Did you wake up today and feel the shift? As your eyes met the sun, did you find yourself more energized, tapped into the idea of a new day and a new beginning? You’re not alone.
Today, June 21st, marks a day of celebration and the power of light- the Summer Solstice. Also known as Midsummer or the Northern Solstice, the Summer Solstice honors the longest day in our calendar year and has been celebrated since ancient times.
The ancients noticed that as summer progressed, the sun stopped moving northward. It would only begin to track southward again as fall approached. In fact, the word solstice itself comes from this idea. In Latin “sol” meaning “sun” was combined with “stitium” meaning still or stopped.
One of the oldest celebrations of solstice belongs to Ancient Egypt. In their time, the ancient Egyptian New Year was celebrated in tandem with the solstice. This celebration commemorated the longest day of Ra, the sun god, and a rising star called Sirius. Along side a triad of Goddesses, this celebration of “divine rebirth” marked the beginning of flood season, a time in which Egyptian land was nourished by the overflowing waters of the Nile.
Many other ancient cultures have and continue to celebrate the Summer Solstice. The ancient Chinese used this day to honor Earth, femininity, and yin energy, while Native American tribes would celebrate with dancing and great feasts to honor the sun. Ancient Romans, Greeks, Slavic, Celtic and Germanic people all have documented June solstice celebrations, traditions, and practices. No matter where your heritage may lie, your desire to celebrate this momentous day is rooted in ancient tradition.
CREATING YOUR OWN SOLSTICE CELEBRATION
A solstice bonfire is the classical way to honor the sun. Dancing, singing, playing music, and feasting around a great fire, showing joy and reverence to the light and all its power. If a bonfire is not an option for you due to location or access, there are a plethora of ways to create your own traditions.
Get Outside & Tune into Nature
Simply spending time outdoors on the solstice will bring you closer to your source energy. Try taking a few hours to appreciate the sun, sky, earth, and what lies beneath. Go for a walk and remove your shoes, feel the grass and soil between your toes, the heat of pavement beneath the pads of your feet, observe how the breeze rolls across your skin and through your hair. The beauty of Mother Nature surrounds no matter where you are located.
If you’d like to go further, take this time outdoors and plan a picnic. It doesn’t have to be huge! A solstice picnic can be you, yourself, and a delicious spread of cheese, fruit, veggies, and chocolate. Treat yourself as you observe the sun and all it’s glory. Even better? Try making it for the sunrise and the sunset.
Sunbathe & Swim
Have you ever wanted to bottle the power of the sun? Think of solstice sunbathing and swimming as drinking the sun’s divine energy. Soaking in the sun, or your local water body or pool, will not only allow you to fully relax and take in the power of the day, it’s also good for the body and soul. Vitamin D exposure mixed with pure relaxation will heighten your ability to absorb all the good that surrounds you, calming the mind and opening the heart.
Set Summer Intentions
At Vosges, we love meditation. We love setting our intentions, creating personal rituals, eating high vibe foods, and taking care of our bodies- inside and out. Much of the June solstice revolves around new beginnings, shedding the negatives of the past, and moving forward on our summer resolutions.
Another way you can honor the solstice is by spending time in your heart space, meditating on what you are grateful for and manifesting for future growth. It is important to give thanks to the sun and all it’s creations. Say thank you for the blooms, the bees, the food we eat, the warmth that we get to exist in, and the energy that it provides.
Create An Altar of Light
For those who prefer a tactile sacred space, creating an Altar of Light is a beautiful way to take part in ancient solstice tradition. Start by gathering for your altar. Aim for items that represent the power of light and the colors/ideals of the season. Oranges, whites, yellows, and golds work particularly well. You can also use charms or amulets that may be important to you, you have the creative freedom here!
Once you are ready, arrange your candles, seasonal fruits, crystals, flowers, and herbs in any way you see fit. For inspiration, picture perfectly place crystals, like citrine, pyrite, and carnelian, surrounded by mountains of peaches, tangerines, and tomatoes. Small bouquets of sunflowers, marigolds, and yellow-orange roses lay side by side with bundles of yarrow, fern, fennel, and lavender. Light a few candles, perhaps burn your favorite incense, and reflect on the beautiful space you have just created. Thank the sun for allowing you to create such a beautiful space, for providing and continuing to provide.
This Altar of Light can be kept if you like, and used for meditation, reflection, rituals, and intention setting throughout the rest of the season.
Embrace the Night & Stargaze
A favorite way to honor the summer solstice, is to watch the sunset and stay up to stargaze. Sirius, also known as the Dog Star or Sirius A, is the brightest star in Earth’s night sky. The ancient Egyptians were very much connected with Sirius, and its appearance is what marked their celebrations on this day.
While Sirius is not as visible anymore, due to light pollution and changes in the sky, staying up to watch the stars shine is a divine and emotional way to connect ourselves to the traditions of our ancient ancestors.
No matter how you choose to celebrate the Summer Solstice, remember that through our divine connections and existence together, we all benefit from the power and beauty of nature. Happy Solstice!