There are many monuments built throughout ancient history, some still standing, that were erected to plot the course of the Sun and to mark the passing of the seasons. In Germany, Greece, Egypt, South America, and the Far East men built these " timekeepers" to guide them from the planting to the harvesting seasons, and to honor their Gods and Goddesses. The care and precision that these structures were built with also shows us that our ancestors, without precision tools, or calculators and computers, were very intelligent and resourceful human beings.
Other names for the Summer Solstice include: Sommer - Sonnenwende, Johannisnacht, Midsummer's eve and Litha. In Latin the word, "solstice", means something like, the Sun stands still. And in some ways it does ! The Sun reminds me of a pendulum swinging back and forth. The Summer Solstice is the widest point of the swing, and then there is a pause before it heads back in the other direction. ( Towards the Winter Solstice ). In the higher latitudes they will begin a period of 24 hours of sunlight. In ancient times this period was marked with rituals, celebrations and bonfires. I remember reading something once about couples jumping through the fires. The height at which they jumped through the fire marked the height of their crops to come. We the modern practitioners of the old ways continue these traditions to this day.
Some curse the heat of the summer, but I welcome it ! There is something purifying about the effect of heat on the body when one is sweating. It's almost as though our bodies are being cleansed of all the impurities we ingested during the Winter months, as the rivulets of sweat ooze out of our pores. The Native Americans knew this very well, and would have special huts set up for just this purpose. These "sweat huts" were used to heal the sick of a variety of ailments. On a day trip a few years ago I actually saw a re - creation of one of these huts at Waterloo Village in Stanhope, New Jersey. They had a replica of one used by the Delaware Indians. ( Sadly this restored village has since close down. Another victim of our economy. )
As we all know heat has the ability to cure and to mend our bodies. People use heating pads, take sitz baths, use heat wraps etc.. But heat, and sunlight especially, seem to be able to help the soul as well. The malaise of Cabin Fever can be rapidly reversed with bright sunlight and a warm day. Doctors actually recommend bright natural lighting for people's homes who suffer from this affliction. The most important purpose for this extra summer sunlight, is of course, photosynthesis. For this is Earth's growing season. A time for life to flourish, a time for us to tend to our great Mother Earth, who nourishes us with fruits, vegetables, and grains. And of course it is a time to thank and honor our great Gods and Goddesses for all they have done, and continue to do for us. Holding a ritual, or blot, seems like such a small price to pay for all the great things the Gods and Goddesses give us. Incredibly, I believe, it is all they ask of us !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !