To celebrate the Earth’s yearly solar cycle is to take part in an ancient tradition that has been handed down to us since before Celtic times. The old Celtic festivals are a means by which we can connect to the Earth’s passing seasons and acknowledge the way this resonates within ourselves, as part of the natural world.
Celebrating the Earth festivals brings a structure to our lives by consciously making a connection to the passage of time and our path within it. This helps us to remember to honour and celebrate the Earth and her seasons, ourselves and each other, our achievements as well as our losses. We can come together as a community, to share food and drink, to dance, sing, reflect and share our experiences and understanding. Or we can use this time to be on our own, to spend some time in sacred space or set off on a pilgrimage, to reflect and explore our relationship with the Earth and our evolving inner understanding.
Endings and Beginnings
The Sun enters the sign of Cancer at the height of her power, at the great turning point in the solar year, where the cosmic wheel stops and starts again. This is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere, but from now on the days will shorten. With the new cycle of the Sun begins the journey to the Summerlands, signifying endings and beginnings. The outer energy begins to wane. The inner energy begins to expand.
This is a dual celebration. On the one hand, it is a celebration of all which has become manifest during the outward cycle of the Sun, and on the other hand, it celebrates the return to the dark cycle of the year, and a magical transformation begins. We are called upon to value the power of the dark cycle as a necessary part of the whole, to celebrate its rich potency, its nurturing and receptive nature, and see it as a gift, vital to us all and to the Earth. Amidst the revelries of high summer, take a moment to acknowledge the equilibrium and balance this brings.
The Underlying Energy of Summer Solstice
Throughout all of nature the rampant growth period of the year has reached its peak – the trees are in full leaf and blossom, herbs, flowers and vegetables are flourishing and the fruit and grain are beginning to swell. Everywhere there is a sense of completeness and abundance.
The Summer Solstice is a time to enjoy and celebrate what you have, what and who you are, and what you have achieved and manifested this year. Use this special day to focus and charge with healing and positive intent all you wish to be. Add the strength and power of the Sun to enhance and activate what you want to bring into your life. Abandon yourself to expressive dance, song, joy and a sense of your own uniqueness.
Here at the peak of this active solar energy, a transformation and alchemy is taking place. The active principle now fires up the inner journey, bringing spiritual rebirth and completion of our whole selves. Celebrate the death and rebirth of the great cycle of the year. As the power of the outer realms wane, the power of the inner realms will expand, and we are made whole.
Preparations and Celebrations
Summer Solstice is a time for gathering together – many people go to the stone circles on Midsummer’s eve to stay up all night and watch the Solstice sunrise. This is an opportunity to meet and be with fellow kindred spirits. If you are organising a Midsummer celebration, find somewhere to be outside where you can have a fire, make music and dance, where there is enough outdoor space for a procession and for camping out. Ask everyone to bring firewood, as well as food and drink for a feast, candle lanterns and night-lights in jars for the hours between dark and dawn.
A Shrine to the Sun
Make a shrine to the Sun, preferably on a circular surface. Paint a Sun on a piece of cloth or board, or make an appliqué Sun cloth. These become lasting treasures that can be brought out and used whenever the Sun’s energy needs to be invoked. Alternatively, gather gold, orange and red scarves and any sparkly gold materials to create a shrine to celebrate the power of the Sun and the Summer Solstice. Fill it with colour and light.
Solar Charged Elixirs
Place a glass of spring water in the Sun and after a few hours, drink the solar-charged water. You can add specific herbs and gemstones to the water to bring their unique properties to the solar-charged elixir. Wash all your crystals and stones and leave them to dry and charge in the Midsummer Sun.
From Sacred Earth Celebrations, © 2014 by Glennie Kindred, published by Permanent Publications.