Summer Solstice – Celebration of the Sun
The Sun is high in the sky, the gardens are blooming, the crops are ready for harvesting and the summer is in full swing. Time to celebrate the Summer Solstice, or Litha, or Midsummer and honor the longest day of the year!!!
The word “solstice” comes from Latin solstitium—from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that on the solstice, the Sun appears to stop moving in the sky as it reaches its northern point. (in the Northern Hemisphere). After the solstice, the Sun appears to reverse course and head back in the opposite direction.
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.
And at the same time that Nature is bursting an abundance of fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs, the same is happening to our inner worlds. Nature offers a wonderful reflection to our own lives, if only we learn to tune into it’s rhythms. Summer solstice is a time to experience the fullness of our own expressive and expansive selves, to reach our full potential and take outward action towards manifesting our dreams. 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 and celebrate this time.
In what ways can we celebrate and honour the Summer Solstice? Here are some ideas…
Gather St. John’s Wort
St John’s Wort is traditionally gathered on this day, so that it is fully embued with the power of the sun. Thought to bring peace and prosperity, it was cast into midsummer bonfires, and placed over the doors of houses and farm buildings for protection.
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 specific intention or prayer. Use red, orange or gold ribbons to symbolise the Summer Solstice.
Celebrate with a summer Bonfire
Play drums, dance and celebrate with your loved ones. If you want to get more ritualistic gather some fresh herbs like Vervain, Lavender, St. John’s Wort or whatever is local and throw them into the fire with your deepest wishes! For a more personal celebration, make a little altar of light and gratitude by lighting a candle (or few) and decorating it with summer flowers.
Make a Mandala
It can be on your home altar or in the garden under the bright Sun. Gather sun coloured flower petals, herbs, stones and crystals and make a circular pattern as an offering to the earth, while you pray for abundance, healing, peace or manifestation.
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 procession of the Solstices and Equinoxes, to honour our natural connection to the Sun, which provides sustenance and is the source life and light.
In Greece, the traditional celebration for this day, since the ancient times, is to light fires the night before the Solstice and with songs, prayers and loud voices to jump over the fire one by one, or in pairs. The leap over the flames was for ancient Greeks a purgatory custom and a “passport”. In this way they were cleansed with the power of the fire, so that people were free from all evil to enter clean and vigorous in the new period of time.
At Sunshine House we love to gather around the fire and this is what we do every year to celebrate Litha. We come together to share our visions and pray for the manifestation.. We drum and dance around the fire.. We make flower mandalas and crowns invoking the Sun’s strong energy and dedicate this vibration to the healing of ourselves and the healing of the Earth.
Whatever you do on this day, Midsummer is a perfect opportunity to enjoy the largest day of the year by spending time outside and absorbing father Sun’s healing energy.
May the Light be above, below and within us all! May we shine from deep within our hearts. Happy Solstice!