As the passing days grow steadily longer, we prepare to welcome the Summer Solstice—the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the longest night of the year in the Southern.
Summertime makes me feel like I’m a kid again. The possibilities are endless.
The sun hangs high in the sky all day long on the solstice. It reaches its highest point, and remains with us for the maximum hours possible. The word solstice is from the Latin word solstitium, which literally translates to “sun stands still.”
In Pagan tradition this day is known as Litha, and it represents a balancing point of the year, one between light and dark. Litha was a celebration of the time to find balance between fire and water.
Balance is what we all seek (whether we realize it or not), and at the two Solstice points of the year (summer and winter) we are offered access to a powerful window of self-reflection, one which our ancestors have historically viewed as sacred and holy.
We find ancient celebrations and tributes to solstice and equinox in all the far reaches of the world, from the Aztec and Mayan pyramids of Mexico and Latin America, to the Incas of Peru, to the Celtic ruins of ancient Britain and the Egyptian pyramids, to name a few. It’s everywhere in our history, no matter where our ancestors hail from.
The Romans celebrated this time as homage to Juno, the wife of Jupiter, and goddess of women. Known as Juno Luna, she governed the menstruation of women and all aspects of childbirth, and was the patroness of marriage. She is where June got its name. The Roman women also celebrated Vesta, the goddess of the hearth. They made offerings to her for fertility and abundance.
June is a month to celebrate the sacred feminine. In Scandinavian countries, the early Saxons celebrated with massive bonfires to celebrate the sun’s victory over darkness, as the extra long hours of light in the far north were a welcome change from the long hours of darkness in winter.
It’s not just the season which changes at this time; in the Northern Hemisphere all of nature surrenders to the fire of light, it basks in the warmth of the sun all the way to the farthest reaches of the north pole, which spends a month in total darkness in winter. While in the Southern Hemisphere, nature surrenders to the shadows for the peak of the long night, and then it slowly starts to come awake as it to welcomes back the returning sun.
Pagan traditions basically mirror nature to work with the natural cadence of life. In summer, the pull to nature is deep and strong, it pulses within and through us. The energy of the Summer Solstice brings courage, passion, enthusiasm, fearlessness, confidence and control. For me, it screams of adventure, relaxation and freedom.
This year, the Summer Solstice coincides with June’s full moon. It’s a rare occurrence for the two to fall on the exact same day. It won’t happen again until 2054, and it hasn’t happened since 1948.
I can’t help but feel that the Summer Solstice of 2016 is truly the turning point for us on Earth, as we usher in a new era of humanity—one where we begin to get back in touch with our humanity and inherent connection to each other. An era where we celebrate life, love, and unity instead of money, fame and idols.
I feel the Solstice coming. I am attuned to the energy of Earth, and I feel an excitement brewing. The allure of long carefree days, warm sun-kissed salty skin from a day at the beach, birds chirping, flowers blooming and nature in all of her glory. The feeling I used to get as a kid, the one where I knew summer was coming and school was almost out, is similar to this feeling which comes now.
It’s the feeling of looking into a future which holds infinite possibility. It’s a time of great anticipation—anything seems possible! To me, the Summer Solstice is a bridge between the first and last halves of the year; it is the moment of truth where I assess how my year is going. If 2016 isn’t quite turning out the way I intended, this is the time to ask, “What can I do now to change the outcome of this year?” or“Where am I holding myself back in reaching my goals?”
Focus on the fire and light which we have now, in the present moment. Be mindful, be focused, be clear. Celebrate life, fertility and Mother Earth. Take time off to play and go on adventures. Summer is the time of celebrating all that is coming to fruition during this season of warmth, as days grow longer and our energy is boosted by the warmth of the sun. The hard work of winter and the planting of seeds come spring are now going to pay off in summer. It’s a time for remembering what is really important.
Step out in faith, and imagine what is fully possible for yourself in 2016.
Dream an expansive vision for your life which, as the darkness slowly returns, can be harvested come autumn to sustain you through the ever shortening days. Use this powerful time to let yourself heal, to let go of fears, doubts, and insecurities. Release anger, pain and sadness to the fires of Solstice.
Here are some simple tips for a powerful Solstice meditation and celebration:
- Take your activities outdoors. Especially if you have children. Immerse them and yourself in nature.
- Fill your space with summer herbs and flowers, such as orange, sunflower, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and angelica root.
- Find a quiet patch of grass in the sunlight where you can sit for 15 or 20 minutes. What a wonderful day to expose your children to meditation.
- Sit in your preferred meditation posture, close your eyes, and begin to bring your attention to your breath.
- If you work with stones or crystals, this is an excellent time for Manipura Chakra work. Use your stones such as citrine, or honey calcite or yellow aventurine.
- As you focus on your breath work, just observe it. Don’t force anything. Feel it, and become present with the ebb and flow of breath.
- After taking 10-15 natural breaths, begin to breathe even deeper. Send the breath into your lower lungs and belly. Do this for at least 10 cycles of inhales and exhales. With each inhale, take in the cleansing light, and with each exhale let go of all the dense, heavy emotions you’ve been carrying.
- Visualize yourself crossing a bridge—the land you’re leaving on one side is the past. The land you approach is all that awaits you in the future. The bridge is all that is right now, in this moment. Be present on the bridge with yourself.
- Ask yourself: What does my future look like? Who and what is coming with me into the months ahead? Who or what am I leaving behind? What new opportunities, experiences, jobs, and connections do I wish to experience?
- Visualize what is is you seek to create as you continue breathing in the light and letting go of the dark.
- Ask the Universe or your understanding of God, to show you the path forward as you release all the pent up emotions of the past to the fire of solstice. Continue to breathe in the healing warmth of the summer sun.
- When you feel complete, take a moment and bow your head in gratitude to the Earth, the light, and all that is. Dig your bare toes and hands into the grass and take a moment to feel the energy of the Earth. Find gratitude.
- You can also do this mediation at night, under the amplified full moon energy of this rare occurrence!
Go forth from your meditation and celebrate. Roll in the grass with your children and pets. Take a walk or a hike. Watch a sunset. Have a vegan BBQ. Tell your family you love them. Do whatever it is that your inner being is calling for you to do. Whatever you choose to do, make it your own.
Feel it, heal from it and be present.
It just might be the very key to the door of infinite possibility.
Love and light to you all this solstice.
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Editors: Ashleigh Hitchcock; Caitlin Oriel