The Spiritual Meaning of the Summer Solstice

(Stonehenge photo copyright flickr user Simon Wakefield 2008)

(photo copyright flickr user Simon Wakefield 2008)

The Summer Solstice is Sunday, June 21 at 10:37 AM Mountain Daylight Time. (MDT)  For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the Summer Solstice usually occurs around June 21st. I say “usually” because our calendar doesn’t follow the earth’s rotation exactly, so it can shift.

In my research I came across an article 15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Summer Solstice. Among them:

The Pagans celebrate the solstice with symbols of fire and water. In Paganism and Wicca, Midsummer is celebrated with a festival known as Litha. In ancient Europe, the festival involved rolling giant wheels lit on fire into bodies of water to symbolize the balance between fire and water.

Water is yin/feminine in character, its energy is downward and its motion is stillness and conserving. Water is also the element of stillness and rest, taking time to rest and rejuvenate yourself. It is in the Water element that all great innovations and ideas are birthed.

Fire is yang/masculine in character, its direction is upward and its energy is expansive. Fire is the Element responsible for the passionate resonance when you are following your life’s calling.

The ancient Chinese honored the yin on the solstice. In ancient China, the summer solstice was the yin to the winter solstice’s yang—literally. Throughout the year, the Chinese believed, the powers of yin and yang waxed and waned in reverse proportion to each other. At the summer solstice, the influence of yang was at its height, but the celebration centered on the impending switch to yin. At the winter solstice, the opposite switch was honored.

The name comes from the fact that the sun appears to stand still. The term “solstice” is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because the sun’s relative position in the sky at noon does not appear to change much during the solstice and its surrounding days. The rest of the year, the Earth’s tilt on its axis—roughly 23.5 degrees—causes the sun’s path in the sky to rise and fall from one day to the next.

I love the symbolic nature of all of these, but I particularly like the last. We’re halfway through the year now and what better time to stop, reflect, nurture and use the power of the Summer Solstice (and our New Moon this last Tuesday) to re-evaluate, discard what no longer serves you (both mentally and in your physical world) and recommit to your divine connection to self.

Solstice is one of the powerful transition times of the year and always an appropriate time for doing some kind of personal nurturing, ceremony or ritual.

Here are 7 ideas to get you started:

  1. Make some fusion water with frozen strawberries, sliced lemons and a sprig of basil
  2. Walk barefoot – around your home, in the yard, in the sand. Really feeeel the earth beneath your feet. This is called earthing. It connects you to Mother Earth’s energy.
  3. Put your earbuds in and chill out to some of your favorite soul-soothing tunes.
  4. Grab your journal, pull up a comfy chair and free-write your thoughts. Get all of that mental mumbo-jumbo out of your head, on to the page and make room for more spiritual inspiration.
  5. Go for a walk on the beach, in the woods, in the desert and breathe long, slow, deep inhalations. Silently breathe in the mantra “so” on the inhale and “hum” on the exhale.
  6. Stretch. Stand with your legs hip width apart, reach your arms high above your head, and then fold over at your waist and let your arms and head dangle. Don’t force the stretch; relax into it. While you’re there, breathe. Observe the rise and fall of your belly with each breath. When ready, slowly raise, one vertebra at a time.
  7. Meditate. You knew that one was coming, right? Click HERE for 10-minute Guided Chakra Balancing Meditation by Ellen Long.

If you’re in the San Diego area, join me and Elivia Melodey with a celebration at Torrey Pines State Beach. We have some special things planned including yoga for your chakras, an intention ceremony and singing crystal bowls concert. You can find out more HERE.

Pause, reflect and honor this time.

With good energy,

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Photo by Yelena Yahontova of YELENA: Photographer of JOY

2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for these beautiful insights and suggestions, Debra!

  2. You are welcome, Thalia! What’s your favorite tip?