My Favourite Parts of Summer Solstice
I love watching the sun rise and I’ve also been taking in the beautiful sunsets over the past weeks. The skies at this time of year are worth drinking in and making the most of. This is the point where the sun starts it’s journey back towards the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice. So, as well as an outer manifestation of light – we are also celebrating the return of an inner reflection or journey.
An Impromptu Ceremony
Solstice Mandala by Emma Tuzzio
One evening, I invited a friend to create a flower solstice mandala in our garden. We showed gratitude for all the light available to us (unseen and seen). This is symbolised by father sun Inti Titi and our longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice. We shared a fire ceremony together, letting go of whatever it is that’s holding us back from stepping up and fully shining our lights into the world or participating in networks of light.
Weaving the Solstice into My Every Day Life.
With my students on the actual day of the Solstice, we spent some time creating flower garlands from willow and tissue paper. I shared with them an old creation myth, an old Mayan story about how the sun and moon were born. We sang a solstice song together and went outside in the blistering heat to a place in the shade. I had prepared a felt rope spiral in the grass for us all to walk into the centre, like a labyrinth.
First, we walked into the centre with a rose each to celebrate the birth of the sun and it’s long beautiful rays of light to the west as the sun sets. Secondly, I had some baby bird feathers. Each student took a feather to symbolise the story about the moon and walked with a feather into the centre. The students used rattles and musical instruments to help each other focus and walk along the spiralling path.
Our solstice celebration was surprisingly moving and it felt like such a positive way for us all to celebrate the longest day of the year. We honoured our talents and skills by speaking them out loud to our group. The students helped each other to say what they needed to say by listening carefully to each other.
We also honoured the Christian Martyr St John, who’s Birthday is celebrated on 24th June. This is signified with a huge fire on that day that burns all through the night. The students sleep in their sleeping bags around the fire on that evening.
The Holy Well Spring, Eastbourne
I feel it’s important to weave these earth festivals into our lives in a way that’s manageable and inspiring. I visited a holy well near Eastbourne with my Earthkeeper friend, Carolyn. This is a sacred spring just coming out of the chalk cliff towards the Beach Head end of the cliff next to Eastbourne. It was a beautiful hot and sunny day and there were many people around on the beach, so we didn’t do much except silently honour the spring and Mama Cocha the ocean. Then, we sat at the top of the cliff eating ice-cream !.
Whatever you do on the solstice, may your talents and skills shine brightly for us all.
‘This Place’, a song lyric by Jehanne Mehta
Written in 2009. This is currently in the Earth Pathways Diary.
This place is ancient, a place where the roads meet.
Showing lines in the landscape that were laid down by stars.
The wisdom of the earth has been holding in secret.
Begins to be known again as the years pass.
This place is ancient, a place where the trees grew;
The groves of great yew trees and later of oak,
Where creation was honoured by the old ones, the wise ones
And this place still remembers the words that they spoke.
This place is ancient: great stones mark the sunrise,
The moonrise and star-rise, the cycles of time,
Where the land holds the key to the wide cosmic dance
And we learn where we came from and how to return.
But this place here is new, it is under construction- far stronger than stone is the love that we share.
This place is inward. It points to the future. This place is a temple because we meet here.
For all our relations.
Beltain gathering in the garden.
A Beltain Ceremony
For me, all of life is bursting with fertility and the power of it’s own potential at this time of year. I was very much guided to connect with our hearts at this time and our own feminine/masculine archetypes within us. We had a beautiful ceremony at my friend Sharifin’s house. First, we opened scared space. Then we shared poems and sayings connected with blossom and spring. We made garlands for our heads with blossom and willow.
Male and Female Archetypes
Imagine that you have a King and a Queen archetype in your heart space, what would they say to you?. What would they say to each other?. This is a good time to re-evaluate your relationship with yourself, your friends and family. Sacred water from a local well was available for people to bless themselves where needed.
We went outside into the garden, where luckily the weather was kind to us. A spiral had been laid with felted rope in the grass and little tealights to light the way. In the centre of the spiral was a young maple tree, with it’s variegated leaves just emerging. We took it in turns to drum and rattle each person into the centre of the spiral and out again. Some people walked slowly, some danced and ran!. Each person took his or her own journey. Some had a question for the journey, some held an intention for themselves.
Then, the sun was setting and a sacred fire was lit at the bottom of the garden using the Q’ero tradition. We released what was no longer serving us and welcomed in a light quality in it’s place for the fertility of our future plans and projects. Once we had all worked with the fire and connected with the fire being in the centre, everyone voiced a need to jump over the fire!. The energy was high and bursting with potential at this point. after a time, we all came back together in a circle around the fire holding hands.
At this point, we made a heart meditation and sent healing energy wherever it was needed in the world.
After closing sacred space when the embers had died down, we shared a wonderful array of food together. This kind of event keeps me going for a long time and is a wonderful way of planning the next six weeks for the heart, head and hands.
The earth festivals are a gentle rhythm connected to nature and it’s seasons. They are an organising principle for us humans to set our intentions and let go of what no longer serves us. Why don’t you have a go at creating one yourselves?. I recommend Glennie Kindred’s books wholeheartedly.
May you flow with beauty,
For all our relations.
Breathing and Walking ..
Blossom in my garden, which is in the South Downs National Park.
With such beautiful weather recently, it was time to dust off the walking boots and venture out into the wilds of Sussex for a medicine walk!.
I’m very lucky to be living near the South Downs Way and in the South Downs National Park. What better way to spend part of my weekend than to honour my local ley lines, dragon lines or energy lines, across the spine of the downs from Devil’s Dyke to Lewes.
I took with me corn and tobacco as offerings for the ancestors and the land spirits or elementals who may need sustenance along the way.
My intention for this walk was to find a clear way through a complicated situation I had been drawn into. Walking is great because it’s healthy and it’s free. It gives me such a sense of freedom and happiness when I can see for miles all around me.
Gorse on the South Downs
Walking takes me back to being a child, hearing the larks in the summer meadows and smelling the gorse in Purbeck, Dorset. A friend says that when gorse isn’t in bloom, kissing goes out of season, meaning of course that gorse is always flowering – but it’s particularly gorgeous at this time of year. When I looked up the shamanic meaning of gorse, it said ‘enduring affection’. I loved seeing the bumble bees gathering the nectar from the gorse flowers. That was beautiful to witness and bee energy reminded me very much about the importance of community living. The bee also reminds me of hummingbird medicine, sipping the nectar of life in the sun, a liquid sugar mellowed by sunshine.
Dew Pond near Ditchling Beacon
One of my favourite times was walking through a field of rape. This is a cultivated plant related to the brassica family, so it has quite a strong smell and a beautiful bright yellow colour that would cheer up anyone needing a boost of positive energy. Another special time was seeing the light reflected on the sparking water of the dew pond. There was just so much light out there on the surface !
Philip Carr Gomm inspired me to walk the land in Sussex with his book ‘The Druid Way’ .
As I walk the land where I live, I’m brought back into right relationship with the earth. I find it incredibly grounding and it helps me to be present. I got a sense of the thousands of people through the ages who walked on these paths before me. Different historical filters moved swiftly infront of my mind’s eye as I walked along the beaten chalk paths.
Another beautiful moment was when I walked back through Lewes and stumbled across a beautiful apothecary called A.S Apothecary with natural, local beauty products. I got to try out some of their skin serum on my sunburn. If you get a chance, you must go !
A medicine walk should really be walked alone, as then you’re not distracted by walking and talking. Then you notice the shapes of the clouds and the auditory , kinaesthetic, visual, instinctual messages you may receive from spirit. However, for me walking is also about celebrating relationship and friendship with another.
I’m doing another medicine walk this next weekend – I hope I’ve inspired you to try it!.
If you have any questions about Medicine Walks or would like me to help you create one, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
May you flow with beauty,
For all our relations.