Why Celebrate the Summer Solstice

During the Summer solstice, the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky and gives us our longest day of the year.

As we know, our planet both revolves around the Sun and rotates around its own axis — an imaginary straight line through the Earth that runs from the North Pole to the South Pole.

This axis is not perpendicular to the Earth’s orbital plane but is tilted at about 23.5°. This is why throughout the year, the North and South poles lean towards the Sun at different angles.

So the moment when one of the Earth’s hemispheres reaches its maximum tilt toward the Sun is called the summer solstice in that hemisphere.  For those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, that day is June 21st.

This first day of Summer reminds us to celebrate the nourishing light of the Sun. It’s also a moment to cultivate the light that radiates outward from within each of us.

“Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.” — Van Morrison

The word solstice comes from the Latin words “sol,” meaning sun, and “stitium” or “sistere,” meaning still or stopped. In ancient times, our ancestors likely used this day as a marker to decide when to plant crops, noticing that the sun switched from a southward to a northward trajectory in the sky.

But more importantly, the solstice was a time of celebration and a break from the norm.

Many cultures believed that magic took place on the night of the summer solstice, with fairies showing themselves to humans, while evil spirits were dispelled from their lives.

The solstices were an impetus in the construction of Stonehenge. 

On the night of the summer solstice, the sunset will align with the heel stone of the monument, and continue to shine through the others. 

Gatherings at Stonehenge took place between 3,000 and 2,000 BC.

These celebratory ceremonies brought people together as a show of communal strength and gratitude. People came on these pilgrimages to celebrate the Summer Solstice.

“I am summer, come to lure you away from your computer… come dance on my fresh grass, dig your toes into my beaches.” — Oriana Green

The Summer Solstice is also a moment for us to take stock.

The journey of the Sun represents the cycles of our lives. Just as we can align with the Moon’s journey every month, we align with the Sun’s journey throughout the year.

Spiritually, the Solstice is an extraordinarily magical day.

It is thought that the veil between this and other worlds is at its thinnest.

 You can bask in the light and magic and engage FULLY with this auspicious moment.

Some ideas to celebrate:

  • Plant a tree, bush, or gather flowers.
  • Spend time alone in nature. Walk, play, sit, put your feet on the earth.
  • Meditate. (Try this Solstice Meditation from Spirituality & Health)
  • Spend five minutes in silence, focusing on your breath, extending the exhale to 8 counts.
  • Celebrate creativity: write, draw, sing, dance! 
  • Capture the fire of this season- have a bonfire with friends!
  • Above all, let your inner light shine radiantly!

Perform a cleansing

The Solstice is also a great time to do a cleansing of yourself and your space to reset the energy within and around you.

Start by quieting your mind, and journal to delve into a bit of a reflection.

If there are things in your life that are no longer serving you, now is the time to let these energies go.

Write a letter to yourself about where you are, and what may be keeping you stuck, listing all the thoughts, unconscious choices, and people that no longer support your greatest good.

Burn the letter, meditate, and cleanse yourself with sage, incense, or essential oil.

Cleansing your home is another ritual you can do at the Solstice or any season to push out the old and bring in the new.

Don’t be afraid to open up all the curtains and windows in your space to allow the fresh air of this powerful practice to rejuvenate and bless your home. Using a smudge stick or essential oil cleansing spray works well, too. 

Whatever you do, now is the perfect time to let go of old energies and breathe in the fresh new opportunities of summer.

Cleansing yourself and your space is a sacred act of self-care. Consider doing this ritual each new season or anytime you feel stuck or stagnant.

Need support to get back on balance?  Consider joining me for my October Mind Body Breath Retreat at Timber Creek Retreat House, located just one hour south of Kansas City.

“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Let me help you turn down the noise!

When our minds are stretched across 20 conversations, 10 apps, our worries, to-do lists, and too little time – it’s like having a million tabs open and no way to organize and focus.

Breathing is a great way to hit the reset button for your mental state.

That’s because simple breathing techniques can help balance the hemispheres of your brain, soothe the nervous system, and clear brain fog.

Breathing is a simple yet powerful tool for transformation!

Join me at Timber Creek Retreat House, October 20-22, 2023.

Immerse yourself in nature, embrace calm, and leave with mindfulness practices to change your mind and body from the inside out.

All you have to do is say YES.

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