Can you feel the excitement in the air? The days are hot and sunny, and summer officially begins this week on June 21st. It’s the longest day and the shortest night in the Northern hemisphere. I love this day. In the South of France it’s celebrated by jumping over bonfires as a way to gain courage and embrace the power of light and fire. That tradition dates back to pagan times, long before the Catholic church arrived to taint it with negative views about the appreciation of nature and the power of the five elements.
There’s a whole history of rituals related to this day and ways to honor and capture some of the magic of this mystical portal into summer. For centuries people have gathered at Stonehenge to welcome the season. Author Deborah Blake who writes on magic and rituals says, “The earth is at its most fertile and life is bursting out all over.” She advises that this is the best time for magical work “for abundance, fertility, and any kind of growth.”
I love it both as a time that presents an opportunity to burn away the old habits and baggage that no longer serve. And at the same time it’s a moment where the whole world feels alive with the vibrant, radiant energy of sunlight. It feels like a time of great possibility and a moment to enjoy life to its fullest. In France the day often coincides with the “Fete de la Musique”, a country-wide music day where you’ll find people playing harps on street corners, rock bands pound out a rhythm from pubs, and orchestras spontaneously set up in open squares to play under the rising moon.
How will you spend the solstice? Make a plan to turn it into a special day. Go to the beach for a picnic with your beau. Maybe create your own mini-bonfire in a jar and burn away obstacles or jump over it. Dance with girlfriends under the moon in a grove of trees. Paint or write on a project that your heart yearns for you to create. Kiss a loved one. Plant a tree. Join me at Esalen Institute June 21st-23rd for a magical writing retreat. Play! Happy summer.
* * *
Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery” (Llewellyn Worldwide, May 2013). A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at http://www.awakeintheworld.com.