i never really noticed


hi everyone! hope you’re having a great weekend! as always it feels like forever since i’ve had the chance to get to the blog and just sit and write. i have a friend who wanted to celebrate the summer solstice this year and i thought it would be fun to do some research on it since of course i’ve heard of it but never really felt any connection to it per se,  just a good day to get outside and enjoy the sun. when i started to look into it i fell deep into the ancient world. in fact so much of their world was wrapped up in this day! the ancients were so connected to the stars, nature and the universe that every civilization on every continent built monolithic structures to honor the sun for two days a year, and just for a few moments at that! as an amateur archaeologist i have to say this really has me intrigued. i had to stop myself from researching every single one and i hope you enjoy the few i found. i could have spent my entire life on the planet and never have even noticed this day was longer than all others. but since it’s so special i think i’ll head out to do a sun salutation and acknowledge this supernatural day! how are you going to celebrate?

World English Dictionary
Summer Solstice
— n
the time at which the sun is at its northernmost point in the sky (southernmost point in the S hemisphere), appearing at noon at its highest altitude above the horizon. It occurs about June 21 .

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even NASA gets into it! sunearthday.nasa.gov

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This is summer’s height, midsummer, the longest day and the shortest night of the earth’s solar year. Here we celebrate the completion of the cycle that began at the winter solstice. In the midst of the longest day of the year, we simultaneously begin our return to the dark half of the year.
 Solstice means “standing of the sun” and we can connect to this great turning point in the earth’s yearly cycle by taking a moment to stop, be still and look back at our own unique journey since the winter solstice. From now to the winter solstice everything in earth will be withdrawing within.
Focus on what you wish to nurture and develop in yourself during the coming months. The summer solstice is a doorway into the second half of the year, energizing the paths that lead within



Astronomical science and Ritual

Civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer. The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun’s energy. The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light. The most enduring modern ties with Summer Solstice were the Druids’ celebration of the day as the “wedding of Heaven and Earth”.

The Honey moon / Summer Solstice

The first (or only) full moon in June is called the Honey Moon. Tradition holds that this is the best time to harvest honey from the hives.

This time of year, between the planting and harvesting of the crops, was the traditional month for weddings. June remains a favorite month for marriage today. In some traditions, “newlywed couples were fed dishes and beverages that featured honey for the first month of their married life to encourage love and fertility. The surviving vestige of this tradition lives on in the name given to the holiday immediately after the ceremony: The Honeymoon.”


Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

The axis of Stonehenge, which aligns with the monument’s entrance, is oriented in the direction of the midsummer sunrise.


Teotihuacan Temple of the Sun a pre-Columbian temple located in Mexico, was also oriented to the sun’s passage at the Summer Solstice.


Ancient Egypt  Sirius (the dog star) rose on the Summer Solstice, heralding the beginning of their new year, just before the season of the Nile’s flooding. On the summer solstice at the latitude of Giza, the sun rises 28 degrees north of east. On the winter solstice, it rises about 28 degrees south of east. By contrast, the main characteristic of the equinoxes is that the sun always rises due east providing a sure and accurate reference to one of the cardinal directions. It is towards this reference point, with high precision, that the gaze of the Sphinx is set- not by accident but specifically designed.


Göbekli Tepe showed the rising of Sirius at azimuth 172°, a few days before summer solstice, in 9,100 BC. The circular stone enclosures known as the temple at Göbekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey remain the oldest of its kind, dating back to around the 10th millennium B.C.  


 Ajanta Caves India Cave 26 is oriented to the summer solstice so that, on that particular day, the sun will illuminate the stupa in this cave. Precise calculations and tools would have been needed to be able to orient the caves to the solstices since the caves are carved inside the rock.



Ancient China: Taosi observatory . Summer solstice ceremony celebrated the earth, the feminine, and the yin forces. It complemented the winter solstice which celebrated the heavens, masculinity and yang forces.


Ancient Megalithic Observatory Kokino
Kokino (Macedonian: Кокино) is a Bronze Age archaeological site in the Republic of Macedonia, approximately 30 km from the town of Kumanovo, and about 6 km from the Serbian border. It is situated between about 1010 and 1030 m above sea level overlooking Kokino.Angkor_Wat

Ankor Wat Cambodia The builders of Angkor Wat created a structure and orientation as a reminder of the greater cosmic order, reflected in both the passage of time, and in the changing rays of the sun twice a  year. Cambodia’s Angkor Wat had encoded calendrical, historical and cosmological themes into the architectural plan for the temple. Angkor Wat’s architect had established solar alignments between the temple and a nearby mountaintop shrine that took place during the summer solstice.



 Newgrange, Ireland Observing the Summer Solstice Sunset through the roofbox from inside Carrowkeel Cairn G. Newgrange boasts the fact that it is older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Egypt, having survived over five thousand years.


Ancient Rome: The festival of Vestalia was held in honor of the Roman Goddess of the hearth, Vesta. For Romans, the summer solstice was all about honoring the goddess Vesta, the goddess of the hearth.


Externsteine, Germany  Archaeological excavations produced Paleolithic and Mesolithic stone tools dating to before about 10,000 BC. Directly above the altarstone a circular hole is cut into the wall, facing the direction of sunrise at the time of Summer Solstice.


Chankillo, Peru Towers mark the sun’s position throughout the year. Still standing today, the site was constructed in approximately the 4th century B.C. The 2,300-year-old solar observatory at Chankillo precedes, by about 500 years, the monuments of similar purpose constructed by the Mayans in Central America.


Malta Solar Observatory at Mtahleb On the 21st June during the summer solstice the first rays of the sun light up the edge of a megalith found to the left of the central doorway connecting the first pair of chamber to the inner chamber of the Lower Mnajdra Temple. At the same time at Hagar Qim sunlight passes through a hole known as he oracle hole which opens onto a chamber on the northeast side of the structure.


Here the sun’s rays project a disk of light onto a stone slab at the entrance to the apse. As the minutes pass the disc becomes a crescent, then elongates into an elipse, then elongates still further and finally sinks out of sight as though into the ground.


Petra, ancient city in Jordan  built by the Nabataeans were built to track astronomical movements of the sun. The results of their statistical analysis, Light and Shadows over Petra: Astronomy and Landscape in Nabataean Lands,


has been published in the Nexus Network Journal and indicates that equinoxes, solstices and other astronomical events influenced the Nabataean religion.


Essenes: This was a Jewish religious group active in Palestine during the 1st century CE and the only one to use a solar calendar. Archaeologists have found that the largest room of the ruins at Qumran (location of the Dead Sea Scrolls) appears to be a sun temple.  At the time of the summer solstice, the rays of the setting sun shine at 286 degrees along the building’s longitudinal axis, and illuminate the eastern wall. The room is oriented at exactly the same angle as the Egyptian shrines dedicated to the sun.



Pueblo Indians At summer solstice one dagger of light descends through the center of the large spiral. As summer progresses and the sun’s declination decreases, the position of the dagger shifts progressively rightward across the large spiral and a second dagger of light appears to the left.


Hopi tribe  Hopi sacred time and space are marked by positions on the horizon where the sun rises and sets at summer and winter solstices.  A fundamental theme of the Hopi world view is that the universe is divided into two realms, the upper world of the living and the lower world of spirits. Events occur regularly between these two worlds in alternating cycles. For example, the sun moves between the upper world by day and the lower world by night. Likewise, it follows an alternating cycle through the year. When it is planting time (Spring) in the upper world, it is harvest time (Fall) in the lower world.


Native Americans have created countless stone structures linked to equinoxes and solstices. Many are still standing.  It is in a natural amphitheatre of about 20 acres in size in Vermont. From a stone enclosure in the center of the bowl, one can see a number of vertical rocks and other markers around the edge of the bowl “At the summer solstice, the sun rose at the southern peak of the east ridge and set at a notch at the southern end of the west ridge.” 



Temple of the Sun One of the most important buildings in Machu Picchu is the Temple of the Sun. It is quite unique in its construction due to the rounded walls, in addition to the windows that align with the summer and winter solstices.




Jantar Mantar of Delhi. Jantar Mantar was built by Maharaja Jai Singh II in 1724. It was built to observe and compile astronomical tables which would be used to predict the times and movements of Sun, Moon and other planets. To celebrate Summer Solstice,  Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) foundation conducted a public outreach programme, “Solar Fest”, at Jantar Mantar.


 Egypt, Karnak Temple:  Inside the Karnak Temple one can see the Sun rise dramatically in the entryway, between the high walls of the ancient monument. For a few moments, the Sun’s rays gleam through the pillars and chambers. Arnak is just one of many sites like it in Egypt. A survey of 650 Egyptian temples has led to the conclusion that most of the sites were built in recognition of celestial events—especially sunrise on the equinoxes and solstices.

Below we are more megalithic structures and temples found all over the world that align with these events:

The Osirieon, Egypt

The Essene Monastery, Qumran, Egypt

The Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Delphi, Greece

Ahu Tongariki, Easter Island

The 4-handed Moai Statue, Easter Island

The Great Sphinx of Egypt

Glastonbury, England

Mynydd Dinas, Rhondda, Wales

The Millmount-Croagh Patrick alignment, Ireland

Cairn T at Loughcrew ~ Ireland

Knowth , Ireland

Tallaght Hill of the Fair Gods, Mount Seskin, Ireland

Cairnpapple and Arthur’s Seat alignment, Scotland

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, Mexico

Dzibilchaltun, the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico

The Temple of the Descending God at Tulum , Yucatán, Mexico

The Pyramid of the Magician at Uxmal, Yucatán, Mexico

Tikal , Guatemala

The Lost World Pyramid at Tikal, Guatemala

The Sun Gate at Tiwanaku ~ Bolivia

Intihuatana Stone, Peru

Nazca Lines, Peru

The Urubamba Sacred Valley, the Andes of Peru

Serpent Mound, Ohio, United States

Great Zimbabwe , Zimbabwe, Africa

Wurdi Youang stone arrangement, Victoria, Australia

i hope this brand new phase brings you joy, love, prosperity and happiness!

June 21, 2014. Tags: , . Summer Solstice.


  1. Peggy Braswell replied:

    how interesting + didn’t know that + have always been aware of summer solstice + great post. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com


    • The Paris Apartment replied:

      hi peggy, funny/strange huh? i know they’re doing yoga in times square today to celebrate but what a long strange trip it’s been!


  2. Valerie replied:

    A most interesting article – thank you :)
    It’s mid-winter here and I’m looking forward to the lengthening days.


  3. Clare replied:

    We have more in common with everyone than we initially assume. And more in common with people across the ages. I do wish we could celebrate similarities and togetherness. I shall quote your fabulous evidence ad nauseum until my community get the message! Thank you.


    • The Paris Apartment replied:

      it’s so true, yet we’re so removed. i hope we can learn from each other and the past and see out similarities rather that the differences. apparently we all have the love of the sun in common!


  4. Nikon replied:

    Great photos, Claudia, with tons of information.
    Amazing what the ancients accomplished in building these “observatories.”


    • The Paris Apartment replied:

      surprising and strange. i love the ancient world and wonder if we’ll ever understand a fraction of it!


  5. Connie* replied:

    I love when you “get into” things like this. Soooooo interesting. Midsummer was a big day when I was growing up in Montana. We loved it as kids because we could stay up Forever!!! Then we’d have a big bonfire when it finally got dark. I really never did know much about it until now. Thanks, Claudia!


  6. tessa37 replied:

    what a wealth of information!!!

    thank you!

    i love to notice the changing of the seasons, and the movement of the wheel of the year. we modern people, have lost a lot, in losing our connection to the natural world. with all its cycles, etc. me-thinks.



  7. Karena Albert replied:

    It is all so magical and mystical Claudia, this feature is amazing!!

    The Arts by Karena


  8. Dad replied:

    Wonderful! Who knew!


  9. Jules replied:

    I wanted to go like, like, like all the way down your photos so guess i am still in IG mode and have to learn Blog mode all over again!J


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  12. Clare replied:

    Amazing post, Claudia. I find all of this so interesting. I did the Inca trek last year to Machu Picchu and it was definitely one of the most phenomenal experiences of my life. Now I see I have so many more to discover!!

    Clare x


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