The summer solstice occurs on the longest day of the year (June 21 this year), and festivities and rituals tend to center around the meaning of the sun, light, abundance, and passion in our lives. Its origins go back many centuries, the date being celebrated mostly in European countries, but today is celebrated by people worldwide.
“Like the winter solstice, the summer festival lasted a full twelve days. The people took in the fullness of the light and the power of the fire and enhanced their experience with the solstice fire, with fire-walking, with burning brooms and torches, and by rolling wheels of fire down the mountains and hills.”( p.10 Witchcraft Medicine; by Muller-Ebeling, Ratsch, and Storl)
“… took in the fullness of the light …” If there is one thing I am doing to mark this solstice time, it is taking in that light, opening to the warmth and brightness that summer offers, and allowing recent darkness to slip away and fade.
Some of you may know what I have been going through the past several months. An injury and long recovery interrupted the flow of my life, changed the day to day normal of everything, and had me looking within with a sharper eye than perhaps I truly deserved. In some ways my spirituality grew and became richer, but I also found myself, at times, standing in a place of fear.
I live in a state that is beautiful year-round – each season has its own unique beauty, and I tend to not prefer one season over the other. This year, I have especially needed the sun of the summer season. I have given myself the opportunity to experience its healing energy, for body and spirit.
This is a time of heightened worries for many. I don’t know how many people I have spoken to (friends, family, and a few strangers as well), who have shared similar experiences to mine – whether their place of fear grew out of a health crisis, or through financial difficulties, career challenges, or relationship issues. They too have been struggling with new found but undesired emotions, patterns of negative thinking, or in some cases, deep depression. Meeting others who understand, who have been there or are currently there, has provided a broader opening to light.
Taking in that fullness of light, that our long-ago ancestors had the wisdom to do, means not only enjoying the sun on one’s face, listening to the songbirds of summer, feeling the grass underfoot, or catching a delightful scent of flowers as we walk past… it is also a celebration of that connectedness to others – wherever we all are in our personal journey. It is the true embracing of all that is good – love, joy, beauty, the divine – as well as an acknowledgement and acceptance of those darker days, so that we might move forward, continue to grow, and ultimately, find peace and lasting fulfillment.
With this summer solstice, as I breathe in the light and enjoy the beauties of the season, I wish for all others, healing, happiness, and many, many blessings.
~ Nellie Levine