Ways to celebrate the June solstice – whether it’s your midsummer or midwinter
June 21st is the annual June solstice. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, this will be the longest day and shortest night of the year; if you’re in the southern hemisphere, it will be your shortest day and longest night. Midsummer and midwinter respectively. The symbolism of midwinter and midsummer are very different, but there are some core solstice energies which hold true wherever you are in the world – and it’s these recurring themes, of change, light and intentions, that we can share together.
What is the Solstice?
Every year, there are two solstices, one in June and one in December. These are the moments when the Sun reaches its highest point in its daily path across the sky (as we see it), or its lowest, depending where on earth you are.
During a summer solstice, we receive the maximum hours of daylight for that year – that’s why we call it the longest day and the shortest night. A winter solstice gives us the shortest daylight hours and the longest night of the year.
So, on June 21st in the northern hemisphere, we will see maximum daylight for the year – and thereafter, the days will start to shorten. The September equinox will see roughly equal hours of daylight and night. Then the December solstice brings us our shortest day, and then the daylight grows again through the March equinox until we complete the cycle with the next June solstice. In the southern hemisphere, this cycle is reversed.
Energies of the Summer June Solstice
If you’re in the northern hemisphere, about to celebrate midsummer, you’ll understand that the spiritual symbology of the summer solstice is about light – not surprisingly, but it’s also about patience and about nurturing.
At this moment of maximum sunlight in the northern hemisphere, you still have to wait for your crops to ripen. You know something good is coming, but it’s not here yet. You must continue to take care of the things which are currently ripening, before you can reap the rewards.
This point of maximum sunlight also encourages us to find ways to express our own divine light. It’s a creative moment, a time for letting your light shine as brightly as it possibly can.
From this point on, in the annual calendar in the northern hemisphere, darkness is coming. There won’t be as much daylight again this calendar year. So, there’s also a sense of urgency, too. Motivation is often at an all time high, but it can be difficult not to act in haste.
5 Ways to Celebrate the June Summer Solstice
1 – The single best way to honour the energies of the summer solstice is to get outdoors and to feel the sun – no matter what the weather is like. Make a point of feeling the sun on your skin; if it’s overcast or raining, wait for a break in the clouds. Remember, sunlight is filtering through during daylight hours even if you can’t see the sun – if it wasn’t, it would be dark.
2 – Get creative on the theme of the sun and light – this is the perfect excuse for some large-scale artwork in the yard, or for letting your inner kid run riot with the paintbox.
3 – Find a way to express your divine light by helping others, being a source of support, passing on joy or being a friend to someone in need.
4 – Practice patience by setting out a step by step route map towards a cherished goal, understanding that you cannot get there all at once.
5 – Light a campfire or a bonfire if you can do so safely and responsibly. It’s fantastic energy for a BBQ too, not least because the power of fire is cooking your food! Around the fire, and inspired by its dance, share your aspirations for the coming six months; what do you hope to achieve before the light fades completely? Commit to holding one another accountable.
Energies of the Winter June Solstice
If you’re in the southern hemisphere, the upcoming winter solstice is a point of celebration. Because it marks the shortest night of the year, we know that the worst is over. From here, slowly but surely, light and warmth will return. It’s time to make plans and set intentions for the year ahead.
The symbology of the winter solstice is also about regeneration. Usually, the coldest winter weather is yet to come, but we know that beneath the frozen ground, seeds are safely biding their time, ready to burst into life.
So, the winter solstice teaches us that no matter how dark life gets, light will always return. And that while it’s dark, we can go within for comfort, reflecting and growing ourselves.
5 Ways to Celebrate the June Winter Solstice
1 – Wait for the sun to go down, turn off all of the lights and sit in the darkness. If you are or can go somewhere with dark skies, so much the better. Embrace all you can of the darkness, because from this point it will start to fade, and you will miss its embrace. When you have drunk your fill of the darkness, light candles to signify the return of the light. Repeat affirmations as you do so or say a personal prayer.
2 – If it’s safe to do so, set up a fire, in a fireplace or somewhere responsible outdoors. The winter solstice is a great time to commit to letting go of bad habits and negative behaviour patterns – so write down some personal habits or behaviours you would like to be free from. Write them on small pieces of paper and put them one at a time in the fire, committing yourself to positive action as you watch them burn.
3 – Renew your vows to your life partner – or make some. Or renew your promise to someone. You’ve come through the worst, symbolically, so now is a good time to re-affirm the commitments you have chosen to make to another living soul.
4 – Go on a winter walk and respectfully gather greenery, pine cones and winter foliage. Never take more than a sample and always ask nature’s permission first. When you get home, arrange your finds on a small table or shelf, and use these as a focus for a solstice meditation. Give thanks for nature’s abundance even during this harshest time of the year.
5 – Gather painting or colouring materials of any kind, plus paper or other art materials, and arrange to watch the sunset or the sunrise. Sketch, paint or draw both the beautiful colours as the light arrives or fades, and the way it makes you feel. Something significant is shifting in earth’s energies, and spontaneously capturing this in art is a magical way to celebrate.
However you choose to mark the solstice, and whether it’s winter or summer where you are, reflecting on the symbology of the solstice can bring insight into your life’s journey through the year.
Have a blessed solstice!