The Summer Solstice arrives on Saturday 20th June 2020. For those of us who have a connection to nature, what does it mean and how can we make the most of it?
What is it?
The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year.
It's the closest the Earth will ever be to the sun for those in the Northern Hemisphere.
It's also a global moment (though it's Winter Solstice for those on the opposite side of the planet to me); a physical moment of unity for everyone on the planet. This is the perfect time for us to remember that we are all connected by being here together in time and space. You can find out the exact time of Solstice where you are here. It will be 10.43pm here for us in the UK but whatever time is it for others around the world it is happening at the same moment in time for all of us.
It is the peak moment that the Earth has been moving towards since the Winter solstice - a bittersweet moment to celebrate the achievement of the climb towards the light before we begin the steady descent back into the dark.
Symbolism & meaning
The solstice has been celebrated since ancient times and there's much folklore and tradition surrounding it. My approach to these things is very much about taking whatever meanings feel relevant to you in this moment and celebrating in your own way. Your relationship to the natural world is unique or personal. Here are some solstice themes that you might be drawn to:
Fire and Light
This is the focus of the summer solstice for the obvious reason that it is the moment we are closest to the sun (aka a big ball of fire). As we know the sun gives energy and life to living things including ourselves so it is very much an acknowledgement and gratitude moment for this. You could celebrate by doing some 'sun salutations' (a yoga flow), sun bathing (wear sunscreen!), have a bonfire, go for a nature walk (join me at my Mindful Nature Walk!), light candles or do some arts and crafts around the theme of the sun.
There's also a metaphor here for our inner fire - this could be a great moment to reflect on what lights the fire in your belly (see journal prompts below).
Being closer to the sun also means more light in our lives - which can be both literally and figuratively. This can be a time to focus on the positive and joyful (whilst not dismissing the difficult) because what we give our energy to tends to flourish. If you've been holding onto negativity now might be the ideal time to let that go and to let the light in.
New Season - balancing rest and play
The solstice marks the first day of summer - a new season of growth, coming into bloom and light filled days (hopefully!). It's traditionally a high energy time, which is great to embrace as long as we balance that out with rest. Ideally there will be time to bask in the sun, take a holiday or take on a more 'Mediterranean' pace of life.
A change of season is often a good time to have a little 'refresh' of your mind - set some new intentions and mark the start of a new chapter.
Growth & patience
Summer is when flowers come into bloom and fruits begin to ripen - this is beautiful and exciting to bear witness to and a joyful part of our nature connection practice.
There's wisdom for us here too - when we are growing and coming into bloom we must recognise that this is a process. "Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished" - Lao Tzu.
Our best theory about Stonehenge is that the stones were placed that way to align with the rising and setting of the sun on this special day - a literal monument to human being's connection with the natural world.
As well as planetary and earth/star alignment this could be interpreted as a time for you to come into alignment with yourself. What does that mean? Essentially it's about practicing what you preach, living your values and being your true self.
Click to open a PDF of solstice themed journal prompts