Lucky me, I was awake at 5:13 a.m. this morning when the summer solstice started in the eastern time zone in the Northern hemisphere. At that moment, the earth arrived at the point in its orbit where the North Pole is at its maximum tilt toward the Sun. The result is the longest day—and shortest night—of the calendar year.
It certainly was a short night, since sleep was elusive and sporadic, and 5:13 arrived awfully early. So I can see it’s destined to be a long day. I’d better make the best of it and perform some of those cleansing and spiritual summer solstice rituals. And to think I just finished a full day commemorating Juneteenth. The celebrations never end.
This morning, I’m going to meditate for one hour while facing the sun, which might be challenging since the sky is overcast, with rain forecast for later. Still, I have a general idea of where the sun is. I’m also going to follow a tradition from India, the birthplace of the ancient practice of yoga, and celebrate with a long yoga session. After that, aspirin and an ice bag.
This afternoon, I will burn dried herbs and lay offerings at the altar I constructed in my yard (it’s a couple of flat rocks piled on top of each other). Because the summer solstice is also associated with fertility rituals, I will whittle a magic wand from a maple branch and cast fertility spells in honor of those trying to conceive. Also, I will chant to encourage the crops to grow. On my farm, I have raspberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and more herbs than I could ever use (which is why I could afford to burn some at the altar). I will also plant a tree today—a clump river birch.
Tonight, of course, I will light the traditional bonfire. I will get naked and dance around it and jump over the flames and worship all of the sun gods. There’s Helios from Greek mythology and Sol from Roman mythology. The sun god Surya from Hindu traditions. Amaterasu, the sun goddess in the Shinto religion of Japan. Lugh from Celtic traditions. Dozens of others. I’ve got a lot of worshipping to do.
On top of all these plans, it’s a regular Tuesday which means work, writing, chores, etc. So much to do. I’d better get started. Thankfully, it’s the longest day of the year so I’ll have extra time to get everything done.
Enjoy the summer solstice, everyone!