Summer Solstice 2021 — Time to Celebrate
By Davina Mackail
Here we are at Midsummer. We have arrived at the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Goddess is now full and pregnant with Child, and the Sun God is at the height of his virility. It is the peak of the Solar year, and the sun is at the height of its life-giving power.
The Earth is awash with fertility and fulfilment, and this is a time of joy and celebration, expansiveness, and achievements.
Yet within this climax is the whisper and promise of a return to the dark. As the light reaches its peak, it is also the moment when the sun’s power begins to wane — from now on, the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, and we are drawn back into the dark to complete the Wheel of the Year.
At that moment of the Solstice, June 21st 4.32 am BST, the sun ‘stands still’ at the Tropic of Cancer, giving rise to either the shortest or longest day of the year, depending on which hemisphere of the world you live. It then reverses its direction and starts moving south again.
It has long been considered a magical time when the veil between worlds is thin, and it becomes easier to connect with nature spirits, the faerie realm and the healing energies of the planet.
In the Northern Hemisphere, Litha is associated with Mid-Summer and is an occasion to be celebrated. In Gaul, it was called the Feast of Epona, named after a mare goddess who personified fertility and protected horses. In Chinese astrology, the horse’s primary element is fire, and June is its ruling month. Thousands still gather at Stonehenge to witness the Solstice dawn — a shaft of summer gold across the standing stones, linking the Earth realms with the Spirit realms.
In Celtic traditions, sun wheels were made of flaming cartwheels and rolled down hillsides to prolong the light on the longest day.
Living in harmony requires us to work with these natural energies, to flow with the river of life rather than battle against the current.
This Solstice comes six months after the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, ushering in a new era.
Many of those same themes of freedom, rebellion, common causes, innovation and expansion will be present in our summer celebrations. When this energy is in balance, it allows us to create a more peaceful and compassionate world where we can work together and share common goals.
Mercury is in its standstill phase until June 22nd, along with Jupiter, and we will have Mercury, Saturn and Pluto making this journey too. This will add a slow-down effect to the cosmic energies, giving us a chance to get still and deepen our connection to the frequencies.
With the sun in conversation with bountiful Jupiter on the summer solstice, we’ll feel like anything is possible. But since the sun will be in Cancer and Jupiter will be in Pisces, two emotional water signs, it could be an emotional time.
This year’s Solstice energy may also feel more passive in the sense that we may need to surrender and allow ourselves to be shown the way. It is your opportunity to allow yourself to be led, to become a listener, and to become wherever you find yourself.
At the time of the Solstice, Neptune and Venus will be in a trine alignment. This will add to the harmony and help guide us to deeper truth and spiritual understanding. It is all about love.
Polarity in our everyday world is natural.
I am currently living in the Southern Hemisphere, approaching the winter solstice whilst writing about the summer solstice in the North. It brings home the polarities in which we live. Polarity in our everyday world is natural. Night, day; in-breath, out-breath; expansion, contraction; winter, summer etc. As natural law, it is undoubtedly manifesting in all levels of existence, so we also see rich, poor; right-wing, left-wing; vaxxed, unvaxxed.
The difference is that in nature, we do not judge whether the day is better than or less than a night or consider the in-breath somehow more important than the out-breath. We accept their opposite nature as part of the whole. Yet, in our daily lives, we are in constant judgment of the other. In the Tarot, the last card before The World (enlightenment) is Judgment.
As a species, we seem deeply embedded in this collective archetype currently. Divide and conquer techniques are being ruthlessly engaged to the point where friends and family members have fallen out or are not speaking to one another. How have we allowed this to happen? If we are to inherit the Golden Age, the ancient prophecies predict, then this is the work. How can we deepen into the uncomfortable paradox of ‘this AND that’, rather than the divisive nature of ‘this OR that’?
This period we are entering in the run-up to the September equinox, the point of balance between day and night, brings us the opportunity to contemplate how we can transcend polarity. Another tradition found among European cultures was centred on the need for balance between the Elements of Fire and Water — large wheels were set on fire and rolled downhill into creeks, rivers or lakes, perhaps as a charm against summertime drought.
The full moon will add fuel to the Solstice bonfires landing in earthy Capricorn on June 24th. Ruled by Saturn, the planet of discipline and structure, we can suddenly feel the urge to get our lives in order.
A Herb of Protection
Elderflowers peak at Midsummer. Pick them in the fullness of a sunny day, ideally on Midsummer’s Day. The Elder is sacred to the Mother Goddess and is often called the Witch’s Tree, the Elder Mother, or Queen of the Trees. It is protective with wonderful healing properties. It aids transformation, change and renewal, and we are at a major turning point in the Wheel of the Year, so the gift of Elderflowers is welcome.
The focus of these summer Solstice energies is power, joy, courage, potency, success, marriage, fertility, energy, self-confidence and making the most of every opportunity and blessing that comes your way.
Allow yourself to become one with the heartbeat of our Great Mother Earth. Celebrate your abundance, decorate your home with gold, red or orange flowers and use the same coloured candles. If we’re blessed with a sunny Solstice, leave your jewellery in the sunlight after dawn for a few hours to transfer the power of the sun into your life and empower you as you wear it in the days ahead.
Summer Solstice rituals harvest the fire or solar energy to carry us through the dark days of autumn and winter. Traditionally bonfires were lit and danced around. Blazing torches were carried at sunrise around homes and fields to protect and bless and coals from the Midsummer fire were scattered on fields to ensure a good harvest.
A powerful ritual is to gather bay leaves at dawn on June 21st. Herbs and flowers picked at the summer Solstice have more potent healing powers than when picked at other times as the fire energies that transform impurities are at their height.
In the Q’ero shamanic tradition, three coca leaves are used as a mini prayer bundle to carry your prayers to Spirit — one leaf for each world, the lower, middle and upper. Bay leaves can be used instead as they have a genetic resonance with the coca family.
Build your sacred fire on solstice evening — it is traditional to burn at least one oak log as ancient myth has it that the Oak King ruled from Midwinter to Midsummer and the Holly King ruled from Midsummer to Midwinter.
Gather with your friends and family and taking three leaves at a time, and hold them between the thumb and forefinger of the right hand. Pray into them for your health, prosperity, strength, projects, relationships etc. -one prayer bundle for each prayer that comes to mind. You can add prayers for others too, and then release the leaves into the fire. Add prayers to bring light and hope for solving major global problems that are dear to your heart. You may like to complete this ritual by drumming or playing some music and dancing around the fire. If you can’t light a fire, use a red, orange or gold candle instead and burn the prayer leaves in a fireproof pot.