises SE and sets SW, and never gets that far above the horizon during its short days.


So here we are, nearly at Summer Solstice, the time of fullness, when the dreams of winter manifest in reality, thanks to the Sun, which heats the earth and makes seemingly lifeless plants turn green, grow, and flower. Hildegaard, a 12th century mystic nun, called this phenomenon “veriditas,” the greening, that mysterious force of Nature to which we owe our very lives.

For this location, the Solstice itself, when the Sun reaches 0°00 Cancer, occurs at 6:45 PM EDT, Monday evening, June 20, and about ten hours after this month’s Full Moon at 5°42 Capricorn.

This Summer Solstice imprints on us the ongoing Saturn/Neptune/Jupiter T-cross which has us all so bedazzled and befuddled by the many varieties, one might say, of “Truth,” — notice the many names we have for it now, “truthiness,” “verisimilitude,” “credibility,” and so on: Saturn in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Virgo, large vs. small, philosophical vs. analytic, either or both of which can crush our most sensitive feelings (Neptune in Pisces).

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And this Solstice brings us the powerful, ongoing Mars in Scorpio drama, which forces old buried, emotional stuff to the surface, for review, and hopefully, release.

Here in the Green Acres Permaculture Village, we are readying ourselves for an event, to be held Sunday evening, the night before Solstice. This event will have three parts.

First, at 5 P.M., an orientation for anyone who is interested in joining hOUR Bloomington Timebank,  a wonderful, and powerful way to both extend one’s valuable time and skills to others in exchange for time and skills that you need, not necessarily from the same person. Timebanks value each person’s contribution as equal to all others; whether someone helps another cleaning their house, or giving their services as an attorney, both are equally valued. Timebanks are one way that we can create an eco-nomy, below the money matrix. An added benefit of the Timebank is that it helps us meet new people. Obviously, the more people who sign up for the timebank, the more valuable it becomes for its members. This event will herald hOUR timebank’s first anniversary!

We are holding the event here in the Green Acres Village, partly because I need the hours! I currently owe about 30 hours — thanks to computer help from a member who does IT — and so must make up those hours! Everything I do to prepare for this event, including writing this post, cleaning up the patio, deciding how to publicize it, talking with others about it, cleaning up afterwards, etc. etc., helps me discharge my debt to the timebank.

Not that I wouldn’t be doing a Solstice event anyhow. Over the years we in Green Acres have held a number of Solstice events, both Summer and Winter. About ten years ago, we did an event so elaborate that it required a workshop beforehand to make the decorations for it, and included a parade through the neighborhood and a wishing tree. Two years ago, we held a Solstice Ceremony and breakfast at the moment of the Solstice itself, which happened to be around 6:30 AM! We thought no one would come except we who live here. To our surprise, a dozen people showed up. At that ceremony, my friend Ted led us in a blessing for the garden. Which led me to invite him to come down from Oakwood Retreat Center where he lives, once again, to lead us in a blessing.

But that’s later in the evening. First, as I said, the Timebank oreintation.

Next, at around 6 p.m. potluck. And I hear rumors that there will be music for this one, that someone is bringing instruments. Great!

And finally, at around 7:30 p.m. our Solstice Ceremony, which will include an initial circle, where I will talk about the symbology of Summer Solstice and podmate Brie will talk about what we are doing here to manifest our vision; Rebecca will then lead a tour through the grounds of this three-house complex; finally, we will circle up again for Ted to lead us in a Blessing Ceremony, this time not just for the Green Acres Garden, but for the Green Acres Village germinating here in Green Acres, this sweet little community springing up in the middle of an existing neighborhood.

Here’s the patio where our event will be held. This patio saw many many events last year, including the Witchy Woman’s Equinox Celebration and Ceremony!


Last night neighbor Jen and I sorted rock and bricks, lining one of the patio garden beds with the bricks,

brick rim

and handing the rocks to Rebecca, who is busy making a path to the new chicken house next door.

(By the way, one of the things that helps what we are doing as “wild” permaculturists be more acceptable townspeople is to make edges like that above. To show that our work is intentional, no accident. Somehow, borders help sooth the fears of those whose imaginations limit them to loud mowing of featureless, monocultured, herbicided lawns.)

rock trail

The new chicks are still separated from the older hens,

new chicks— oops! I’m at the gate and look down; there are two of the five hens. No, no, you can’t come out right now!

by gate

Since Rebecca is the designer of the grounds, our place is not just practical, but artistic.

Here’s a standing stone . . .

standing stone

And a bird’s nest flower . . .

bird nest flower

I asked Rebecca what she wanted me to do today (I try to give an hour or two to the project on a daily basis). Plant these little flowers, she told me.




“What color will their flowers be?”

“I don’t know! We thought they were berry plants, and they’re not!”

I’ll end with Brie’s third weekly “communique” to the CSA members of our new Green Acres Urban Farm.

Oh yeah, and check out especially this news!

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