The Basic Astronomy Behind Summer Solstice
Depending on the year and local time zone, Summer Solstice varies based on when the sun reaches its northernmost point from the equator. Due to this, the June solstice can land between June 20 and June 22, but when it happens, it does so simultaneously at the exact same moment everywhere on Earth.
For twenty-four hours, the sun is at it's highest point in the sky making it the longest day of the year, but the shortest night for 88% of the people in the Northern Hemisphere. In other words, the North Pole tilts towards the sun leading to much more sunlight for anyone North of the equator. Astronomically, the summer solstice is considered the onset of summer, (though metereologically it is June 1st) for the Northern Hemisphere and the start of winter in the South Hemisphere.
Summer solstice comes from the Latin word "solstitium" meaning `sun standing still` and referred to as "Litha" in Germanic. It is the time of the year where we look back on the past 6 months and we express gratitude for the gifts of harvest; be it in our lives or literally from crops.
As the midpoint of the year, it awakens us to what our goals are for the following 6 months; almost serving as a moment of enlightenment and high awareness.
Though there are lots of different worldwide celebrations in honor of the summer solstice, the most popular is Stonehenge; located in Wiltshire, England.
Many make a special trip to the prehistoric mysterious monument to not only celebrate but in the hopes of resetting and starting anew.
Time for Your Energetic Shift
The sun & moon team up this year. The moon during the Summer Solstice will be the first quarter phase which is the midpoint phase of the lunar cycle and appropriately correlates with the midpoint of the year. This lunar phase is associated with making decisions and taking charge. Though you don't need to necessarily do or follow any rituals for the Summer Solstice, it would be beneficial to use this time to pause and refocus on your goals. Here are some ideas to help you look within yourself as you celebrate and encourage forward movement in your life.
Summer Solstice Ideas:
Any bright colored foods such as eggs, bananas, lemons, oranges, peaches, apricots, honey, mangos, papayas, etc are a great way to visually and physically nourish yourself with a taste of summer; though anything fresh and in season such as strawberries, blueberries, avocados, raspberries, lavender, chamomile, elderflower, thyme, cilantro is also great.
Teas, Drinks and Floral Ice Cubes
Many of the above ingredients can be used to infuse many drinks (i.e.lemonades, Sangria) and teas (i.e. chamomile tea, lavender tea, lemon tea). To switch it up, with edible flowers or fruit you can make beautiful, fun floral or fruit ice cubes to enjoy any drink. Fill a large cube ice tray a quarter of the way with water, at flowers facing down or fruit, and freeze. Fill to the top, and freeze again.
A great family activity or a fun thing to do for bridal showers, baby showers or a summer soiree! Incorporating this beautiful old Swedish tradition of the solstice makes for a pretty party favor and lasting memories. Ferns and flowers such as daisies and honeysuckle.
Also incorporating pretty seasonal flowers, mandalas are spiritual symbols meaning "circle" in Sanskrit. Growing in popularity because of their easy DIY capability, they have been made and shared on many social media. They are used for meditation and can be made out of anything, but flowers and petals are becoming more common. I personally think they are so stunning.
Take some time to be out in the sun either at the beach, by a lake, gardening, outdoor yoga, etc. or think outside the box by walking a labyrinth to soak up some rays while meditating.
Wearing precious gemstones and crystals like lapis lazuli, tiger's eye, diamond, emerald, topaz, and citrine can help you channel summer vibes. You can also wear fiery colors such as gold, yellows, oranges, and reds or cool, but summer colors such as bright blue or pinks.
Meditation and prayer serve as an introspective form to celebrate the summer solstice. Focus and express gratitude for the beautiful and positive times of the past half a year and look forward to all the new ones, aromatherapy, candles or essential oils helps you stay centered. Making a list will also help envision objectives.
Fire It Up
Since summer's element is fire, enjoy late night bonfires if it gets cool or listens to the crackling of a fireplace in a meditation app or online. Meditating on your solar plexus chakra would also be a great way to approach this new season since it will help fire you up to face and achieve the goals for the upcoming months.
Happy Summer Solstice!
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