Today at 11:39 am CDT is the Summer Solstice, the longest day (and shortest night) in the Earth’s annual journey around the sun. The sun rose this morning (and will set this evening) at its northernmost points on the horizon, and will soon begin its journey to more southerly rising- and setting-points.
The Solstice falls approximately midway in the fortnight (June 14-28) governed by the rune Dag or Dagaz. This fortnight is the “door” which lies at the meeting-point of the half of the solar year when daily light is increasing, and the half in which it is declining. It is interesting to note this rune’s physical similarities and differences with Jera, the rune of the Winter Solstice, which appears opposite Dag in the Runic Compass. It is interesting to note, as well, that Dag’s literal meaning is “day” while Jera’s is “year.”
The Summer Solstice is also that point in the ordinary calendar when we enter the summer season.
During prehistoric times, summer was a joyous occasion for people in the northern latitudes. The snow had disappeared, the ground had thawed, warm temperatures returned. With these changes, food was able to be grown and animals and wild food became easy to find. Flowers bloomed and leaves returned to the trees, and with these came herbal medicines ancient people could use to cure themselves of illness. Since their crops had been planted prior to the Summer Solstice, the people felt confident knowing that harvest was months ahead. They felt gratitude for the warm weather and for the relative ease and safety it brought.
This is also the traditional time for weddings. Originally holding weddings in June was a way to pay respect to ancient fertility rites.
Overall Dag is a beneficial rune of light, health, prosperity, and new beginnings. In the spiritual realm, it represents cosmic consciousness, with light as a source of strength and joy. It is a rune of clear vision, enlightenment, and total awakening.
Usually Dag is interpreted as the light of day and is linked with the sun cult. However, it is important to recognize that for the Germans each day began in darkness. Tacitus, the Roman historian who recorded the fact in Germania, found it very strange: “Instead of reckoning days as we do, they reckon by nights, and in this manner fix both their ordinary and their legal appointments. Night they regard as bringing on the day.”
The passage of the sun across the sky may be likened to the passage of the human soul through its earthly life. It begins in the darkness of the womb; birth is like the dawn; the fullness of manhood comes at noon; old age brings twilight; and death seals the eyelids on darkness once again. In this context, therefore, Dag and the Summer Solstice can signify the zenith of one’s vitality.
The rune’s form is directly related to a geometry derived from astronomical observation. One side of the Dag rune follows the path of the sun’s light projected on the ground at the time of the Winter Solstice. The other reflects the sun’s path at the Summer Solstice. The central cross marks the intersection of the diagonal axes of the solstice sunrises and sunsets. At the crossing point is the nowl, through which the Cosmic Axis runs upwards and downwards. The pattern is archetypal, and of great antiquity in northern Europe.
For example, Nigel Pennick notes that its form is inherent in the Station Stone Rectangle at Stonehenge, which marks the solstice sunrises and sunsets. Its appearance at Stonehenge makes Dag at least 4,000 years old, and maybe older yet.
In its shape, Dag symbolizes the balance between polarities. As a marker of the high point of the year, Dag expresses the seeming paradox of conjunction when apparent opposites are unified. It is a rune of the balancing of opposites—not as contradictions and opposition, but as compliments and counterbalances.
Magically, Dag can be used to complete anything that is ongoing or unfinished. It can be used to invoke a realization, a fresh start, an awakening of the senses, or greater understanding of the totality of existence. It encourages completion according to the natural laws of the gods and can be used to define limits and set amounts.
As the light of Nature, Dag can be used to summon an end to a period of darkness, confusion, or uncertainty and can banish the oppressive influence of a hostile environment. Dag may be used to summon clarity, or to reveal the hidden motivations and actions of an enemy. It may further be invoked to set aside past “bad blood” and begin with a clean slate.
Groove of the Day
92° and Clear