Summer solstice is upon us, the longest day of the year and the shortest night. Around the globe people will bake in the sun and celebrate. Since ancient times, summer solstice traditions have included gathering with family and friends to celebrate the return of light, life, fertility, and the potential for a good harvest.
Seattle has an annual parade with naked bike riders with thousands of viewers. At the Fairbanks, Alaska Midnight Sun Festival each year, you can visit a twelve-hour street fair and watch live music from over 30 acts. Finland celebrates the summer solstice, called Juhannus. Traditionally, a privileged time to celebrate weddings and the Finnish used to cast fertility or love spells around this time.
Marijuana has been intwined with solstice since early times from Greeks to Vikings to Egypt. Cannabis has featured in ancient religion, paganism and spirituality around the world.
In Viking culture, cannabis was associated with the Norse goddess of love, Freya. Harvest took place during an erotic high festival in her honor, just as cannabis today is harvested during the time of Samhain, the Celtic pagan festival from which Halloween was born. According to lore, Freya resided in the flowers of the plant, and all one needed to do was ingest the buds to become influenced by this divine feminine force. It is the female marijuana plant that brings the high to cannabis.
The Ancient Greeks used medical marijuana to help humans. They also made use of it in veterinary medicine to dress wounds and sores on horses. Via trade routes use spread throughout the Mediterranean world.
Ancient Assyrian medical tablets housed in the Louvre mention a healing ointment made from cannabis, and Mesopotamian prescriptions for epilepsy included cannabis. Furthermore, some Mesopotamian documents suggest that early Christians employed “Holy Oil” to treat various conditions
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Shamanic and pagan cultures incorporate cannabis spiritually to ponder religious and philosophical subjects, enter a state of enlightenment, and perhaps make discoveries of the mind and subconscious. These uses all point to the efficacy of cannabis as a holistic remedy rather than just a recreational or medicinal substance – perfect for a summer solstice activity.
On a more practical note, there’s a connection between the summer solstice and the cannabis growth cycle. The solstice has traditionally been used to measure out the growing seasons of this ancient plant and is still used today, even in the era of high-tech indoor cannabis farming. Long, warm summer days make for the perfect environment for growing marijuana.
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As you plan to make this day in the sun, perhaps you will gather friends and family and start a new journey.