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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

AUTHOR CORNELIA AMIRI ON DRUIDS, UNICORNS & THE SUMMER SOLSTICE IN WINTER

Today we welcome back Cornelia Amiri who says her superpower is turning her imagination into thirty-seven published sci-fi/fantasy romance books. Learn more about Cornelia and her books at her website.

Experience The Summer Solstice In Winter
In many parts of the US and the world, it’s still bitterly cold, and what better way to warm up than to think of summer, specifically the Summer Solstice. This was an important day in ancient times. The Neolithic tribes and later the Bronze Age and Iron Age Celts lived off the land, so the sun's heat and light were vital to survival. The Neolithic British built monuments, such as Stonehenge, that framed the rising or setting of the Sun on the solstices. And, the Celts celebrated the sun’s movements on the shortest day of the year in winter and on the longest day of the year in summer with Solstice Festivals. 

The word Solstice comes from the Latin sol meaning sun and sisto which means to stand still. But Alban Hefin, the name the Druids gave to the Celtic Summer Solstice means the Light of the Shore or Light of Summer. The shore because it’s where the elements of land, water and sky meet, which the druids considered a place that’s in-between worlds, and the light of the summer because that’s when it shines at its broadest.

The Druids saw the Summer Solstice as a time to open up a path towards light and abundance and banish evil spirits through the light of the sun. They’d pray for a good harvest, as it was halfway through the growing season. Also, as the Summer Solstice was seen as a time of change, nature, and new beginnings, it was associated with fertility. Feasting and dancing took place and bonfires were lit in celebration. And lovers traditionally clasped hands and leaped over bonfires. Some believed the higher the couple jumped, the higher their crops would grow. 

The ancient Celts also told and acted out the legend of the Oak King versus the Holly King. On the 21st of June the Oak King is at his strongest. But his power gradually weakens until the Winter Solstice on December 21 when the Holly King reins again.

In many regions (especially Europe), June 24 marks the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvest, and is called Midsummer. People also have festivals for Midsummer where they feast, dance, and sing.

In 2020 the Summer Solstice takes place in the Northern Hemisphere on Saturday, June 20th at 5:44 eastern time. The Farmer’s Almanac has a sunrise and sunset calculator to calculate  how many hours of sunshine you’ll get in your location on the solstice.

My latest book, The Unicorn and the Druidess, is set in Iron Age Britain during the Summer Solstice. With it you can experience the Summer Solstice even now, in winter. 

The Unicorn and the Druidess
Dridry and the Beast, Book 4

At Summer Solstice people aren’t what they seem—they could be…a unicorn…a god…or someone you fall in love with.

Druidess Maelona pursues a unicorn into the woods and returns with a runaway slave boy she takes under her wing. Before she can go back to look for the unicorn, a handsome stranger ignites a fiery attraction within her. But she can tell he’s keeping something from her. She suspects that he may be a Roman spy.

God Epon’s blood burns at first sight of the gorgeous Druidess. Goaded by his desire for her he passes through the portal from the otherworld as a unicorn. Then he runs into the forest and she gives chase. There he shapeshifts into human form so he can get to know her better. Plus, to win her trust, he fights the Romans and saves her tribe. But even then, will he and Maelona be able to overcome the surmountable odds of a romance between a mortal and immortal being anything more than a summertime tryst?

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