Wednesday 21 June is the summer solstice and what better time to get in touch with your creative spirit!
What is the summer solstice?
The June solstice, also known as the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, occurs when the Sun is at its greatest northern ecliptic longitude. The northern hemisphere’s summer officially begins at this astronomical time. (In the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite is true: the June solstice, when the Sun is at its apex in the sky, marks the astronomical beginning of winter.)
When the Earth reaches this point in its orbit, the North Pole is tilted at its greatest angle (approximately 23.5 degrees) towards the Sun, producing the longest day and the shortest night of the year, signalling the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. When we talk about the longest “day,” we’re referring to the total amount of daylight. The sun’s rays hit the Northern Hemisphere at their greatest perpendicular angle on the day of the June solstice.
Why is the solstice significant?
One of our earliest human practices is to celebrate the solstice.
Sunlight was critical for the Neolithic people, both for keeping themselves and their livestock comfortable and for promoting agricultural success.
At the summer solstice, Earth is most directly aligned with the sun. This indicates that the sun has reached its zenith in the northern hemisphere. It’s the longest day of the year, and the shortest night.
The daily rising and setting of the sun would have been easy for prehistoric people to track from every location on Earth. They would have noticed the remarkably long day of the Solstice!
Numerous societies and cultures around the world have commemorated the summer solstice. The midsummer dawn, when the sun beams down the path into the inner chambers of Neolithic passage tombs like Bryn Celli Ddu on Anglesey in north Wales and Townleyhall in Co. Louth, Ireland, are examples of Solstice celebrations across the British Isles.
Around midday on the summer solstice, a shaft of sunshine penetrates a crack in two rock slabs at Fajada Butte, a Native American landmark in New Mexico, United States. Solstice celebrations were held in the Temple of the Earth in China to honour the heavens and the gods. Solstice was a pagan feast in northern Europe that was eventually merged into the Feast of St. John the Baptist.
What can I do to celebrate the solstice?
The ascending sun and the rebirth or return of the light on Earth are major symbols of the summer solstice. And that light is in us, too. Welcoming the light is the centre of the solstice. The external world is a mirror of our inner lives, reflected in the alchemical saying “as above, so below.” And on a more metaphysical level, the light of the sun is likened to the light that is within every living thing on Earth.
This is why many summer solstice rites involve purging negative energy. This is a perfect opportunity to reflect on the bigger picture of your life and the direction your spiritual journey is taking. If you want greater prosperity in your life, it’s also a good idea to meditate or focus on the light.
Take notice of what seems to be in and out of place while you do this. And try your hardest to restore brightness to your inner world, outer world, and every aspect of your worldly existence. Because the world needs you to be the brilliant star you were always meant to be. I hope your inner and outer harvests are bountiful!
The Summer Solstice Workshop
Last year we held a workshop in a sacred birch grove here in London. This year I’d like to invite you to celebrate the solstice during a short ‘cleansing’ workshop where we will cleanse the negative energy and invite more creativity into our lives. Contact me for more info firstname.lastname@example.org