Today, June 20th (@5:44 PM EST) marks the First day of Summer and the Summer Solstice.
"In Tarot, The Sun card presents a feeling of optimism and fulfillment. This card represents the dawn which follows the darkest of nights. The Sun is the source of all the life on our planet, and it represents life energy itself. There is a child depicted in the card, playing joyfully in the foreground. A symbol of our innocence, it represents the happiness that occurs when you are in alignment with your true self. The child is naked, meaning that he has absolutely nothing to hide. The card also depicts childhood innocence and absolute purity. This is particularly emphasized through the white horse upon which the child is riding. The horse here is also a symbol of strength and nobility."
The word “Solstice,” is derived from the Latin words Sol+systere, meaning “Sun”+ “standing still.”
The summer solstice is a time when the most light is available to us both literally and metaphysically. It's a time to reflect on the meaning of the season of light and growth, alongside your own personal expansion thus far. There's an illumination within each and every one of us that's being called to action. Now is the time when we are the most present to ourselves and who we know ourselves to be — the Sun represents the light of all life and consciousness.
Many traditions throughout time have celebrated the Solstices — Ancient Greece, Egypt, Aztecs of Mexico, Chinese, American Indians, and Indigenous Europeans. The Chinese mark the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light, and the feminine "yin," energy. Western European civilizations have for centuries celebrated this first day of summer called Midsummer. Throughout history, with so much light being showered upon the Earth on this day, it’s been known as one of the most powerful days of the year for spiritual growth, fertility, and healing.
To this day, revelers still gather at Stonehenge to see the sunrise. The Heel Stone and Slaughter Stone, set outside the main circle, align with the rising sun. And many of the ancient traditions continue — bonfires are still lit to celebrate the Sun at its height of power.
Watch the live stream of the sunrise at the Stonehenge:
Fire is used symbolically throughout celebrations in praise of the sun, to bring luck and to ward off the darkness.
The spiral is also a symbol associated with the Solstices. Ancient dances would follow the Sun’s movement like a spiral, joining hands weaving through the streets, winding into a decreasing spiral into the middle then unwinding back out again. Just as the Sun moves from contraction at the center of the spiral at the winter solstice to expansion at Summer Solstice and back again. The spiral is one of the oldest and most universal symbols, signifying growth and evolution. The way energy flows within our bodies spirals from the base of our energy center to the crown, if you look at pure energy under a microscope you will see that it forms spiral patterns.
"Living through gratitude and understanding that reciprocity and respect for all that is given to us is, is the way to live as if all life is ceremony. In taking only what we need, and doing what we can to live in balance and harmony with the cycles of the planet, we strengthen and nourish the bond we were given at birth with the great parent who sustains us all."
My intent for this article is to illuminate the history and significance of this special day season and also encourage celebration and awareness through ritual. Creating a ceremony or celebration is a way for humans to acknowledge the life force energy within us, and give back to Creation some of the energy and blessings that we are ALWAYS receiving. The Earth constantly provides for all of us with her incredible bounty, and the Sun’s warmth provides the light necessary for all living beings to thrive and prosper.
There are many ways to celebrate the solstice, below I've listed three of my own personal rituals to celebrate the force that guides my innermost being and my favorite Solstice.
1) Create a Mandala or Sun Circle, symbolizing the circle of life, and connectedness.
Do this using your choice of medium. May it be on paper with paint, or outside with collections from nature, focusing your intent and cherishing your own creation.
2) Create and keep a sacred fire burning.
You can create a big fire like a bonfire, but even a small fire, in the form of a candle or Altar of Light can be just as potent. I like to write a list of all my dreams and desires that I want to see brought to fruition, allowing it to soak up the energy of the flame.
3) Gather with others and form a sacred circle.
Dance, drum, share stories, play music, laugh, and merely enjoy the beauty that comes from co-creating, and celebrating with others during this time of fierce expansion.