The world is spinning on its axis towards the longest, lightest day of the year. The summer solstice marks the first day of summer, when the sun reaches the highest point in the sky. The day is long, and the night is short. The sun is most potent on the summer solstice and is recognized as a time of powerful healing.
The 2023 Summer Solstice will occur on June 21st in the Northern Hemisphere, and December 22nd in the Southern Hemisphere.
The word itself springs from two Latin words: 'Sol' (sun) and 'systre' (standing still.) On the day when the sun stands still in the sky, many ancient traditions – from the Aztecs to the Druids – gathered to celebrate the height of the sun's power.
The summer solstice also marks a shift in the year. After the solstice, the sun's power starts to decrease, the days gradually shortening as we head towards the darker half of the year. Such is the humbling ebb and flow of nature.
The summer solstice is an opportunity to rejuvenate your spirit and reconnect with yourself and the natural world by creating solstice rituals where we linger in the power of the longest, lightest day of the year.
Summer Solstice and Spiritual Survival
Midsummer, the time of new beginnings, has been celebrated since the pagan holiday of Litha. It is a time for inner power and brightness. Even in those who do not mark the summer solstice, there is an internal flame within when the days get longer, the sun leading us through better times. And by celebrating the sun and the power it provides to all nature, humans are spiritually ignited, connecting to its life force.
Around the world, countries are steeped in traditions and folklore. These traditions may be unique to them but are ultimately connected in a festival that flows with the past and future, acknowledging the abundance offered by submitting the spirit to the present. Our world needs the sun for food, for growth, to endure. And that includes its people, emboldened as we move into months of high summer and remember that we continue, as the earth continues to turn.
Greet the Sun
If you practice yoga, start your solstice morning with sun salutations (a.k.a Surya Namaskar). Surya means “sun” in Sanskrit, while Namaskar comes from Nama “to bow down”.
Sun salutations are a sequence of yoga poses (or asanas) that are typically performed at the beginning of a yoga flow class as a way to align oneself to the present and enter a meditative state. What could be more perfect in showing gratitude to the sun on the solstice than a sequence of poses that honor the center of light and provider of all energy on Earth?
You also don’t need to be a yogi or familiar with yoga poses to do sun salutations. Simply head to the beach or your favorite place in nature at sunrise and stand in silence. Soak up the sun’s warmth and energy, letting it fill your heart with gratitude, while welcoming in the new day.
Enjoy nature’s bounty
Everywhere you look, nature is calling. Flora and fauna begin to thrive in the blinding sunlight, accentuating the color and intricacy of nature. The medieval name for June's moon is 'Rose Moon,' which points to the pale pink dog roses that grew in abundance. Right now, nature is teeming with life.
In the heat and fun of summer, taking mindful moments to pay attention to nature's bounty is undeniably good for the soul. Engaging with the seasons fully and remaining in tune with the rhythm of sky, land and sea in these ever changing days opens us up to the possibility of solstice, and cements our part in the dance of opportunity.
Sit in your garden, a public park, a wild space, or even look out of your window and notice the beauty that surrounds you. Hone in on nature's detail. Know too that you're a part of nature, connected to every living thing.
Use the longer daylight hours as an opportunity to stop and simply revel in the abundance of the natural world.
Bring life to something
When we harness the energy of the solstice sun, we open ourselves to creativity, and bring positivity when we release that creativity. Like New Year's and its resolutions, midsummer is a perfect time to begin those long hoped for projects. Use the extra daylight to bring your vision to fruition.
If you want to connect with the earth in a more tangible way, look to the seasonal harvest at this time of year. Whether you forage, grow your own or visit a fruit-picking farm, there is no better way to mark the solstice than getting your hands in the soil.
Light a fire
Ancient cultures gathered on the solstice to light sacred fires, reflecting on the potency of the sun. Fire is integral to all celebrations, a focal point where people come together.
Invite your friends to celebrate the summer solstice with you by gathering around a bonfire or campfire. Sit on the ground to directly connect with the earth.
You can also celebrate the occasion yourself by lighting a small candle and taking a moment to reflect and give thanks for all that's occurred in the first half of the year.
Immerse yourself in water
As the summer solstice is right in the middle of the calendar year, it's a prime time to tune into nature by reconnecting with your body.
What better way to awaken your senses than by immersing yourself in water. There's nothing quite like running into the ocean, the power of the waves crashing against you, the salt stinging your skin. The shock and might of the ocean forces you to be fully present in the moment.
If you can't get to the sea, recreate the experience at home. Fill your bathtub, add mineral salts or essential oils, light a candle or burn incense to create your own natural sanctuary.
Let the water wash over you, releasing you from all you no longer need to carry. Let it cleanse you as you enter the latter half of the year. Set an intention, a goal or a mantra for the year that still lies ahead. ☀️
P.s. Dry-off by wrapping yourself in one of our organic towels woven in natural patterns from the sea. 🐚