After a long and seriously unforgiving winter, folks in the Northern Hemisphere are finally reaping the benefits of summer, as June 21 marks the official 2021 summer solstice. Many of us are already marking our calendars with beach days, hikes, and picnics galore — but if you’re looking to tap into the spiritual aspect of the seasonal shift, there are several solstice rituals you can do to welcome summer, in all its glory.
From gifting friends with sachets as a natural mosquito deterrent, to enjoying a seasonal feast of locally-grown goodies, there are so many fun ways to welcome and celebrate summer, sustainably.
Nearly every agricultural society has marked the high point of summer in some way, shape or form. On this date–usually around June 21 or 22 (or December 21/22 in the southern hemisphere)–the sun reaches its zenith in the sky. It is the longest day of the year, and the point at which the sun seems to just hang there without moving – in fact, the word “solstice” is from the Latin word solstitium, which literally translates to “sun stands still.” The travels of the sun were marked and recorded. Stone circles such as Stonehenge were oriented to highlight the rising of the sun on the day of the summer solstice.
December Solstice marks the arrival of the first day of summer in the southern hemisphere. That’s why in the earth’s southern areas, the December Solstice is known as the Summer Solstice. In 2021, the official first day of summer in Australia (southern hemisphere) will occur on Wednesday, December 22, at sharp 02:59 Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT).
Not to mention, this astronomical event will also mark the brightest as well as the longest day of the year in the southern hemisphere. On the other hand, for people living in the northern hemisphere, this solstice marks the arrival of the first day of winter. That’s why in the earth’s northern areas, December Solstice is known as the Winter or Hibernal Solstice. Again, for the people living in the northern half of the earth, this astronomical event will also mark the darkest as well as the shortest day of the year.
Simply speaking, one can say that the meaning of solstice changes depending…
To understand the difference between summer and winter solstices, we need to have a clear understanding of the word solstice. We know that earth revolves around sun in an elliptical orbit, but it also spins around its own axis. This is an imaginary line going right across the planet from North Pole to South Pole. Fortunately for our planet, this axis is not perpendicular but tilted about 23.5 degrees and it is this tilt that gives us seasons on earth. This tilt makes one half of earth receive more direct rays from sun than the other half which remains away from earth.
The axis, when it tilts towards the sun, it makes northern hemisphere receive more direct rays from the sun than southern hemisphere. This phenomenon occurs between June and September and thus this is the period when it is summer season in the northern hemisphere. Again, this axis tilts away from the sun between December and March which is why we have winter season in the northern hemisphere during this period. While it is summers in northern hemisphere as it receives more direct rays from the sun, it is winter in the southern hemisphere, and vice versa in winters.
Midsummer is a celebration of light and life, symbolized by the flame of a candle and the movement of water. A large glass bowl filled with an assortment of floating candles makes a wonderful point of focus for ritual. Choose bright yellow sunflowers, white lilies, and red tulip-shaped candles. Have each person participating in the ritual inscribe his or her desire, with a pin, on a candle. Have each person come forward, place his or her candle in the bowl and light it as he makes his wish. Following the ritual, the bowl is placed outdoors, and the candles are left to burn out.
One of the most popular symbols of Midsummer is the Sun Wheel, the turning of which suggests the turning, or progression, of the seasons. The Wheel is decorated with flowers, fresh herbs, and brightly colored ribbons.
The simplest method for making a Sun Wheel is to buy an already-prepared natural-branch wreath from an arts and crafts store. Affix small branches of rowan to form the spokes of the wheel (four spokes to represent the elements and cross-quarter days or eight to symbolize the eight Wiccan Sabbats). Use floral wire to attach fresh flowers and herbs to the wreath. Embellish with brightly colored ribbons. The wheel can be used as the focal point for your Midsummer rites or hung on the front door of your home for decoration.
This song is short but sweet.