Summer Solstice – Sulis, Celtic Sun Goddess

Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the the year,and I find myself reflecting on my love of the long, hot days of summer.  The bliss of lying on a beach caressed by the kisses of sun and breeze, with the promise of the cool inviting embrace of the sea by my side, is one of my most favorite forms of relaxation.  Though the ozone layer has thinned and I can only indulge this desire in small doses now, I still love the feeling of the sun on my skin as She paints colored visions in my mind’s eye.

She –  how can I personify the sun as She when from across the world we hear only of Sun Gods and Moon Goddesses?  Yet hidden deep in mythology one discovers that long, long ago the sun was worshipped as a goddess. From Aditi – Hindu Solar Goddess from India to Uelanuhi – Cherokee Goddess of the Sun, the sun Goddesses symbolize, with female imagery, the power and life force of the sun. Aditi was seen as the  keeper of the light that illuminates all life and ensures consciousness. She was the source of all, giving birth to the universe and the heavenly bodies. Uelanuhi was responsible for dividing time into units. She was aided by Grandmother Spiderwoman’s web to capture the sun’s warmth for humankind.

Sulis, Celtic Sun Goddess painting ny Judith ShawLikewise, before the ultimate life-giving power of the sun shifted from the Goddess to the God my ancient Celtic ancestors worshipped a Sun Goddess.  Sulis, a Gaulish and Brythonic goddess, has the iconography of a solar deity. The name “Sulis” has a complex etymology, with various overlapping meanings. Her name may be related to the proto-Celtic word for sun, from which the Old Irish súil (eye) was derived. which probably leads to one of Her title, “The Bright One”.  Her hair radiates around her face like the sun surrounded by sun rays.

Click here to read the rest of my article on Sulis at the Feminism and Religion blog.

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