Ways You Can Celebrate the Summer Solstice
21st June. The Summer Solstice. The longest day of the year. One of the eight seasonal holidays that mark the circle of life. But also a turning point. The beginning of the growth of the dark. A time when the nights begin to lengthen and thoughts begin to turn to fall and winter.
I talk about the Summer Solstice in my book Sacred Ceremonies as the point in which we tip over into the waxing dark:
“It’s very much a seasonal marker of completion. The Summer Solstice is the day when the light is at its fullest, and paradoxically, it’s also the start of its waning.”
Midsummer is also known as Litha, derived from the name of a goddess of fertility, power and abundance, all features of the season and reflective of what’s going on inside us human beings. The goddess is pregnant with child, the Sun God at the height of his virility.
It’s a time when school ends, vacations begin, and, as I state in my book:
“The land around us is reaching its peak of fertility. We connect with that sense of power around us and inside us. It’s an erotic, sexual, and sensual time of year. Even our clothing is looser and lighter, and will be more frequently absent from our bodies.”
Much like Beltane, the subject of this post, this is a time to make the most of the playful and sensual fullness of the season. But, as it’s later in the year, there is more determination to treasure the long hours of daylight, because we are fully aware that the light will soon start decreasing.
So how can you commemorate the Summer Solstice? Below, I outline just a few of the ways you can mark midsummer:
Say farewell to the sun at dusk by finding the best viewpoint you can to witness the sun setting, and take a few moments to meditate as it slowly slips below the horizon.
You may wish to mark the moment by singing or playing an instrument, enjoying the thought that the days will remain long and hot for a while yet, but aware of the steadily decreasing light.
Stay still and silent
Alternatively, you could mark midsummer with a moment of reflection and contemplation.
Light a fire
It’s traditional for many to light bonfires and stay up all night on Midsummer Eve and welcome the sun. As I point out in my book: “These are still days of fire, so once more a fire ceremony, much like our predecessors enjoyed, is a fitting celebration. This is a time to reflect back on the cycle of the growing light, from Imbolc to now, and see what’s manifesting from the seeds that were germinated at that time.”
Embrace the warmth of the sun
With the sun directly overhead, stand with your feet wide apart and arms open wide, palms facing up to the sky, head tilted back and eyes closed. This lets you honor the sun’s power and can be repeated throughout the Solstice.
These are just a few of the ways you can mark the coming of midsummer, the point when the light reaches its peak and begins its steady decline. A time to be outdoors and celebrating the warmth. If you wish to discover more about celebrating the Summer Solstice, and all eight of the seasonal festivals, I write about them in more detail in my book Sacred Ceremonies.