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Summer Solstice: Scientific Inspiration for a Symbolic Revolution

June 22nd, 2014 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, should we jettison our 21st century jetpack on occasion and simply turn off?

I’ve always known that summer solstice has both scientific and symbolic significance. I’ve learned that it occurs when the tilt of the planet’s axis is most inclined toward the sun. Therefore, the sun reaches its highest position in the sky on that day. It follows logically that it is the day with the longest hours of daylight and marks the first official day of summer.

But until now, I had never taken the time to look into the etymology of the term. Sources differ somewhat on this point. But they agree more or less in intent.

One source holds that solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). Another source holds that its roots are in the Latin word solsitium which means sun-stopping. In essence, it is the convergence point where the position at which the sun appears to rise and set coincides – the day when the sun theoretically stands still.

Standing still is a radical concept in our era where we feel compelled to be always running to avoid being left behind. Life barrels along at breakneck speed. Technological innovation keeps winding the clock tighter. We wind ourselves up tighter and tighter to keep in step.

It is often said, in the amped up world of technology, that if you are not moving ahead, then you are falling behind. There is no middle ground. The hamster-on-the-wheel never stops to rest. It is tantamount to revolution to think it could be otherwise.

For many of us, holding onto our job demands that we stay on top of the next big technology wave. But even as that wave crests, another even bigger one is forming behind it. The fear of becoming outdated, obsolete and irrelevant can be paralyzing. So we keep on running.

Most of us have become rather adept at sprinting. We hit the ground running every morning. We power through the day at full RPMs. We microwave our dinner and attempt to carve down the size of our ever burgeoning e-mail inbox. Then we crash into bed with the alarm set for blast off again the next morning.

Even vacation is not what it used to be. We knock ourselves out the week leading up to it to effectively bank the time. We jam as much as we can into our days off because they are so hard earned. Then we spend the first week back at work scrambling to catch up.

I believe we all secretly covet the luxury of being able to turn off for a while. We push ourselves harder and harder trying to get ahead of the curve so we can steal a few precious moments to be still, breathe deep and decompress. But we are never quite able to get there.

Perhaps we owe it to ourselves to adopt the solstice metaphor. Every now and then, step aside from the race, take off our jetpack and simply stand still. Find a point of convergence at which our soul reaches to its highest axis and lingers there for the sheer joy of it.

Call it soul solstice. It might inspire a revolution.

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of “Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel” – double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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