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
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.