“Three Things Cannot be Long Hidden: The Sun, The Moon and The Truth.”
The term solstice refers to an astronomical event that occurs when the sun reaches either its highest or lowest point from earth, and it happens but twice per year. Today, June 20th, is the Summer Solstice for the northern hemisphere – the tilt of our beautiful planet’s semi-axis is at its most inclined point relative to the fiery and powerful star it orbits, our sun. The term solstice is derived from latin and literally translates to the “sun stands still”. Many ancient civilizations noted the solstice events, and honored them as holy and divine celebrations.
The Ancient Greeks viewed the Summer Solstice as the first day of the year, and honoured the agricultural god Cronus, the Ancient Romans paid tribute to the god of the hearth, Vesta and Ancient Chinese tribes practiced a tradition on the Summer Solstice, where couples would jump through flames as a means of predicting how high their crops would grow that year.
This morning when the sun rose over the Heel Stone of the ancient Stonehenge in England, it lined up perfectly with the centre of what is known as the Altar Stone. This ancient civilization created this master piece on the landscape using thousands of tonnes worth of stone, to create a a calendar of sorts that was so precise, however, their precision could only be tested but once every 365 days. I think we can all take this in as a very humbling lesson to remember when we are impatiently awaiting our double shot skim milk half sweet latte, warmed to precisely 65 degrees celsius at the local coffee shop, or when we feel like writing hate mail to the company over seas that that we are now waiting seven instead of five business days for the parcel containing our latest online shopping spree goods, that will eventually magically show up on our door step after we entered a few credit card numbers and hit “submit” on their website.
Today, the meaning of Summer Solstice has continued to evolve for many people. Perhaps you will paint your body in symbolic colours and dance around a fire or a tree, as some Native American tribes once did. Or, perhaps you are searching for a new way to pay tribute to this symbolic astronomical event as a way of finding a deeper connection to yourself and the many ancient civilizations before you. If this is the case, you picked a great year to start! This year, the Summer Solstice lands on the day of the week that is generally dreaded the most as ” the day AFTER the weekend”, “the day we have to go BACK to work” or “the day we are STILL recovering from our weekend fun”. There is absolutely no reason for the Monday blue’s this week! This years Summer Solstice for us Northern Hemisphere folk also aligns with another inspiring and powerful astronomical event – a full moon – these two events have not occurred simultaneously for almost five decades.
Ancient Pagan tradition celebrates Litha, a time to acknowledge the polarity between fire and water. Whatever your jam – Yin and Yang, sky and land, confidence vs. insecurities – I believe we are all seeking balance in some shape or form. The Summer Solstice may no longer be viewed as the first day of the year, but it is recognized as the first day of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere. I get goose bumps thinking about the “first day” of anything – there is just so much potential! Fresh starts, new beginnings, a time for reflection, a time for cleansing and a time for rejuvenation. Whatever your temple of a body needs, what better way to honour it than with the changing seasons.
This year I am celebrating the Summer Solstice by honouring my third major chakra – the Menipura, or the Solar Plexus chakra. Manipura is associated with our sense of self, and expressed through self-esteem, sense of purpose and personal identity, and is also where our ego resides. Manipura strongly relates to transformation – I believe a very powerful and appropriate term to be honouring during a solstice event.
There are many ways to tap into your third chakra, including meditation, nutrition and mirror work. Choose yellow, gold, or light green stones such as Amblygonite, Titanite or Serpentine to amplify your meditation practice. Yellow foods such as lemon, yellow peppers, spaghetti squash and bananas can help you tap into and heal your Manipura. Mirror work is a self-love practice coined by Louise Hay, in which you sit in front of a mirror and recite positive affirmations your yourself, while looking into your own eyes. This practice is incredibly appropriate during the Summer Solstice, especially if your solar plexus chakra is struggling with the aforementioned self-esteem or self worth attributes.
“I will not dance around the perimeter of the person I want to be. I will step in fully.”
We all have our own path, needs, wants and beliefs, and our methods of paying tribute to the sun today will probably look very different. But we also share in the fact that we all experience negativities, insecurities and moments of empowerment. I hope you can kick your ego in the butt today and find the balance you are seeking.
Happy Sun Day. Summer is here!