Welcome to the year’s shortest night and longest day. Rhode Island kids celebrate today’s Summer Solstice as their last day of school and the first day of summer. The sun is up, the sky is blue. Yes, dear Prudence, it’s beautiful.
The Druids erected a megalithic monument to the sun, Stonehenge, as a sacred center for healing. Recent visits to a dermatologist present a challenge for visualizing the sun as a healer. It’s almost impossible to imagine our brilliant celestial body as an evil spirit who entices cells to unceasingly divide, multiply and invade.
The Roman’s accused the Druids of human sacrifices to the sun. The belief that humans must give life to protect life is a conundrum for healers. Then again, as people altered the earth and compromised her protective sky we find ourselves more and more under the power of the sun. It’s only recently that sunbathing was condemned as a death wish. But we are human, after all, so we don’t have to sacrifice being out in the sunshine. As with random sex, we just have to wear protection.
Nick Copernicus ignited a revolution when he proposed that the sun is the center of the known universe. Copernicus’ heliocentric theory of astronomy is simple; the sun rules. Copernicus, like DaVinci, was a classic case of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. He enrolled at a university in Poland where he became fascinated by math but dropped out like Bill and Mark did before altering the world. He changed his major to religion and quickly moved up the cross to a position just below a bishop’s toe. Later he enrolled at another university to study canon law. He was distracted from his ecclesiastical studies by a theory that man not God rules the universe. With this in mind, Nicholas went to medical school. What better way is there to know the inner workings of a god?
Long nights of study gave the scholar time to probe the skies and ponder the mysteries of God and the universe. Copernicus’ thoughts were illuminated by the moon, stars, and candles as he tried to figure out the scientific and divine order that rules the universe. Rather than squint through a telescope mathematics were his vehicle for exploration. As with Einstein half a millennium later, the numbers created a tapestry of brilliant insights. Copernicus understood that neither Earth nor man was the center of the universe. The cleric, physician, mathematician cum astronomer proclaimed that the sun was at the very heart of the world. Earth, he summarized was only the center of gravity and center of the moon’s orbit, but like Earth, it too circles the sun. Copernicus concluded that the circles go far beyond our ability to imagine such a vast expanse of space.
Many a time it is the warmth of the sun enveloping our bodies that illuminates our spirits and brings forth great thanks for the joy of living. We are all planetary bodies that orbit the sun. Each of us has a relative sense of gravity for little moons to circle around us throughout our lifetime. We’ve all been able to endure great grief and serious illnesses during long dark nights because of the most reliable fact known on earth, the sun will rise in the morning even if you are not there to welcome the day.
Today Druids greeted the summer solstice sun at Stonehenge. They still hold to a tradition that as stewards of the earth we are charged to love the land, sea, and sky. From here on the beloved shore of the Narrow River, I send love to all the moons who circle my life and make it bright – you are my sunshine.