Today, Monday June 21, is the Summer Solstice.
The Celtic people (think: Asterix), who once populated Britain and much of North West Europe during the Iron Age, celebrated the earth’s cycles and seasons by dividing the year into eight segments, creating eight festivals to come together and rejoice in and honour nature.
This eightfold sub-division of the year is marked by the two solstices (midwinter and midsummer, when the days are either the shortest or the longest), the two equinoxes (spring and autumn, when days and nights are equal in length), and the ‘cross-quarters’, which are the four great fire festivals of the earth’s cycle, falling at seasonal peaks (Imbolc, Beltain, Lammas and Samhain).
Nowadays, many pagan and wiccan cultures continue to celebrate these festivals.
Today we celebrate the midsummer solstice – the summer quarter point, the longest day, return of the dark.
This is a great turning point in the year, as the days start to become shorter once again and the sun’s power begins to wane.
In Celtic times, fires would be lit across hilltops, and people stayed up all night in order to watch the sunrise. It was a time of carnival, dancing, candlelit processions and festivities. Celts honoured the return of the dark side of the year, enabling the connection to the inner world to strengthen once more.
Spiritually, this festival is about achievement and attainment, celebrating all that you have sown and reaped, having reached a peak and feeling abundant with what you’ve got in life, noticing dreams which have been fulfilled and the success of your plans.
It’s an outward and physical manifestation of achievements which, as the darker nights return, will turn inwards and settle into our psyche and emotional landscape. We will dwell and reflect on what we’ve done.
Like all Celtic festivals, it’s also a time of year when the veil between worlds was perceived to be thin, so undertaking spiritual rituals ands meditations is timely and likely to yield powerful results.
How to celebrate the Summer Solstice:
Don’t worry, you don’t need to throw an entire fire festival. Instead, try one of these ways to mark the occasion.
- Stay up all night and watch the sun rise. Celebrate and toast all of your successes, achievements and strengths gained in the last six months. Be grateful.
- Gather with friends for a candlelit procession. Toast each others’ successes. Traditionally this was a time to gift people you love with potted herbs.
- Decorate your home with garlands or wreaths of summer flowers and leaves.
- Celebrate with fire – be that a fire pit, fireworks, outdoor candles, even a twilight BBQ.
- Keep a candle burning. Whenever you see it, say aloud something you’re proud of, have achieved, or are grateful for in your life.
- Drink refreshing herbal teas, sweetened with honey. Leave them out in the sun to steep, to soak up the solar power.
- Treat yourself to a tarot reading, as this is a day when the veils between worlds are thin.
- Start a gratitude journal, to fill with all of your strengths, gifts and achievements, and review your growth as a person when you reach the midwinter solstice (Tuesday December 21).
Kerry King, the tarot queen, uses tarot and star sign wisdom to create inspiring forecasts and insights, with over 25 years fortune telling experience, and many happy clients all over the world. You can book a personal, written reading, which comes as a beautifully illustrated brochure, through her website.
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Author: Ellen Scott and Kerry King