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Summer solstice

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Aang meditating during the summer solstice

Aang meditating during the summer solstice on Roku's island.

The summer solstice is a natural phenomenon that occurs in a hemisphere's summer season when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky, making it the longest day of the year in that hemisphere. As the solstice approaches, the natural world and the Spirit World grow closer together, blurring the line between the two; consequently, the summer and winter solstices are the easiest times for people to enter the Spirit World.

History

Aang meditating into the Avatar State

Avatar Aang establishing a spiritual connection to his past life, Roku, on the solstice.

In the summer of 100 AG, Avatar Aang used the power of the summer solstice to cross over into the Spirit World, where Avatar Roku was waiting for him. The purpose of this journey was to allow Roku to teach Aang about Fire Lord Sozin's machinations of world conquest and the eventual dawn of the Hundred Year War. Roku told Aang that he needed to understand how the war began, if he wanted to know how to end it.[1]

Aang was confronted with the solstice again when he and Zuko traveled to the Sun Warriors' ancient city. They could not enter the sacred room until the light of the solstice would reach the sunstone situated above the door. However, Zuko redirected the sunlight with one of his swords, fooling the celestial calendar into opening the door prematurely.[2]

Spiritual connections

Connections with the Avatar

During the summer solstice, the boundaries between the Avatar World and the Spirit World are almost non-existent. This makes it easier for the Avatar to enter the Spirit World, either by their own choosing or unintentionally.[1]

Other types

The Sun Warriors used a celestial locking system that was triggered by the angle of the light on the solstice to protect their sacred hall. Only when the light reached a large orange gem, located in center of the courtyard, could the door be opened.[2]

Connection

  • Many cultures celebrate various combinations of the winter and summer solstices, the equinoxes, and the midpoints between them, leading to various holidays arising around these events.
  • In many cultures the solstices and equinoxes traditionally determine the midpoint of the seasons, which can be seen in the celebrations called midsummer and midwinter. Along this vein, the Japanese celebrate the start of each season with an occurrence known as Setsubun. The cumulative cooling and warming that result from the tilt of the planet become most pronounced after the solstices.
  • The traditional East Asian calendars divide a year into twenty-four solar terms (節氣) or Geshi (rōmaji) (Chinese and Japanese: 夏至; Korean: 하지(Haji); Vietnamese: Hạ chí; literally: "summer's extreme") is the tenth solar term, and marks the summer solstice.

Appearances

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Escape from the Spirit World

Book Three: Fire (火)

References

See also

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