June 21, 2011

Cure Your Summer Solstice Blues.

Solsticetime Blues; or, How To True a Wobbly Wheel.

One of my first pagan teachers taught that the first three years you study the Wheel of the Year, you will do it externally. Then it becomes part of you. You start by doing seasonal activities until you fall into the rhythm of them. After a time, you really do begin to notice the seasons of your life taking the character of the seasons of the year: waking up in the Spring; going to ground at Samhain. You start to notice how the seasons, these ancient agricultural archetypal turns, are shown within you in a long process of realignment.

We all know that this holiday that now we are, the Summer Solstice, is the peak of Sun’s light. It’s the high flourishing all the growth of the Spring, that rich green before foliage starts to mellow and leaves start to burnish with the coming Autumn. It’s easy to feel that things should be finished, when the language all around is Manifest! Manifest! Manifest! And for the Sun that is true, for it starts expanding its light at Yule.

David LaChapelle for Rolling Stone, 1998

That is a cycle both brilliant and cruel if you hold yourself to it personally, for if you don’t have the arrival of a project, it’s easy to feel like a failure.

Every year, I check myself against the external spinning of the Wheel of the Year. In past years it has matched, but this year it feels so far off of true: I lost my job in March, almost exactly at the time of the Equinox. When I was supposed to be planting seeds, I was thrown deep into loss. Like many fellow Americans in this early 21st-century economy, at the high summer when I’m supposed to be victorious, I’m looking for a job. I so wanted to be finished by now, to know what I will be doing and where I will be living come the the Fall.

Although I have the early signs of this, and interviews, my job is still arriving, still out there in the ether somewhere, forming for me. But it doesn’t jive with the Solstice cycle, which nags at me like a Credo. So when I ran into my teacher Hilary Lindsay at the grocery store the other day and she asked me how I was doing, I almost wept with frustration: I have interviews but no job yet; I don’t know if my boyfriend will move with me when I move; I’m restarting teaching again at the university health club which put me on hiatus when the university laid me off because they had to rehire me and I’m still a little mad at them about that. Just a pity party on my part, a real festival of whining.

Hilary called me back later and said, ‘You think your glass is half empty but this is what I hear: that you have powerful institutions interested in you; that this relationship you have pursued for so long is real; that you get to come back from being held in stasis. Everything is happening for you.’ This time I actually did let myself cry but it was out of relief. I had been clocking myself against the Sun and showing myself no mercy.

So for us on the earthly plane remember: you are not the Sun. We live on interlocking cycles, overlapping wheels. The high days are multidimensional. What is happening above may still be coming true here on Middle Earth. There is much Summer left; Solstice is Midsummer and is just the midpoint. It is not yet harvest. The abundance is plenishing, but not yet finishing. The heavy lifting of planting season is over; your plants are established, full and green, and as a farmer you don’t have to work as hard. Now there is maintenance, weeding and watering. You will have tomatoes and green beans and the early signs of prosperity. You see the first signs of glory, what was only green coming to fruit, and you can rock back on your heels and watch it grow. But accept that it might not yet be done.

If you ever feel personally out of synch with a holiday, please remember that’s not a sign of unsuccess. Success is being in the stage of growth that you are. Be merciful to yourself. Remember that it takes an elephant 22 months to gestate, fifteen years to reach maturity. You are neither the Sun, nor are you a plant. Resist feeling peer-pressured by high days. You can use them as times for introspection but they are also times for celebration: if a project you are working has not yet come to fruit, remember that the harvest holidays are coming! Those are when you harvest. And even if not on those, consider that you might be on a longer cycle. Stop beating yourself over the head if you aren’t on the same clock as they are.

Nature is succeeding, growing, greening. Celebrate that, and the energy of the larger community of life! For now: get outside, and feel the mercy and love of the world that is on its own cycles, that you can watch and know that things change, that they grow. Some of the fruit is still in the plant.

The High Days are touchpoints for the whole Earth, greater than any dogma or individual life. From the personal level you can cycle back to the greater level. And you can cycle back again. That’s how you true the Wheel.

So today listen to the birds’ music and walk the earth and dance.

Blessed be and love,


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