In the northern hemisphere we approach the celebration of the summer solstice, the longest day.
The seasons are connected to the different cardinal directions, as well as the four elements. Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th century Benedictine Abbess, allied the direction of the south and the season of summer with the element of fire. We find a similar connection in the Native American Cherokee tradition and in the Irish Celtic tradition.
We might think of summer as the season of fire and stoking our passions. It is the season of coming to fullness connected to the Hour of noon and midday, when the sun reaches its peak in the sky. It is the time of fruitfulness, when blossom gives way to sweet abundance of berries and peaches, delicate lettuces and gorgeous tomatoes.
Spend some time in meditation on what your own passions are. What would you like to kindle? Where have been the sparks of joy in your life? What is coming to full fruitfulness? How might you welcome in your own growing fullness?
~Christine Valters Paintner
remember those long summer days as a kid?
inquiry for today~ spark a little kid magic into your solstice celebrations today…….light, care, and laughter…….
Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, the shortest night, and a tipping point: from here on out the days get shorter and the nights get longer. The solstice, sometimes called midsummer because by now farmers have long done their planting, is technically the first day of summer. It both ushers in the warmest season, and reminds that the season is short, slipping away day by day.
Celebration may be among a broader spectrum of people, such as the 35,000 who gathered at Stonehenge last year. BBC’s coverage of that event included an interview “with those who appreciate the solstice the most: ‘We believe it is very important for people to move with the cycles of nature, and actually feel them. If you get up early in the morning and you watch that special sunrise, you’ve been a part of it. The rest of the year is shaped by that. And we think it’s a really healthy thing to do, and a very spiritual thing to do.’” And clearly the large crowd shared at least some of this sentiment and journeyed to one of the world’s most renowned sacred spots to observe the sunrise. For those for whom this is a religious practice, there are variations on the rituals or traditions. Some will burn a Yule wreath in a bonfire; some will dance, drum, sing, and pray. The variations are endless — some rituals may be prescribed and ceremonial, while others will be more spontaneous: all are witnessing the turning of the wheel of the year. People attune themselves to the rhythms of the natural world and invite the seasons of waxing and waning, of birth, growth, death and renewal to reverberate more consciously in their lives.
Honoring the solstice can remind us just how precious each day and season is, because the truth of its passing away is also acknowledged. Gifts need to be appreciated, not taken for granted. Some will use their religious ritual to raise energy for healing, for re-aligning and redressing environmental wrongs, or for strengthening the sense of being part of nature, not set apart and individual, but interconnected in a larger whole, including the past, present and future. Such is the power of participating in the turning of the wheel of the year.