The summer solstice is approaching and so I wanted to share with you some practices that can be done to mark the high point of the solar year and celebrate our longest day here in the Northern Hemisphere. Traditionally this day has been celebrated in a spirit of joyfulness and in recognition of the fertility and abundance of the earth and though the solstice is not a recognized holiday for most of us, I have always found that the practice of sacred timekeeping, or of honouring the passage of time with simple ritual, deepens my connection to the natural world and offers me insight into my own changing experience.
I believe that most of us crave a deeper connection to the natural world and are missing a quality of ritual in our lives- and yet we may be uncomfortable in initiating ritual if we think it means we must be overtly spiritual or religious in our expression of it. Or perhaps we don’t initiate ritual due to the fact that many of us have not grown up being exposed to rituals that are grounded in daily life and so we don’t know where to start. Personally, I believe that anything can become a ritual act if it is done with intention and a heartfelt sense of meaning- and it needn’t be serious or heavy in nature either! And so with that in mind here are some of my favourite ways for honouring the Summer Solstice and this time of bright beauty.
This is the season to enjoy physical movement and celebrate embodiment in playful and joy filled ways. Do this by practicing yoga in a playful or expressive way, swimming in fresh water, walking in the sunshine, working in the garden, or bathing in the moonlight. Make love, take a bath filled with scented oils, or get a massage. Revel in your physicality and delight in the earthy pleasure of the summer season.
Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of earthly abundance, beauty, and delight. She is the earth mother who makes life worth living and offers us our experiences of sensual pleasure, appreciation, and fulfillment. Some of the ways I like to honour her presence in my life for the summer solstice are to fill the house with flowers, to clean up my altar space, to freshen up the house, and to pause and give thanks for all the simple blessings of my current life experience. You might also go to a Farmer’s Market and take in the beauty of all the seasonal abundance, choose a few things to bring home and make a seasonal meal that is full of colour and flavour. Savour this meal with full attention and honour the presence of Maha Lakshmi in your life.
A more contemplative practice can be to take some time with your journal and reflect on all that has happened since last summer. Recognize and celebrate all that has come to fullness, all cycles of completion or manifestation. Honour the abundance of your current experience as well as the inherent creativity of your life.
Enjoy Community Connection
Traditionally the solstice would be celebrated in community with music and song, ritual and play that went long into the night. This is a special time to gather with friends to share in food and conversation, and talk long into the summer evening. Or you may gather with your yoga community for practice in a lighthearted and supportive way. Where the winter solstice takes us into ourselves with an honouring of the nourishing qualities of darkness, the summer solstice is an expressive time for celebrating our interconnectedness and our appreciation for the world that surrounds us.
I hope these suggestions give you and idea of how you might want to mark the passing of time this season by creating your own summer solstice rituals and practices.
Make Earth Medicines for Self Care
I love making homemade self care products to nourish my health and well being. Here is a lovely recipe for a summertime milk bath that is cooling and calming and could be made on the solstice. Make a big batch for yourself and delight in the smells of the oils as you make it, then treat yourself to a tub, or package it up to give to friends.
Cooling Summer Milk Bath Ingredients:
- 2 cups powdered milk
- 1 cup epsom salts
- 1 box baking soda
- 23 drops lavender essential oil
- 16 drops lemon balm oil
- 10 drops chamomile essential oil
- 9 drops peppermint oil
- 1/2 cup lavender blossoms (optional)
Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl, using a fork to break up and clumps and blend oils. Store in a glass jar and add a cup of this cooling blend your bath whenever you need to relax deeply and soothe your summer skin.
As you can see all of these rituals are simple and accessible. I hope that one or two of them will capture your imagination and support you in tapping into the abundance and beauty of this season.