Olivia Harvey
June 21, 2019 12:23 pm
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Today, June 21st, is the official first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, also called the Summer Solstice. At 11:54 a.m. EST, the North Pole will be at its maximum tilt toward the sun within Earth’s orbit, thus causing the longest day and shortest night of the year. With the sun at its peak in the sky, this is the time to celebrate its life-bringing warmth. And what better way to do so than with a meaningful and fulfilling Summer Solstice ritual to honor the sun and our place in the universe?

According to Almanac.com, the word “solstice” comes from the Latin solstitium—sol meaning sun and stitium meaning stopped, because it looks as though the sun has paused in the sky as it reaches its highest point. The Solstice usually occurs on June 21st each year, but depending on the calendar year, the sun could peak on June 20th or June 22nd.

Ancient cultures and civilizations recognized the Solstice as a major milestone in the year, and in many countries, such as Nordic regions where paganism was prevalent before the spread of Christianity, the Solstice is still a day of celebration.

Even if your cultural or religious background doesn’t put much stock into the Solstice, you can still partake in a Solstice ritual and take advantage of the Sun’s energy. There’s always room in life for more positive vibes, right?

Craft a solar protection potion.

When the sun reaches its northernmost point from the equator, it enters into Cancer. Cancer, represented by the crab, is an emotional and home-centric zodiac sign. Think about it—the crab literally carries its home (its shell) with it wherever it goes. So while the sun is in Cancer, we can craft a potent solar protection potion for our homes.

As Raven Digitalis writes in Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2019, begin with a base of fresh water, salt, and vinegar. Both salt and vinegar have protective qualities, and together form a sturdy base for the brew. Then, add in protective herbs like cayenne, dill, fennel, pepper, mugwort, and juniper. You can also throw in a few herbs connected to happiness, like fennel and lemongrass.

Boil the ingredients for a minute or so, giving them enough time to steep in the boiling water. While it boils, focus in on your intention for the brew, and will it to protect your home. Then, transfer the potion into a glass bowl or Mason jar and allow it to charge under the remaining Solstice sun. Once it’s cooled, you can use it to bless your home, either by spraying it throughout a room or using it to write invisible charms on your door frames.

Assemble a Wheel of Fortune.

According to D.J. Conway, author of Moon Magick, the people of Sweden and Norway historically made Wheels of Fortune during the Summer Solstice. Similar in appearance to a dream catcher, these wheels either represented things someone wanted to bring into their lives or things they wished to banish.

This project could be fun to tackle with a group of friends. First, use an embroidery hoop, a hoop made from wire, or bend a sapling branch into a circle and secure it in place with ribbon or twine (remember, taking branches off live trees isn’t really kosher in the pagan belief system, so try to find pliable branches that are already on the ground). Then, wrap the circle in yarn, ribbon, or straw until the entire surface is covered.

Next, attach flowers from the garden, specific good luck charms, old pieces of jewelry, ribbons of different colors, and basically anything else that calls to you. While assembling your wheel, focus your thoughts on what you wish to bring into your life or what you wish to banish.

Once your Wheel of Fortune has been assembled, roll it toward you to bring your wishes to you or away from you to banish things from your life. You can then display your wheel somewhere special, and roll it when it feels necessary.

Light a bonfire.

As we mentioned in our list of rituals to partake in during June’s Strawberry Full Moon, lighting up a bonfire is one of the most well-known and ancient ways to celebrate the Solstice. Ancient pagan peoples used massive bonfires to help the sun change its course after reaching its peak. Fire was also seen as a gift from the gods, and it was often worked into rituals and offerings to the divine.

In some cultures, these Solstice bonfires were used to purify the pagan peoples. Some would choose to strip down and actually jump through the flames. Others would simply dance around the fires, while singing and chanting songs pertaining to their respective gods.

Of course, we don’t recommend you run naked through a bonfire—in fact, we really suggest that you don’t. But lighting a manageable bonfire in your backyard is a perfect way to translate these ancient traditions into the modern era. Invite your friends and family to join you around the flames, and eat, drink, and be merry (responsibly, that is).

Take this ritual a step further and write a list of things you wish to banish from your life as the sun begins to wane from its peak in the upcoming months. Put all these unwanted items, such as negative energy, guilt, shame, self-consciousness, etc., on a piece of paper and throw it into the fire, focusing your intent on truly ridding them from your life.

Worship the sun by bathing in its light.

If none of these rituals are speaking to you, then the best way you can celebrate the Solstice is to simply soak in the sun’s light and energy. Take a moment to zoom out and realize how small you are in the grand scheme of things. No matter the outcome of today, the sun will rise again tomorrow, bringing with it a fresh start and the reminder that life goes on.

If you’re unable to recognize the importance and beauty of the natural cycle, and if you have yet to realize how we wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the sun’s rising every day, then the above rituals are all for naught. Celebrating the Solstice is less about the outlined ritual. It’s about understanding the miraculous and wonderful truth that this cycle is totally out of our control.

Take time today to be humbled by and celebrate the Solstice however you see fit, and as the pagan laws state, live in accordance with the laws of nature, and worship in any way that you please.

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