The Wheel Of The Year: Celebrating The Summer Solstice

A few ideas for commemorating the longest day (and shortest night) of the whole year and the official start of the beloved summer season.
Author:
Publish date:
Photo by Trang Ta on Unsplash

Photo by Trang Ta on Unsplash

The days are stretching lazily across the Northern Hemisphere, and today week marks the Summer Solstice, or as some say, Midsummer’s. One of the brightest and most joyous of holidays, the Solstice declares the longest day of the year and the beginning of the summer season. It is one of the most ancient holidays on our calendar and thought by some historians to have been observed since the Stone Age. 

One of the most unique – and truly beautiful – aspects of the Solstice is the archeological evidence that it was celebrated all over the world from the start. In ancient China, the festival was associated with the celebration of earth and femininity called Yin. Central European tribes historically burned bonfires to encourage a long and prosperous season of growth. In ancient Egypt, the Nile would flood the lowlands and bring rich nutrients to the soil, and this event was honored with festivities.

With mindfulness and a little creativity, we can celebrate this ancient holiday in our own modern lives. If you are able, travel to somewhere sacred – sacred to you. This could be an archeological site of interest (if you are so lucky!) or simply a forest, lake or the ocean; just find a place where the energy shifts. Since it’s the shortest night of the year, the natural world beckons to be experienced in all of its extra light, but perhaps home feels the most sacred for you – wherever you choose to settle for the evening, if the weather allows, just try to be outdoors at some point. 

Honoring such a holiday in solitude is always powerful, but the Solstice invites us to come together with our community of friends and family. You can create an evening full of ritual, symbolism and observances or just gather for an informal picnic under the slowly setting sun. Whatever you decide, here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Choose local.

Like all of the holidays we’ve learned about over the year, the Solstice is a time for gratitude and abundance. As all of the ancient people of the world understood, the sun brings forth the riches of the earth, and it should be honored for its gift. 

If you are planning a picnic or other meal, try to source your ingredients from local purveyors and farmers. It’s the perfect opportunity to not only give thanks to the sun (and to the way it particularly nourishes your surrounding soil), but to those who work so tirelessly in our communities to feed us all. From all of that bounty you’ve acquired from your local farmers, create recipes that are bright, full of flavor and that perhaps you only make on this special day.

2. Build a ritual.

Here are a few ideas for unique Solstice-appropriate events: berry picking, hiking to the same special place, an evening swim, nighttime garden tending, a picnic, creating flower crowns, and picking flowers and herbs under the Solstice sun for teas, tinctures and herbal remedies. Let your love and creativity be your guiding light here – anything that resonates love and light can become a ritual for you.

3. Find a moment of solitude.

Take a moment to yourself for a sacred summer mediation or yoga practice – think sun salutations and honoring your inner light. Many yogis around the world traditionally complete 108 sun salutations on the Solstice.

4. Practice (group) journaling.

Journaling is always a powerful tool of ritual. If you have children, do this together by giving them a prompt – perhaps, how does the sun make you feel? What do you love to do in the sunshine? Encourage them to express themselves in words, drawings, and collages.

5. Build a fire.

Bonfires are one of the most ancient ways to honor the Summer Solstice. Yours does not have to be a 10-foot-tall beacon – a small fire serves the same symbolic purpose. Fire has always been a source of protection and a powerful antidote to negative energies. Bring loved ones together around the glow and feast and be merry. 

Related

5f5bc2a5796cebcdc158c359_pexels-retha-ferguson-3811123-p-1600

Motif Founder Shanetta McDonald On Storytelling, Healing, & Connection

"By opening up about these unique experiences, women of color build esteem and lift the shame of hiding their true selves from the world. We’re able to be seen, and feel heard, and that is healing."

Where do we go from here Headshots

Where Do We Go From Here? Join The Fold For A Conversation About The Impact of COVID-19 on Women and Mothers In The Workplace

Join us for a free virtual event featuring Angela Garbes, The Fold's Nora Gomez-Strauss and hosted by Executive Editor, Amanda Carter Gomes.

Wellness

March 2021 Tarotscopes

Dear Pisces: Striving towards your vision is very different than gazing wistfully upon someone else's. There are amazing gifts out there all around you, being offered freely and with great love, but if you don't bother to raise your head then you surely won't bother to see them.

DSC_0931

Bite-sized Visioning for Mercury Retrograde

Mercury is in retrograde, so let's make it simple. Here are a few easy prompts for you to tell your story and hold your vision.

opdoc-menopause-superJumbo

A Conversation On Menopause & The Stories She Documents With Filmmaker, Bronwen Parker-Rhodes

"There is so much about the female body that doesn’t get discussed enough and many women struggle and suffer in silence because of it."

Wellness

February 2021 Tarotscopes

Dear Aquarius: Do not hide from your previous selves. Do not deny the sharp, tempered strength of your history. That is exactly what brings you here to this moment of power and renewal.

peace flag

On Healing & Hope: "Imagine What We Can Do Next"

"As a parent yearning for a more equitable future for her children, as a human yearning for the earth to survive more lifetimes, I hope we can remind ourselves that the work does not end here."

NARRATIVE INTELLIGENCE

Narrative Intelligence: Mapping + Meaning, A Free Virtual Event with Laura Sullivan Cassidy in Conversation with The Fold's Founder, Amanda Carter Gomes

A conversation about our personal plotlines and how we can write and direct them—even in this time of trauma, grief, and uncertainty.