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Today is the 2010 Summer Solstice, the northern hemisphere’s longest day of sunlight, spiritually significant for practitioners of nature-based religions — Wiccans, contemporary Pagans, Druids, Native American/First Nations cultures, etc. (The timing of this ancient observance, sometimes called Midsummer, also factors into the Christian celebration of the Feast of St. John later this week, and other annual religious observances.)

As I noted in my Religion News Service story last week, the Pagan Spirit Gathering in Missouri, one of the largest faith-based solstice events in North America, is conducting prayers and rituals to help the Earth heal from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and hasten the cleanup efforts promised by BP officials.labyrinth.jpg (No word on whether the masses gathered at England’s Stonehenge today had any words or actions for the British company’s impact on Mother Earth.) Here’s a photo of the event’s traditional Solstice Eve candlelight labyrinth, courtesy of Selena Fox, a high priestess at Circle Sanctuary, a pagan resource center that organizes the annual gathering. 

In Seattle, although the overcast skies have made this month more “Junuary” than “June,” thousands of revelers still turned out for the annual Solstice Parade.

For more information, check out Beliefnet’s page on Pagan & Earth-based religions.

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