Each year on Summer Solstice the Sun travels the longest path in the sky making it the longest day of the year. People all over the world for centuries have celebrated the Solstice with ancient traditions and festivals. Living in rhythm with nature - one does not need to identify by a certain religion to acknowledge this significant time in our lives.
As I grow into my late twenties I find myself becoming more in tune with me. With this comes a deeper connection with time. Lately, how I spend time with my thoughts is becoming more valuable. I find myself reflecting on what makes me happy and why. What have I been ignoring about myself? Is what I am doing now going to benefit me tomorrow?This isn't encompassing my day. I just try and have more "me time" inside my head while I'm puttering around doing dishes, driving, watering plants - you know?
The more layers I peel and as I journey on this herbal path, the more I yearn to know of the life my ancestors knew. With each plant I connect with - the closer I feel to them. My ancestors stories are all around me, I just have to listen to the plants. I'm learning quickly I find joy in celebrating these natural markings of time.
Living in relationship with nature the Celts used "natural time" to determine the seasons. With the Sun being at it's highest power on the longest day, the Summer Solstice was 1/8 sacred days to celebrate. In Ireland the Grange Stone Circle built in 2200 BC aligns with the rising solstice sun. The Celts celebrated Summer Solstice with bonfires, music and feasts. Calling on the Sun Goddess to chase away darkness and create an abundant harvest.
In Ancient Egypt the Summer Solstice marked the new year which also tied with the yearly flooding of the Nile. The flood returned life to the soils and was a significant event in the life of an Ancient Egyptian. The Great Pyramids are designed to align with the Solstice. When standing at the Sphinx on the summer solstice, the sun sets exactly between two of the Great Pyramids.
Around the world there are ancient architectural structures that align with the Summer Solstice sun. It is somewhat mysterious as to the exact reason why some were constructed. Though its undeniable the connection people in history have had with the Earth's rhythms.
Solstice Rituals for Plant Lovers
Herbs have an affinity for Summer Solstice traditions, there is much lore & magic surrounding them. In old European culture it was believed some plants are at their medicinal peak when harvested on the Solstice. Their companionship can offer protection, purification and spiritual guidance.
Plants to Connect With
St. John's Wort, Hypericum perforatum
Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris
Yarrow, Achillea millefolium
Rose, Rosa spp.
Daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare
Mint, Mentha spp.
1. Make Medicine
Infuse a Solstice tincture, oil, tea, vinegar or plant essence. Steep yourself a summer tea. Bundle herbs to dry for smoke medicine. Harvest herbs to dry for your apothecary. Capture the joy & strength of the Summer Solstice sun.
2. Gather a Solstice Bouquet for your Home
Spend time in nature and meanwhile gather a solstice bouquet. Place your bouquet somewhere in your home that you will see it often. For me that is my bedside table, bathroom counter, kitchen window and living room shelf. When your bouquet has dried up you can hang it in a sacred space or return it to the Earth. It is quite satisfying having flowers around.
3. Have a Fire
Honour the powerful Solstice Sun with a fire. If you can't have a fire light a candle. You could spend this time solo or with loved ones. Bring instruments, dance, tell stories, dream up summer adventures.
4. Go for a Swim
Have a swimming hole nearby? Now's the time for a dip! Naked solstice dips can be extra liberating ;)
While herbal baths are a great way to celebrate nature's rhythms - a swim in a natural body of water can be equally as soul filling.
5. Sit with a Plant
Take some time to yourself among the plants. Grab your journal, a book or some snacks and ground yourself. Reflect on the Spring, set intentions for Summer. Don't worry about your to do list. The day is about reveling in the power of Nature - and with extra daylight you have the time to do so!