How do cultures around the world celebrate Midsummer? How can we engage our Earth connection, and cultivate and deepen our connection to the divine energies all around us? Find out about the pagan sabbat of Litha, worldwide Solstice celebrations, and 4 personal rituals for celebrating the longest day of the year.
We are nearing the Summer Solstice, when Earth is closest to the Sun. Occurring in June 21st, 2022, this is the turning point when days stop getting longer and start getting shorter…it is a culmination and a completion— a day of inner power and brightness, and of contemplating the balance of light and dark. Traditionally the longest day of the year is celebrated with midsummer festivals around themes of light, fire, fertility, and gratitude for the sun. "Fire is used symbolically throughout summer solstice celebrations in praise of the sun, to bring luck and to ward off the darkness.
Many traditions throughout time have celebrated the Solstices — Ancient Egypt, the Aztecs of Mexico, Chinese, Chumash Indians of California, and Indigenous Europeans. Western civilizations have for centuries celebrated this first day of summer often called Midsummer, Litha (one of the 8 pagan sabbats of the year) or St. John’s Day. The Chinese mark the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light. Throughout history, with so much light being showered upon the Earth on this day, it’s been known as one of the most powerful days of the year for spiritual growth and healing.
To this day, revelers still gather at Stonehenge to see the sun rise. The Heel Stone and Slaughter Stone, set outside the main circle, align with the rising sun. Many of the ancient traditions continue — bonfires are still lit to celebrate the Sun at its height of power and to ask the Sun not to withdraw into winter darkness."
"Summer is a time to engage our Earth connection; and cultivate and deepen our connection to the divine energies all around us. In living with gratitude and understanding that reciprocity and respect for all that is given to us is, is the way to live as if all life is ceremony. In taking only what we need, and doing what we can to live in balance and harmony with the cycles of the planet, we strengthen and nourish the bond we were given a birth with the great parent who sustains us all.
As we observe the blossoming of life all around us, we can receive the energy of vitality and experience awe for the generosity of the Earth, who provides for us everything that we need." Connecting with the sacred rhythms of the Earth's celestial dance is a powerful grounding and centering practice. Tuning in to the pace of life on a grand scale brings us out of ourselves and places our individual experiences into a greater context, as we weave our threads into a beautiful tapestry of Being. Here are some ways to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate this time of year:
1. Gather with others to create a circle or spiral. Exchange songs, stories, and poems with others. Dance, drum, sing and celebrate.
2. Create a Sun Wheel or mandala (a symbol of the circle of life and connectedness) made from flowers or things found in nature. Local Santa Barbara artist Rebecca Zendejas has written a beautiful article about creating mandalas in nature, which you can read here.
3. Keep a sacred fire burning. Light a candle, or make an Altar of Light to honor the solstice.
4. Make a Prayer Stick or Prayer Tree and place specific prayers for those who need healing on it. Make a prayer for the return to peace where there is no peace, for vibrancy and good health in areas of the world where there is now poverty and scarcity.
Do any or all of the above with an intention for something that you will do to improve life – bring light and love into this world in your own creative way and begin to carry it out. Wishing you peace and light this Summer Solstice!"
"Morning has broken,
Like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken
Like the first bird;
Praise for the singing,
Praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing
Fresh from the Word..."