For ancient cultures all around the world, the summer solstice has been a special time of celebration, rituals, stories and magic, a time to give thanks for the blessings of Mama Earth and Father Sun
“It was a time when the normal laws of nature or divinity could be suspended, when spirits and fairies could contact humans, when humans could exceed the usual limitations of their world”
– Robert Hutton, professor of history
Mysticism and magic are common themes in midsummer folklore. Many cultures believed magic is at its strongest, and shared myths of the world turning upside down or the sun standing still. Mother Earth is at the height of her strength, fertility, and abundance, and cultures around the world celebrated this, using fire symbolically to praise the sun, bring abundant harvests, and ward off the darkness.
Many ancient cultures had summer solstice rituals. In Europe, Neolithic people held solstice rituals to bring abundant harvests and keep evil away. The Romans and Greeks dedicated the solstice to their goddess of the hearth, Vesta and Hestia respectively, and ancient Egyptians celebrated the sun god Ra. The ancient Celts lit fires to boost the sun for the rest of the growing season and bring a good harvest in autumn, and many Native American cultures created sun dances to honour the day.
Mama Earth and Father Sun provide us with everything we need to grow, live and thrive. We can celebrate this and our own strength by joining together in ceremony and ritual, raising our spiritual consciousness through sharing and offering gratitude for this abundance.
Here are three simple summer solstice rituals – one to do alone, one alone or in a small group with friends, and one in wider community.
Carry them out with an intention for an action to improve your life and bring light, love and creativity into this world in your own creative way.
A ritual bath. Light Solaris, our sun candle, fill your bath with salts and essential oils, flower petals and crystals. Tie a bunch of fresh herbs under the tap as it fills the bath. Burn sustainable palo santo or sage to clear negative energies from the space. As you bathe, set an intention for how you will bring your light into the world and uplift yourself and people in your life this summer.
Gather in a circle with others, perhaps with family or by attending a special solstice women’s circle. Exchange songs, stories and poems. Dance, drum, sing, chant and celebrate the earth and summer.
Visit Stonehenge, where hundreds of people gather at sunrise and sunset to observe the summer solstice – just as our ancestors have done for many centuries. If you can’t make it to Wiltshire, it’s live-streamed for free on English Heritage’s YouTube and other social media channels.
Sacred Space summer solstice ritual: Create a sun wheel or mandala
This summer solstice ritual will help you connect to your authentic power and share it with the world.
(This is to be done outside if possible)
Gather the following:
- Flowers, leaves, twigs and things from nature to use to create a mandala on the ground, symbolising the circle of life and connectedness.
- Seasonal healing plants and herbs such as mugwort, chamomile, thyme, vervain, yarrow or St John’s Wort – or their essential oil.
- Summer flowers such as sunflowers, roses or jasmine. You can also use essential oils like yang ylang for sensuality and geranium for happiness and protection.
- Your crystals, especially citrine (light, happiness and big dreams) and carnelian (creativity and confidence).
- Honey or honey cake (see our recipe here) and some seasonal summer fruit.
- A candle – red or yellow if possible (our Solaris candle is ideal).
What to do:
- Sprinkle a large circle of flower petals on the ground, big enough for you (and friends, if joining you) to sit in.
- Create your mandala on the ground in the middle of the circle.
- Sit in the circle with the objects to hand. Light your candle.
- Close your eyes, place your attention on your breathing and let it naturally slow down.
- Drop your awareness to your pelvis and feel yourself root into your seat. Feel stable, present and fully grounded.
- Imagine you have roots – small lines of energy – connecting you to mama Earth, rooting you a foot into the ground, three feet, ten feet, then deep down.
- Hold your crystals and call the energy of the sun into them for your protection and creativity.
- Put them down and hold the herbs or oils, breathing in their fragrance and resonance, allowing them to infuse into every cell of your body.
- Close your eyes and imagine the positive change you want for your life or for a project you’re involved in. Be specific. See yourself actively participating in this change. As well as seeing it, feel it – as if it’s happening now. Sit until you do.
- Soak in the power of the sun and the earth. Ask for the qualities or support you need to make this change happen. Be specific.
- Offer your herbs to the fire by placing them in front of the flame. Metaphorically, the smoke of the flame carries them to the great mother goddess.
- Safely jump or step over your candle three times for luck and good fortune.
- Blow out the candle.
- Eat the honey, honey cake or fruit as a symbol of integrating the energy of your ritual into your physical being.
- Leave some flower petals as an offering to Mother Earth.
- Take everything home and create an altar. Take action on your intention in the next 48 hours.
- When you want to dismantle it, place the now-dried flowers and herbs on the earth. Eat the food before it goes off, otherwise put it in your compost not the bin.
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