Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice

The Gift Of Rebirth...

"Sunshine, daydream, walking in the tall trees, going where the wind goes
Blooming like a red rose, breathing more freely,
Ride our singin', I'll walk you in the morning sunshine.
Sunshine, daydream. Sunshine, daydream. Walking in the sunshine."
 ~ Sugar Magnolia, The Grateful Dead

What Is The Summer Solstice?

Today is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year and the shortest night of the year.  Today the sun shines its healing light upon us for the longest amount of time all year.   It is also a time to acknowledge the Earth's seasonal rhythms.

It is summer and  we feel, lighter, brighter and more uplifted.  We are freer.  It is vacation season, which finds us breaking free from the routine of work and school.  We spend time exploring our surroundings, spending time with nature, family and friends.  It is warmer and the heavy protective clothing from winter and spring are shed for shorts, t shirts and swimsuits.  This leads to our  feeling physically lighter and mentally lighter.

As summer progresses it will become hotter.  Soon we will find ourselves slowing down from the heat as well as the change in routine.  Even business slows in July due to all of the vacation time.  Conversely, this is a busy time of year for gardeners and farmers.  The gardens and crops have settled in and are in full bloom, with the promise of a fruitful harvest.  At this time of year, there is much work to be done, weeding and nurturing the gardens and fields to ensure that there will be plenty of food during the winter months.
I found a wonderful article about the Summer Solstice written by Dr. Carla Goddard from Sacred Soul Shaman.  Summer Solstice - A Message From The Elders Whispering In The Winds delves deeper into the shift of energy that occurs this time of year and how it can be harnessed for personal growth.

Ritual And Celebration

People all over the world celebrate the Summer Solstice.  The celebrations are as diverse and varied as the religious and spiritual beliefs that convey them.  Ranging from gatherings with family and friends to rituals  and rites of passage that have been practiced for generations, the Summer Solstice is a time of celebration and rebirth.

In the United Kingdom, thousands of people flock to Stonehenge on the Summer Solstice as the stones line up with the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.  The crowd consists of an eclectic group of pagans, hippies and druids, who practice a variety of pagan rituals.  The crowd also has social butterflies who want someplace fun to stay up all night, but that doesn't seem to bother the pagans. (The video to the right is from the 2010 Solstice.  Though there are already videos up from this morning's, I felt this was a better news story.)

The  Native American Sundance goes on all month.  It is not for the faint hearted, as it involves piercing the skin and being bound to an object via the piercings.  Once bound, the sundancer dances until either the piercing breaks or the object breaks.  This is to symbolize rebirth and letting go of the old self; no longer being bound to what doesn't serve us.  I am not going to post video of this here, but you can click here to see a beautiful video about a Sundancer.   Be forewarned ~ it is quite graphic, but it also makes it quite clear it's an ancient tradition, by sharing photos and pictures of Sundances through time. I am beginning to understand why so many of the people I knew, who really practiced the old traditions, were very quiet about it.  Many of their rites of passage include extreme physical endurance.  I get it, but that doesn't mean everyone does ; )

We are celebrating the longest day of the year and as Wiccans acknowledge, we are now on the other side and the days will be getting shorter.  It is important in their rituals to acknowledge the balance in all things, hence the need for rebirth.  Though it is time to slow down, center ourselves and heal, it is also time to start thinking about getting ready for the colder months.

Your Own Rebirth Ritual

If your spirit wants to participate in ritual to celebrate the Summer Solstice, I found a great one in a post from the Rag Blog,  Summer Solstice Is Festival Of Light And Energy. Like the Sundance, it assists in our spiritual rebirth.  We are guided to let go of what no longer serves our spiritual growth, but it's not as physically and emotionally demanding as the Sundance ; )

How I Celebrate The Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice usually finds me slowing down,  reconnecting with nature and consciously seeking out activities which will raise my spirit.  I spend time with myself, listening to music, enjoying the sun (even if it's cloudy) and pretty much take in the fact (without being pessimistic) that the days will now be getting shorter.  For me it's almost like a turnstile moving from one part of the year to the next.  Acknowledging that there is till time to change the course of my year and consequently my life.

My profile may say I'm from the Universe, but I'm sure it's been pretty easy to figure out that I'm in the United States.  Summer in The States means lots of outdoor music.  Even though I'm not a Dead Head, I always want to hear the Grateful Dead in the summer.  They are a remnant from the freest summer of modern history, The Summer of Love in 1967.  For years they carried the torch from this time of spiritual evolution/revolution.   

I prefer going to outdoor concerts in the summer and prefer sitting on the lawn.  When there is good weather I take off my shoes, dig my toes into the grass and dance the night away. I chose to share, Sugar Magnolia,  because the lyrics remind me of summer too.  Combined with a live audience and the acoustics one can only get from listening to music outside, for me, this version is the essence of summer time and the Grateful Dead.  When they're good they're amazing and when they're bad they're horrid! But still a great way to celebrate the Summer Solstice ;~D


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