This Sunday, June 21, is not only the Summer Solstice, it is also Fathers' Day, so for The Bad Witch's God of the Week I have chosen a sun deity who is also a prolific father.
Helios, the Greek god who drove the chariot of the sun through the sky each day, had more than two dozen children, by several different consorts. This handsome god loved getting about and having a good time, but never settled down and married.
Perhaps luckily for Helios, Fathers' Day doesn't date back as far as Ancient Greece, or he would have been a very busy deity. In fact, the celebration is only about 100 years old. At the start of the last century, several people independently seemed to get the idea that if there was a Mothers' Day, there ought to be a Fathers' Day too.
The first recorded observance took place on July 5, 1908, at the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South of Fairmont, USA. A year later, in 1909, a woman called Sonora Smart Dodd, of Washington, USA, while listening to a Mothers' Day service, also thought it would be nice to have a day for fathers. She worked hard to get Fathers' Day officially recognised internationally, but it was only made a federal holiday in America in 1966. In England, Fathers' Day is celebrated, but isn't marked with an official bank holiday - although as most countries celebrate it on a Sunday - the third Sunday in June - most people aren't at work anyway.
Fathers' Day isn't a particularly religious event, but with it falling on the same day as the Solstice, it would seem appropriate to honour father gods, as well as our own paternal ancestors, in whatever rituals we have planned.
Here are details of organised events and rituals taking place over the solstice: http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/06/what-to-do-this-summer-solstice.html
Or if you fancy doing a quiet solstice ritual on your own, here are a few suggestions: http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/06/doing-your-own-solstice-thing.html
The Hendrik Goltzius Helios Framed Art Poster Print - 11" X 17" pictured above is available for sale through Amazon
Hendrik Goltzius (Follow »ancient gods," Helios) Framed Art Poster Print - 11" X 17"