6 Ways to Celebrate Summer Solstice

Seize the Longest Day

Some solstice revelers stay up on the shortest night, and as the Sun rises, exclaim bleary-eyed, Good Morning Sunshine! 

An idyllic image comes to mind of watching the solstice sunrise at Stonehenge, or at the beach with friends.  Here are some down-to-Earth ideas, for merrymaking on the day that marks the Sun's exalted peak. 

What's blossoming from your seeding at the Spring Equinox?  On this day, the Sun goes into the astrological sign Cancer, for blooming where planted, and savoring the gifts and grace we might otherwise overlook. 

Some Summer Solstice associations are sunflowers, daisies, honeysuckle, wildflowers, the fire element, the mighty oak tree, warm colors (yellows, reds, oranges), fruits and vegetables in season, laurel, the Sun. 

Summer Solstice is on June 21st (in 2015).

01
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Visit Your Favorite Grove or Tree

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To the ancients, trees symbolized grow-power, stability and continuity through time.  The Druids discovered in the hollows of great oaks, gateways to other worlds.  Their sacred groves were places of high energy, to evoke their deities and make magic. 

A spirited move on Summer Solstice is to get arboreal. 

  • Plan your picnic under the shade of your tree buddies. 
  • Walk in the park with your spirit open to making a new tree ally.   
  • Stand tree-like and envision your goal taking root and then extending upward with the branches. 
  • Create a prayer tree by writing a wish or prayer on a ribbon and tying it to a tree (that you'll later revisit and retrieve). 

Planting Trees and Butterfly-Hummingbird Gardens

It may not be the right time to plant a tree but it's always the season to venerate the lords of the plant kingdom.  Sit by a tree or rest against it, and muse on your own strengths, and what's strong -- and consistently compelling -- in your life. 

A wonderful nature-affirming move is to plant with what's native to your area in mind.  A flower garden that's high in nectar and colorful becomes a butterfly garden that also attracts the totem of pure joy, the hummingbird! 

02
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Discover Your Indigenous Roots

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My mission-minded Christian Mom might call the Balts (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) "the least evangelized" peoples of Europe.  Though they were officially Christianized in the 15th-century, the old ways were kept in secret.

The Latvians celebrate with the fullness of an unbroken tradition -- with bonfires. getting naked, wearing a crown of flowers or oak-laurel leaves.  In Kuldiga, there's an annual naked run, in the spirit of primal, uninhibited play. 

Summer Solstice has its imagined or real-life scenes -- big feasts, singing and dancing, picking medicinal herbs, and making love in sync with the high fertility and passion of the season. 

Seek out your own indigenous roots:

  • Read a novel set in the pre-Christian past.
  • Start to track your genealogy, by beginning a family tree. 
  • Plan a trip to the land of your ancestors.  Many of us will have to dream up several itineraries! 
  • Pluto's time in Capricorn, the sign of ancestry, inspires digging in to find what's under the crust of recent history.
03
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Share the Sun's Light (And Yours)

Getty Images.
A Candle Ritual
 

Patti Wiggington, About.com's Paganism/Wicca expert has a veritable encyclopedia of information on the Summer Solstice or Litha, its pagan name.

Patti offers a simple Mid-Summer Sun ritual for a circle, during which a central candle's flame is lit by the "HP" (High Priest or Priestess).  Then the designated leader lights their own candle, and begins to share the light, and it goes around the circle. 

From Patti Wiggington's ritual, said by the HPs: "The sun is the ultimate source of fire and light. Like all sources of light, the sun shines brightly and spreads around the world. Even as it gives its light and power to each of us, it is never diminished by the sharing of that energy. The sun passes over us each day, in the never-ending circle of light. Today, we share that light with each other, passing it around the circle, forming a ring of light."

The ritual includes calling solar deities into the circle.  The worship of the Sun, Patti notes, reaches into the ancient past and is found everywhere. 

This passing of the light feels ancient to me, and I remember a version of this around Christmas time at church.  It was magical to me, holding that thin white candle with the paper wax catching circle thingy. 

In the right spirit, this creates a luminous moment to remember! 

Want to Keep it Simple?  Take the bones of this Midsummer ritual -- the passing of the light with candles -- and craft your own meaningful moment.  As each lights their own candle, the fully lit one shares what's lighting his or her fire (passions).  Other possibilities for sharing around the circle:

  • Telling stories of victories, large and small, where the Light has overcome the Darkness within.
  • Inviting the purification of the Sun, for healing illness, discouragement or malaise.
  • Naming your goal, and asking friends seen and unseen for backing.
  • Daring to share what's calling you, and demanding your fully radiant, active presence.
  • Declaring wishes for the world, like peace and a return to living by the laws of nature and its cycles. 
04
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Jump Over the Bonfire

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This age-old tradition of leaping over the flames of the bonfire at Summer Solstice is one of purification and warding off dark spirits. 

The Sun is at its most fiery and radiant.  That makes this a day to include the fire element in your day.  Fire burns off what's stale, outgrown and weighing you down.

Symbolically, get ready to throw onto the solstice fire, what's in need of transformation. 

  • Gaze at the mesmerizing light of a candle, and invite the fires (within) to work healing magic.
  • Take a symbolic action on behalf of one (or more) of your planets in fire signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius).
  • Spend time fire gazing, and take note of what you see visually and/or with your intuitive eye.
  • If you're on the go, take a moment and turn, like the sunflower to the Sun.  Look into sungazing, a practice that's reported (by NASA) to bestow super human abilities.  I'm a sporadic sun gazer, and know it's not something to 'dabble' in, so take caution. 
05
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Speaking to Mother Earth

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Whack weather (at least in part from geoengineering), a looting and pillaging of the natural resources, dying species -- it's all enough to drive one to distraction.  But what if we are courageous enough to bear witness to what's happening, in our time.

And to tune in to what the Earth is saying, its warnings and responses. 

Aquarian Alice Walker's words moved me, when she spoke about the deteriorating state of our home, Mother Earth. 

She said, "How do we want to go down? I would prefer to go down with people who love me and that I love. And with the Earth and affirming to her that 'Yes, I have done everything I could do.' ...Speaking to the Mother, to Mother Earth. And sometimes I feel that that is possibly the highest aim in these times because we are in such dire straits."

Ideas:

  • Peruse the bounty of your local farmer's market.  Buy what's in season.  Support local farmers.
  • Plan your own oasis of life, an organic garden.  Plant for wildlife, with native species.
  • Look into becoming a wildlife rehabilitator in your area.
  • Muse on what pulls on your heart the most, and take action for balance, sanity and healing.
06
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Seize the Sunny Day

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Summer Solstice is the crown jewel of the four main solar turning points.  It's the summit of the Sun's radiance, and traditionally a time to revel in the peaks of life. 

It's a day to make merry, and turn the beam of your consciousness to what has light, radiance.  On this day, there's a paradox.  The Summer officially begins, and yet the Sun begins to wane, and with it the slow descent to the natural dying time (Fall and Winter). 

“Death twitches my ear;
'Live,' he says...
'I'm coming.”
Virgil (Roman poet)

The paradox of this solar turning point, is there's ample daylight, and yet, there's the reality that it's fleeting.  The exuberance of this day is to mark the pinnacle of the year by celebrating what's purely good and right. 

Ideas for Seizing the Sunny Day

  • Refresh (or inaugurate) your gratitude journal.  A suggestion from Phylameana lila Desy, is to make a daily list, as a way to spin out of a negativity loop.  
  • Revel in your blue lines (trines, sextiles) of your birth chart.  So often, it's the angst of the red lines (squares, oppositions) that steal the thunder.  What are the gifts in your astro map?  How are you living out the potential there?
  • Take a step to break social isolation by joining a club, or catching up with a friend.