Celebrating the Light!

posted in: Community, Mindfulness | 0

I love long days of sunshine, and so the first day of summer is special to me. This year, summer begins at 2:14 am PDT on Tuesday, June 21 here in the northern hemisphere, also known as the Summer Solstice. This is the time when the sun travels along its northernmost path in the sky, and when we get our longest day of the year. The farther north you go, the longer the period of daylight, and when I lived in north Idaho it seemed to go on forever.

Summer solstice celebrations have been around for thousands of years, and no doubt, prehistoric humans have always marked the seasons arrival in one way or another. Monuments were built, people gathered, sacrifices were made all in the name of the sun’s passage. There appear to be connections to the solstices at both Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids at Giza, as well as several other locations around the world where people can be found gathering during this time.

The ancient Chinese celebrated the Earth, femininity and the related yin forces during this time of year. Summer’s bounty was enjoyed by the people of ancient France in what was called Feast of Epona. In northern European countries, the festivities continue today with the Midsummer celebrations, complete with summer maypoles. Indigenous cultures around the globe celebrate with bonfires, food, music and dance.

Consider this year creating your own Summer Solstice ritual, celebration and/or tradition. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Cultures around the globe welcome the longest day of the year with a bonfire. Of course it would be irresponsible of me to suggest a fire if you are in the middle of a drought, so only consider this if it’s safe to do so. You can use this time to take stock of your life since wintertime, review and renew your goals. Is there anything that you want to release or let go? Something you want to invite in? Write your intentions down and release it into the fire. You can even do this with a candle if conditions require.

Connect with nature
Bathe in the light of the sun by packing a picnic lunch for the family and heading out to the woods or a city park.

Create a Morning Altar
Morning Altars are creations of impermanent art made of found things in nature. Take a walk to collect the bounty of nature’s ephemera to add to your art. You’ll be hearing lots more about this practice in the future, as I’m taking a year long course to be able to teach the practice.

Spend time gardening
The summer solstice is traditionally a time to celebrate the potential for a good harvest, so tend to your garden and make it happen!

Have a Summer Solstice Feast
Invite your friends and family and enjoy dishes made with locally grown ingredients. This is a great time to invite your guests to set intentions as well.

You didn’t think I would forget that, did you? Summer solstice is the perfect time to renew your commitment to meditation. This can be through a walking meditation, a sound meditation or simply by sitting quietly in nature listening to sound of water or birdsong.

Take what you want of this list, and then make it your own. Celebrate the season that is all about light and warmth. And with longer days, you even have more time to shine your light!

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