Celebrating the Summer Solstice has been a tradition as early as the Stone Age, around 2.5 million years ago. Around the world early civilizations honored the longest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere and even built monuments to the sun’s movement (I’m looking at your Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids).
Different cultures have celebrated this special day with feasts, bonfires, and other rituals. It seems everyone knew it was an important time of the year worthy of taking notice. In Egypt, it marked the beginning of flood season from the Nile. While in South America observed with paper boats on the river being filled with flowers and then set on fire. It was even considered the start of the New Year by the Greeks and an important time for conducting legal matters for the Vikings.
Solstice comes from Latin meaning “when the sun seems to stand still.” With so many hours of sunlight it can feel a bit like being suspended in time or a pause at the peak time of the year before we begin our descent into winter. The summer solstice is one of four solar holidays determined by the placement of Earth’s orbit to the Sun, the others being autumnal equinox, winter solstice, and spring equinox.
Astronomically, the Summer Solstice occurs for the Northern Hemisphere when the Earth’s orbit tilts the North Pole 23.4 degrees towards the Sun. Astrologically this also marks the Sun’s move into the tropical zodiac sign of Cancer.
Like an astrological transit such as the new moon, the solstice happens at the same time everywhere on Earth and this year it occurs at 10:58 a.m. PT, 1:58 p.m. ET. Summer solstice, or Litha in Pagan and Wiccan traditions, marks a turning point of seasons, though it also represents an internal change of tides (that was an attempt at an astrology-Cancer joke).;)
In astrology, the Sun represents what we “shine” into the world, as well as our consciousness and identity. Similar to the Sun in our solar system, our natal Sun orients us, through to ourselves. It points us toward clues about our life purpose and how we want to be seen in the world.
I often struggle with horoscopes as I think they tend to oversimplify something incredibly complex such as personality. Often when we over-identify with one part of ourselves, then we tend to push away anything that seems different or contrary to that. In reality, we are comprised of many conflicting paradoxes that we face through appreciating our…