As the wheel of the year turns to Summer, we enter into a time of fruition and fulfilment. All the upward energy of Spring spirals to its peak and launches us into Summer, when the days are longer than the nights. The result; a celebration of abundance and joy as the natural world explodes into full bloom; lush with trees, flowers and fruits blossoming to their full potential and unfurling in a kaleidoscope of colours.
Whilst each season possesses its own unique beauty, as someone living in the Northern hemisphere, Summer holds a particularly special place in my heart. The warmer Months bring with it a carefree sense of freedom, an expansive energy that propels me into action as I spend more time outdoors replenishing under the full force of the Suns ray’s. Summer can also signal a time of sizzling summer ROMANCE, PASSION, CREATIVITY, ABUNDANCE, and HAPPINESS. What’s not to like?
What is the Summer Solstice?
On the 21st June in the Northern Hemisphere the sun reaches its northernmost point in the sky, reaching the height of its power. The longest day and shortest night of the year occur on this date, marking the beginning of summer, and is known as Summer Solstice, or Midsummer. In the Southern hemisphere conversely, the sun reaches it’s southernmost point in the sky, marking the midpoint of Winter, and is known as Winter Solstice.
The term ‘solstice’ is derived from the Latin words for “sun standing still”, and refers to the point at which the sun’s visual trajectory north or south across the horizon comes to a halt.
The Summer Solstice celebrates the abundance of the earth, at a time when nature is ripe, flourishing with offerings of life. It’s a time to express gratitude for the life-giving sustenance the sun provides and all that it manifests. It is a dual celebration, honouring the LIGHT of the Sun, as well as the beginning of a new cycle of decreasing daylight as the sun begins its journey southward. From now on the hours of sunlight will decrease each day, connecting us once again to the inner world.
The longest day bestows the blessing of more LIGHT, but as we celebrate our dependence on the physical sun, we must not forget to honour the spiritual fire within each and every one of us. It is symbolic of the light of our consciousness shining more brightly in our awareness, and fires up our passions and reminds our hearts of our true potential.
The energies of nature have by now reached their highest point; the earth bursting forth an abundance of fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants – ripe and ready for the picking. Just as the rampant fresh growth exists on earth, the same occurs within our own inner worlds. Nature offers a wonderful reflection to our own lives, if only we learn to tune into its rhythms. Summer solstice is a time to experience the fullness of our own expressive and expansive selves, to reach our full potential as we open up to unbridled creative flow, and take outward action towards manifesting our dreams. Celebrate all of your achievements and honour who you are right now, and take stock of who you are becoming. Just as nature overflows in abundance, so can we, so Midsummer is a fertile time for raising our energies and receptivity to abundance. How can we do this? By doing something symbolic to honour this time, and most importantly by relishing in the spirit of celebration. I offer some celebratory ideas below to help you connect to the energies of the Solstice:
8 Ways to Celebrate the Summer Solstice:
1) Prayer Circle:
Making a prayer circle, or mandala, is a really personal way of celebrating and is so much fun to do. I made the mandala’s pictured using yellow and orange flowers and crystals that are synonymous with Summer Solstice, and candles to represent the light of the sun. They are a wonderful way of expresssing gratitude for the bounty of life, and to honour the LIGHT of the Sun, and also the LIGHT within you. Mandala’s are particularly powerful because the symbolism of the circle represents eternity, the ever spinning wheel of the year and wholeness. For more information on Mandala’s refer to my earlier post on the subject. A mandala is also a sacred vessel; a container of energy that can be programmed with specific intentions such as the following:
- HEALING: for self, others, the planet
- PEACE: inner peace, world peace
- MANIFESTATION: of something specific like a new job, home or relationship. Or a certain quality such as more love, harmony or fulfilment in your life.
You can use a whole array of natural ingredients personal to you, including those linked to the Summer Solstice listed below:
- Incenses, flower and herbs: Any golden, red or orange flowers, roses, daisies, chamomile, lavender, marigolds, sage, dill, elder, fennel, frankincense, orange, rosemary, St. John’s Wort, lemon verbena and vervain.
- Colours: Red, orange, gold
- Crystals: Amber, carnelian or red jasper, sun stone; also sparkling crystal quartz spheres.
Before you start creating your mandala, enter into your heart space and dedicate the mandala to a specific intention. Consider areas in your life you want energised, or changing in some way. Invite your higher wisdom to help you make specific intentions, and focus on that intention during the creation process. Visualise and really feel your intention coming to pass, trusting that it will unfold for your highest good. To amplify the power, you can imagine projecting a healing ball of white light (to represent the restorative energy of the sun) towards the intention.
2) Make a Sun-Mandala:
A slight variation of the Prayer Circle is to head outdoors and create a Nature Mandala whilst basking under the sun’s ray’s. It’s a wonderful way to connect to nature, grounding and earthing you to Mother Earth and all the health benefits that brings. It can be a really mindful exercise too; focusing your mind on the present moment, stilling those unruly thoughts. You can refer to my previous blog post on ‘The Art of Nature Mandalas for more information. The fantastic blog Mystic Mamma is responsible for the gorgeous photo above, and suggests how to create one:
”Gather or buy some yellow and orange flowers and make a SUN MANDALA offering on the Earth. Pick the petals off and arrange them in circular patterns. The act of creating something beautiful and sacred is a holy and healing act. As you do it infuse it with your prayers and hold a vision of peace for our planet.” ~ Mystic Mamma.
3) Make a Wish
A traditional pagan rite is to tie prayer ribbons, known as ”clooties” to the branches of a tree as part of a healing ritual. They are seen as ‘offerings’ to the spirit, a saint or deity and generally programmed with a spefic intention or prayer. Use red, orange or gold ribbons to symbolise the Summer Solstice. Any tree can be used although Ash, Yew and Beech trees are popular. I recite a prayer in my mind and visualise my prayer being released into the universe as I’m tying the ribbon to the branch. I took the above photos at the beautiful beech grove by Avebury stone circle, which is imbued with magical healing vibes, ideal for healing and purifying.
4) Feast for Friends:
Ancient cultures through history have long celebrated the Summer Solstice by gathering with loved ones to share a feast in celebration of the bounty of the earth. It’s a perfect way to practice gratitude for each other, and for Gia’s ample offerings, eating mindfully as you savour each bite. Create a platter of summer offerings to include orange, golden and red fruits and vegetables, edible flowers, and fresh herbs. Serve fresh juices with ice cubes made with edible flowers, or for the more adventurous, why not make your own Elderflower Cordial from freshly foraged elderflowers. I have included some delicious ideas above found on Pinterest, credited individually to their source so that you can find the recipes.
6) Fire Ritual:
Celebrating the solstice may be an ancient practice, but it is still commonplace in Scandinavia, where Midsummer Festivals are considered as important as Christmas. It is always marked with some form of fire ritual because of a reverence for the Sun and it’s transformative and purifying abilities. Bonfires are lit as the sun sets, as people dance around the fire clockwise and hold torchlight processions. In some places, people set fire to wheels of hay which are rolled downhill. The use of fires, as well as providing magical aid to the sun, were also considered by our ancestors to drive out evil and to bring fertility and prosperity to men, crops and herds. The photo left shows revellers in Sweden leaping through the flames as a purifying and strengthening rite.
One way to celebrate yourself is to gather with loved ones around a bonfire and watch the sunset. Drum, dance, sing, share stories. You could make a list of what you wish to let go of in your life and cast it into the flames to be transformed. This could be unwanted baggage; be that physical, emotional or mental, such as an unhealthy relationship, burden or ailment that is holding you back.
An alternative is to create a candle ritual instead, like the ones I made below. Oranges are associated with the Sun so insert a candle in an orange, along with some wild flowers to make a beautiful candle holder. Continue as above by burning a list of what you wish to release in your life. Be sure to have a fireproof bucket handy to drop the burning paper into. To add extra oompf to the ritual, burn fresh herbs (listed above) as you release your baggage and watch it purify into the flames. Remember also to reflect upon your inner LIGHT, and let the flame ‘bring to light’ any areas of your consciousness that need addressing. Utilise fire’s wonderfully illuminating properties to help you truly know yourself, after all…
‘Knowing yourself is the source of all wisdom‘ ~ Aristotle
4) Sun Alchemy
Get acquainted with the guest of honour himself by watching the rising or setting of the sun this day. Spend some time in nature absorbing the nourishing solar energy into your body, and feeling the warmth of the sun upon your face. Use the potency of the sun’s force by making a Solstice Sun drink using solarised water, or sun-charged water.
Water conducts and attunes to the vibrational frequency, or energy, of crystals, colour and words, so you can charge your water by placing a crystal linked to the Summer Solstice inside the jug (such as carnelian, amber, red jasper or sun stone). You could also write affirmative words on paper and affix to the jug such as LOVE, PEACE, JOY, or affirmations such as ‘I am healed and healthy now’, ‘I experience boundless abundance as all my needs are met easily and effortless’ or ‘I am loved and appreciated for who I am’. The water will hold the energy of these words and transfer them to you as you drink it.
How to Make Solarised Water:
Fill a glass bottle or jug with spring water, and place a crystal inside it and leave out in direct sunlight for between 1 and 12 hours. The longer the bottle is exposed to sunlight, the more potent the water. At the end of the day it will be bursting with uplifting healing properties.
7) Flower Power:
A really beautiful celebration idea identified with Summer Solstice is to wear garlands or crowns of flowers in your hair, thought to enhance your connection to nature and to symbolise the earths cycle via the circle shape. Pagans also hang flower wreaths on doors, and wear necklaces of golden flowers. It’s fun to adorn your home with beautiful flower displays and wreaths, or try making them into wearable crowns and jewellery, a fun activity for all the family.
Flowers that symbolise Summer Solstice: Brightly-coloured flowers, particularly yellow, golden, orange and red hues. Two of my favourite flowers associated with the Summer Solstice are as follows as described by Aviva of whats-your-sign.com:
- Daisies: These wonderfully uplifting and joyful flowers are the epitome of Summer, and are symbolic of the innocence of youth, as they will imbue your summer days with that light, fresh feeling. This clean, bright flower is an icon for love too. so why not make a daisy-chain and offer as a friendship bracelet, necklace or crown to a loved one as a symbol of your love.
- Sunflowers: ‘The sunflower has long been associated with solar energy, and summer months because it’s bright head looks like our own bright cosmic sun. What’s more, the sunflower is physically drawn to the light of the sun. It moves its head to follow the rising and setting sun. This is a spiritual aphorism. Just as the sunflower follows the light, so too are our own spirits inclined to follow the light of the divine. We find our grandest spiritual growth by pointing ourselves in to the light, with our back against the darkness. Keep this in mind as you bring sunflowers to your summer solstice celebrations.’
8) Visit a sacred site:
Since the dawning of time our ancestors have celebrated seasonal cycles with ritual and celebration. They created ancient sites astronomically aligned with the precession of the Solstices and Equinoxes, to honour our natural connection to the Sun, which provides sustenance and is the source life and light. I love to visit a sacred site at these times of the year to tune into the potent energies amplified by 1000’s of years of ritual and celebration at the site.
Often I will attend a Solstice ceremony held by Pagan groups at a sacred site which I feel called to. Although I don’t consider myself a Pagan per se, I have the utmost respect for their connection to the Earth, and share the same reverence for nature as they do. Above are some snaps from last year’s Summer Solstice ceremony that I attended at The Rollright Stones in the Cotswolds, UK. A really specical place with a wonderful atmosphere of mystery and magic, enhanced by the natural beauty of its surroundings. The presence of spirit abounds with its ancient spiritual heritage, and it’s somehow conduce to connecting deeply with nature and to the protective spirits that guard the stones. To honour the sun, I found myself centring into my heart space, which I intuitively saw as an inner-sun – and intentionally created a union between that and the physical sun, and then to the inner-Earth sun (the molten magma inside Earth’s core which resembles a sun). I also had a magical experience via the presence of a fair maiden (representative of the divine feminine) who guided me to reclaim lost aspects of myself to return to wholeness.
However you choose to celebrate, I wish you all a magical and joyful Summer Solstice, and intend that your journey into the season ahead are blessed with vibrant health, wealth and happiness.
The Earths Cycle of Celebration, by Glennie Kindred. (book)