Summer is the time when nature is at its most colourful and abundant. There’s a mass of flowers around as many plants and flowers are flourishing and at their peak. You may remember that last month I was encouraging you to start looking at what is blossoming and flourishing in you? Well, now, at Summer Solstice – which is coming up this Saturday 21st June – is the VERY BEST time to look at areas in yourself where you’ve made some progress and moved ahead, even if it’s only in small ways.
The Summer Solstice comes about because the sun, which has been climbing higher and higher in the sky since the Winter Solstice on December 21st, reaches its highest point, and briefly, seems to almost stand still in the heavens. This brings about the longest day and the shortest night of the year. (The word solstice comes from two Latin words: sol, which means sun, and sistere, which means to stand still.) After Summer Solstice, the sun immediately begins to wane. The journey towards autumn and harvest has begun and the days will slowly begin to shorten.
The Ancients celebrated Summer Solstice as a midsummer fire festival. They recognised that at this point in the year, there’s a great deal of powerful natural energy around. Many ancient buildings were aligned to the exact spot on the earth where the sun rises on the day of the Solstice (the main entrance of Stonehenge is a good example of this), and such placements were carefully chosen in order to catch some of the sun’s power and fill places of worship with its energy. Traditional celebrations on this day included the kindling of fires from the wood of oak and throwing herbs onto the flames. The herbs were purifying and reviving and said to drive away disease. People would feast and dance and jump over the flames of the fire for luck and fertility.
Why not celebrate this powerful time of the year yourself in order to help you honour the places where you’ve grown and blossomed or made progress? In so doing you can connect with the life-giving energies of the sun, strengthen and harmonise your energy system so that you can function at more optimum levels, open your hearts to all the summer vibrations and allow them to help you in whatever way you need.
Below is an example of how you might perform some kind of ritual to help you express this acknowledgement of where you are right now. Feel free to make changes to my suggestions about what this ritual should include. And since the Summer Solstice falls on a weekend this year, why not throw a Summer Solstice party and invite some friends to come and celebrate with you?
Celebrating the Great Festival of Summer
The night before (Midsummer’s Eve), spend some time making a list of all the good things in your life – the things that you love, the people and animals that you love, little and big break-throughs and understandings , and any achievements , no matter how big or how small. The idea is to remind yourself about and to appreciate the abundance of good things in your life.
Write your list down on a clean piece of paper, roll it up into a scroll and tie it with a ribbon or a piece of string. If you’re planning on a Solstice party, suggest to your friends who are coming that they do the same and bring their scrolls with them. Make it clear that all the lists are private and don’t have to be read out.
Make an altar and spread it with some yellow fabric (if you have it) for yellow is the colour of summer. Add flowers and candles and any other things which have meaning for you.
If you’ve got friends coming, ask them all to bring a candle or two in holders as well. These can be placed on the altar and other (safe) areas in the room so that when it comes to lighting them all, you’ve literally got a bank of candles burning which look wonderful and symbolise the power of the sun.
If you have a garden, gather some flowers from there and weave them into a summer wreath. You can easily make this by bending a wire coat hanger into a circle and then winding some ivy round it to give it a base through which you can weave in some flowers and herbs. If you don’t have a garden, don’t worry – a vase of flowers will do. You might ask your friends if they’d like to bring flowers and/or wreaths, too. Explain that flowers gathered from their own gardens or picked from hedgerows and nature can be used symbolically to represent personal achievements and successes or anything good that has happened to you in the past year.
Set out the food and drink ready for the feasting after the ceremony and select some joyful music.
Place your wreath of flowers on your altar as well as your scroll of achievements. Invite any friends who are coming to do the same when they arrive.
When you’re ready to start, light the candles, and as you do, think about your achievements and give yourself some appreciation for your efforts and remember all the good things in your life.
Then find a place to sit down quietly and start meditating on abundance. Bring to mind all the things which help you to feel this way and let those feelings fill you to the brim.
After about 15-20 minutes, gently come out of the meditation. Place a fireproof bowl on the floor in the centre of the room together with a jug of water and one of the candles. Take your scroll of achievements and ceremoniously burn it, allowing it to turn to ashes in the fireproof bowl. (The jug of water is there to act as a fire extinguisher in case you need it!). Burning the scroll what you have written to be transmuted into a higher level. Invite your friends to take it in turns to burn their scrolls ceremoniously as well.
You could throw some lavender or verbena or incense into the bowl as the scrolls burn to symbolise purification and revitalisation. Later, you could scatter the ashes outside your home or in your garden to evoke powers of protection and good fortune.
Afterwards, pour out drinks and toast the summer. Then get into the music and start dancing. Enjoy the movement of your body as you swing and sway. Clap your hands, swing your arms, shake your head and flex your feet. Dancing moves your energies and opens up the channels. It releases endorphins (the feel-good hormones) throughout your body, bringing healing to each and every cell, muscle, bone and organ), and it’s very beneficial.
Enjoy the party!
Appreciate your Gifts
Celebrate your Achievements
And Bless the Earth