Happy Solstice Dear Friends,
June 20th is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Latitudes. This year it will close to sunrise and there will also be a full moon in Capricorn as the Sun enters the sign of Cancer. Also known as Midsummer, it is one of the eight great spokes on the Celtic wheel of seasons. Midsummer’s Eve is one of the three important spirit nights of the year; the other two are Beltane (May Day) and Samhain (Halloween). When the veils are thinnest between the worlds, we can communicate with the spirit world more easily. Do you remember Shakespeare’s comedy, The Tempest? The famous Bard taps into common beliefs, even as late as Elizabethan times, of this spirit night.
The Solstice (meaning sun stands still) is universally recognized in all cultures as an important turning point—it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and Sun energy is at its peak force. In Celtic tradition, it is the time of honoring the masculine and we feel its primal creative energy. I wonder if those who chose to make Father’s Day so close to the Summer Solstice knew this.
There are celebrations around the globe in virtually every part of the Northern Hemisphere with rituals around fertility and abundance. Before churches banned such celebrations, midsummer was a night of bonfires and dancing and late night revelries. These traditions are being revived, but in Latvia celebrations have been continuous for at least five thousand years.
Celebrations that have resurfaced tend to have three main themes:
- Emphasis on the importance of medicinal plants for health and well being by wearing and giving wreaths woven with these herbs.
- Utilizing fire as a force for protection and purification as all night bonfires are lit and people dance around and jump over them.
- Honoring water at springs, lakes or the sea as a purifying and magical aid for fertility and abundance.
As you see, these are three of the four elements; plants representing Earth, then Fire and Water. Just add Air, which is all around us, and we’ve got one of the most ancient and enduring rituals in all indigenous cultures. I encourage you to celebrate the Solstice in whatever way appeals to you, and please send your intentions out at the full moon. At times like this when such news as Orlando saddens us, let us all ask for peace, tolerance and understanding.