Before modern technology made it possible to illuminate darkness in the middle of winter and ship produce around the world throughout the year, our ancestors lived in close alignment with the cyclical nature of the seasons. Many around the world held rituals and celebrations for the various phases of these cycles.
Today, more and more people are yearning to live closer to nature once again and to celebrate the earth’s rhythms. As we move through summer solstice 2022, there are ways that we can mindfully celebrate the wonder of this time of year.
On this journey of uncovering mindful ways to celebrate the summer solstice, we will explore the following topics and questions:
What is the Summer Solstice?
Both the Winter and the Summer Solstices are expressions of love. They show us the opposition of light and dark, expansion and contraction, that characterize our experiences in the Earth school so that we can recognize our options as we move through our lives.
- Gary Zukav -
The summer solstice marks the first day of summer and is the time of year when the sun is furthest away from the equator. In the Northern Hemisphere, summer solstice 2022 lands on Tuesday, June 21st. Depending on what’s happening in the sky, the summer solstice tends to shift between June 20th, 21st, and 22nd. Since the sun is the furthest away from the equator on this day, it makes the summer solstice the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
It is worth noting that the summer solstice occurs in December in the Southern Hemisphere. When the Northern Hemisphere celebrates the longest day of the year, the Southern Hemisphere experiences the shortest as it is in the midst of winter – and vice versa.
It is said that recognition of the summer solstice may have originally been related to timing crop cycles in the Northern and Central European Neolithic cultures. Ancient cultures around the world celebrated this time of year in a variety of ways, such as by lighting bonfires, celebrating the earth and feminine forces, and paying tribute to gods and goddesses.
There are still celebrations and rituals for summer solstice today. For example, in Stonehenge, England, many gather to watch the sunrise. Solstice bonfires light up in Austria and the Midnight Sun Festival honors the sun in Fairbanks, Alaska. These are just a few of the many places where this celestial event is honored and celebrated.
What Does the Summer Solstice Have to Teach Us?
And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald -
Many wonder about the summer solstice meaning. Why is it important? Why celebrate the summer solstice? What does this time of year have to teach us? When we become more mindful of the natural rhythms of the world, we begin to recognize that every phase offers us something special.
Some of the teachings and opportunities of the summer solstice include:
Rituals for summer solstice are often rooted in many of the above. When we celebrate the summer solstice, we are called to recognize the gifts and teachings of this time of year. Bringing mindfulness to these celebrations and to this unique day can deepen our sense of gratitude, meaning, and connection.
6 Mindful Ways to Celebrate the Summer Solstice
If you are looking to create or experience rituals for summer solstice, there are a number of ways you can start celebrating this time of year. Consider the following five practices to honor summer solstice 2022.
1. Meditate with the Rising Sun
Begin your day early, seated in the direction of the rising sun. Close your eyes and feel the expanding light against your skin and closed eyes. Cultivate gratitude for the sun and close your practice by reflecting on the gifts it brings.
2. Intention Setting
Another practice to ring in the summer solstice is to set intentions – either for the day or for the year ahead. Many see the summer solstice as a time ripe for new beginnings, so this could be a prime time to get clear on what you’d like to focus on in the year ahead. Write down your intentions in a journal.
3. Gratitude Journaling
Another written practice to consider is gratitude journaling. Reflect on what this time of year means to you. What gifts does it bring? Why are you grateful for the sun? What are the benefits of light? Take your time with this, exploring all that you come up with.
4. Reflect on Life’s Impermanence
As with any other seasonal celebration, the summer solstice reminds us that life is always in flow; that things are impermanent. Though this time celebrates the longest day of the year, every day for the next half year will get shorter and shorter. This does not have to sadden us; rather, it can help us to embrace this moment with joy and gratitude.
5. Meditate in Nature
One of the most beautiful things of this time of year is the new life that blossoms from the earth. You might choose to celebrate the summer solstice by finding a safe and comfortable place in nature and mindfully tuning into your sensory experience. Notice what you can feel, see, hear, and smell. Tune in with curiosity and close with gratitude.
6. Practice Mindful Eating
Last but not least, we can celebrate the harvest of this time of year by honoring our food and eating mindfully. What is it like to slowly and mindfully bite into a fresh strawberry or piece of rhubarb pie? Can you eat with appreciation for all that provided you with this food? Consider saying a word of thanks before you begin each meal.
A Guided Meditation for the Summer Solstice
For extra guidance on how to mindfully honor this time of year, move through the following instructions for a summer solstice guided meditation. You might wish to have a journal with you to jot down any reflections or insights after the practice.