TRUTH, DARE, AND PARTY SUNGLASSES Shades of clean pagan living. Ari Spool

When: Sat June 18
Where: Central District

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, and for Pagans, Wiccans, and other Earth-worshipping cultures, it holds a magical significance. In past celebrations, Celts lit huge bonfires, sometimes jumping over them in an attempt to banish evil—which sounds like the next extreme sport. In some Pagan traditions, the summer solstice was associated with the blooming of human sexuality, and marriages (or "handfastings") were often consummated on this evening.

Naturally, with this kind of history behind the holiday, being invited to a party honoring the solstice sounds like a total gas. Would there be a huge bonfire? In the invitation we were promised a barbecue made out of an old keg. Consummation of marriage? The invite mentions make-out sessions in the vegetable patch. We are psyched—and then sorely disenchanted.

When we arrive, there are a handful of people dancing to house music in the living room. Everyone else is in the backyard, hanging out under tiki lamps and chatting. Where are the rampant summer hormones? Even the people dancing quit pretty quickly. No one seems that drunk or celebratory.

We try to get things moving with a rousing game of clean Truth or Dare (Truth: What's the grossest thing you've ever eaten?) and no one seems to bite—except for one willing dare-taker who takes an incriminating photo of himself. Everyone else refuses or abruptly leaves our general area. For a summer solstice party, this is disappointingly tame. Unfortunately, we deduce the reason too late—the summer solstice is actually three days hence, and the magic simply hasn't kicked in yet. ■

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