Tag Archives: sun

Greeting the sun

Druidry often has a strong solar component to it, and I’m aware of a number of Druids for whom greeting the sun in the morning is definitely a thing.

Like most people, I’ve spent most of my life obliged to live by clock time while ignoring my natural rhythms. However, in the last few years I’ve had much more opportunity to live without alarms in the morning and it’s given me the chance to find out what my body does when left to its own devices.

It turns out that this is a highly seasonal thing for me. I’ve always hated getting up in the dark during the winter. Being able to wake with the light means that I also tend to stay up much later at this point in the year than at any other. During the spring, I wake with the dawn, and that process becomes ever less viable as the hours of light in the day increase. At some point – probably in May, I stop waking with the dawn, and during the summer my sleep patterns tend to be erratic – heat doesn’t help with that. Then as autumn progresses, I start waking with the dawn again.

Now that I’ve had more than a year to think about it, I find it makes perfect sense that I don’t have a fixed relationship with the sun. I’m greatly affected by seasonal shifts, so my body does very different things at different times of year. No doubt other people would respond in different ways. 

I’m also not surprised to find that I’m far more comfortable when I can sleep and wake according to my own needs. Clock time really hasn’t been good for me. I’m fortunate in being in a situation where I can honour my own needs and nature, and I wonder how much human health is impacted by not being able to do that.

Not a sun worshipper

I’m not great in the heat. I’m not the sort of person to rush enthusiastically into the blazing sun with the expectation of being able to do stuff. However, the sun and the summer are part of the natural world, and furthermore, I pledged some time ago that I would undertake to love the world as climate chaos manifests, and not in spite of it.

How does a Pagan who does not cope well with hot weather honour the sun while trying not to go out in it?

On some of the really hot days I’ve been unable to function at all in the afternoon. I’ve had to flop out, and this has meant being entirely focused on the conditions, as I could think of little else. It’s possible to be intensely involved with the sun and the heat without being directly exposed.

I’m outside more at twilight. For me, the summer evenings and the night time are central to how I experience summer, because I can safely go out and do stuff. Twilight is as much part of the summer as the sun is, and many creatures are abroad at this time who also avoid the heat of the day. As the air cools, I notice where the ground and the brickwork are still hot from the day. I experience the residual heat. There’s something magical about being able to feel cold at night when the day has felt like being in a furnace.

Experiencing the sun is very different if you are under trees. This landscape should be wooded. Most of our ancestors had far more access to trees than we do. I’m lucky in that there is a shady cycle path close to my home, and I can be out on it without overheating. You can experience the sun in nature without being directly under the sky.

Humans do some rather odd things in response to heat when you compare us to other mammals. That we work, and don’t normally change our sleeping and eating habits in response to the conditions is unusual. Most mammals aren’t active when it’s hot. Anyone wearing a fur coat is obliged to take things gently in hot conditions. Anyone who isn’t wearing a fur coat is at high risk of sunburn.

I spent some time with some pigs recently, and in the hot part of the day they just flopped out in the shade. Many of us are not cut out for sun worship, and there’s nothing unnatural or un-Pagan about that.

The sun returns

In my memory at least, aside from one week in February and another in April, last year was grey. It rained a shocking amount, and there was nothing even slightly resembling a summer. Well, we have a bit of sun now, and I can only hope that’s not last year’s pattern playing out again.

I didn’t used to be much of a sun worshipper, but have come to appreciate it, in its absence. The good weather for drying washing, the option of having a window open, the not wading through mud or flood on a regular basis. Rural life is not easy in bad weather, especially if you don’t have a car, but in the sun, it’s pure joy. We did quite a long cycle ride today, needing to sort things further afield, and the pleasure of pedalling along (on the downhill bits) was considerable. Being outside on a day like today is a delight, and I feel much more cheerful and alive for the experience.

Come rain, hail or snow I go out most days – unless I’m really ill. There are things to do that cannot be done on the boat – the school run in particular. I can’t claim I always like encountering nature in the raw. Nature can be cold and wet, and not especially forgiving. But when there’s a beautiful sunrise over the misty canal (today) or I’m greeted by a succession of wildlife – yesterday we had a buzzard, heron and kingfisher – that’s inspiring and cheering.

There’s something about colour. I may wear a lot of dark and subtle hues, but I love having colour in my environment. I struggle in the winter with the lack of colour at least as much as with the shortage of light. Today the sky is the most vivid shade of blue, and this makes me happy. The sunsets have been rich and brilliant this week, also wonderful. Soon there will be leaves on the trees again and even in the rain, the world will not be quite so grey. If there’s enough light to show up the fabulous blue iridescence of the kingfisher, so much the better.

I’m hoping for a good sort of year. One with plenty of blue skies in it. One full of opportunity and reasons to smile. We’ve got some fairly epic challenges ahead, as a family, some major upheavals in the offing. The small one changes school and we’ll be moving, and who knows what else? Hopefully these things will be more like adventures and less like stress-fests. But today the sky is blue, and I feel optimistic.