This year the summer solstice takes place on June 21, 2011 at 1:16 EDT.
Here’s a quick lesson from Ian at Discovery News
The Summer Solstice …is a precise moment in time.
The summer solstice for the Northern Hemisphere is the exact moment when the axial tilt of the Earth is at its most inclined toward the sun during its 365 day orbit — at an angle of 23° 26′. That doesn’t happen at midday, it doesn’t happen at midnight, it happens at the exact same time for every country on the planet. This is a global time event, the solstice happens at the same moment.
It’s a simple, natural phenomena that happens every year and has been celebrated by many cultures in a variety of ways. It’s original meaning has also been adapted by other cultures and religions who suit it to their purposes.
From what I’ve researched the celebrating the summer solstice centers on a few key ideas.
PLANTS/HERBS –It is believed that some mid-summer plants & herbs have miraculous healing powers. Examples of such are basil, rosemary, sage, thyme & lavender.
FIRE – It is believed that lighting fires would provide protection against unwanted spirits.
SPIRIT – It is believed that those in-tuned with divinity would use this time to commune with other powerful beings.
I have been focusing on developing my own rituals and traditions. A lot of them focus on spirituality, nature and self reflection from meditation, worship, action and writing as it relates to the cycles of the moon, the equinoxes & solstices and more. Even the way I prepare my tea is its on special ritual. While my practice evolves and alters, I am enjoying to documentation of it. The summer solstice gives me yet another reason to celebrate.
[Photo Credit: Me]
Just last night, I held a dinner party with a group of friends in which one of the main ingredients was basil. We also practiced breathing & meditative techniques through the used of a hookah. Who knew strawberry lemonade shisha could be so tasty? What a wonderful summer treat!
We lit candles all around my apartment. It took me awhile, deep into the night before I realized I hadn’t even turned on the lamp in my living room. We saw each other through the candle lit. Aromatic oils and wonderful incense were burned and filled the room. Scents such as tobacco flower, rosewood and sandalwood filled the air!
As a group we spoke of many things, a lot centered on religion and spirituality in addition to art and creativity. Considering the divine friends who communed in my home without a doubt, the spirit was there.
Sheena’s Ritualistic Approach to the Summer
- Incense and Oil Burning. I love doing this. Depending of the day or reason I’ll switch up the scent. Scents that seem perfect for this time of year are lavender, rosemary, sage, sandalwood and many more. Although the four listed are among my favorite.
- Adorning the Home. Its great to refresh, purge, clean and change the overall feel of your home throughout the year. I most definitely will use this time to incorporate natural, season elements into my decor. Herbs. Sticks & Branches. Flowers. Violets, Sunflowers and Roses are great for this time of year.
- Body Language. During the winter I was specific about my body. To counter the desire to just hibernate, I kept busy. I was intentional about what I ate and how I spent my time. It was the first time in years I didn’t encounter any winter blues. With the summer, I want to focus on continuing that intentional approach to existence.
- Candle Lighting. I light candles for Maura, James, Tinu and my Grandma. (see side tags to read about them each) I light candles for peace and meditation. I light candles as a soothing remedy to the harsh lights everywhere else. And for this, I will light a candle too.
- Verbiage & the Written Word. The seasons usually affect the tone of my writings and how my art manifest itself and I will intuitively take note and make mention of how this happens.
- Solstice Affirmation. I will develop a summer solstice affirmation. This will articulate itself in my journal. This will be something I reference when the heat and mosquitoes makes me impatient and ungrateful.
- Summer Altar. I already have specific places in my home for this but I want to “summer solsticize” them. This means I’ll incorporate my natural elements decor. I’ll print out my summer solstice affirmation and place it there. I’ll light my candle there.
- Mindful Wandering. I will continue to spend time researching and learning about summer winter festivals, customs, rituals, traditions and myths.
- REMEMBRANCE. The summer solstice is in close relation to the timing of Maura’s birthday and James’ death. It’s important that acknowledging that remains a part of my summer solstice celebrations, reflections and rituals.
In addition to the subtle rituals found in my dinner party last night and the intentional rituals I will do on my own listed above, there are a few other things of note. Tonight is Week Seven of Level Four of my Sheila Kelley S Factor classes. It is what we call pole week where we focus on many of the flying lessons we have been taught, including inversions, twirls and spins. It’s where we push ourselves, test our strength and just let it all go. There are many nights when holidays and celebrations fall on my dance nights. I think its diving and intentional.
This weekend I am also hosting a Summer Solstice picnic, similar to my Spring Equinox brunch. I find that to be just a delightful. Another gathering of wonderful beings to commune together and be intentional about presence.
IF I HAD TO CHOOSE A RELIGION, THE SUN AS THE UNIVERSAL GIVER OF LIFE WOULD BE MY GOD. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte.
NO MATTER HOW DARK THE NIGHT, SOMEHOW THE SUN RISES ONCE AGAIN AND ALL SHADOWS ARE CHASED AWAY ! ~ David Matthew
SLY POST’S of NOTE
Winter Solstice ~ Darkness Has It’s Uses