Celebrating the sun

Well, we've now moved to the country for the next few months - the day Matīss finished kindergarten we got into the car (along with the kindy guinea pig) and headed straight to Kūgures (our country house). So that's why we haven't been answering emails or phone calls. The first few days are always a bit stressful because we don't have an internet connection down there - or a landline for that matter - and so I feel like I've cut myself off from the world.
The country is so INTENSE at the moment - we've just celebrated Jāņi, the summer solstice, and paid homage to the sun (at Jāņi, the longest day of the year, it never really gets properly dark, and the sun technically sets for a few hours) and basked in the gloriousness of the countryside at its peak. On the day before Jāņi I did the traditional thing for girls to do, wandered out into a field to pick flowers for my wreath - and sat down amongst the staggering array of wildflowers. The sight was amazing - dozens of different flowers and plants all 'doing their thing', with the heavy honey aroma enveloping me and the sound of a million bees buzzing all around.
So who cares that it was raining all morning - a warm summer rain - we waded out through waist-high grass to cut branches from oak trees anyway. Then managed to bog the car and had to walk back home, gathering cornflowers and poppies along the way.
It was the first year we celebrated Jāņi at Kūgures. About 40 Jāņa bērni ('Jānis' children') came to help us, and we spent a day involved in pagan ceremony. Here's some pics. I won't go into the whole ethnographic explanation. Suffice it to say that I don't believe in all the new-age mumbo jumbo, but I am convinced that at Jāņi the whole of the country vibrates some kind of magical energy. If you don't believe me, come over on the 24th June next year and see if I'm right.

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