This year's Summer Solstice takes place on Wednesday 21 June at precisely 9:58am CST. Contrary to popular belief, the solstice is an exact moment and not the entire day.
During the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun reaches its highest and northernmost position in the sky, directly above the Tropic of Cancer. This results in the longest period of daylight for the year. Conversely, in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the winter solstice, with the shortest day and longest night.
The word "solstice" is derived from the Latin words "sol" (meaning sun) and "sistere" (meaning to stand still). It reflects the apparent motion of the Sun in the sky, where it appears to pause at its highest point before reversing its direction and moving southward (in the Northern Hemisphere) or northward (in the Southern Hemisphere) in the following days.
The summer solstice has been significant in many cultures throughout history, often associated with celebrations, rituals, and festivals. It marks the official beginning of summer and is considered a time of abundance, fertility, and growth. In some places, people gather to watch the sunrise or participate in traditional festivities that celebrate the summer solstice.
There are several items that can be considered meaningful and appropriate for celebrating the summer solstice. Here are some common items used by individuals and groups to commemorate this occasion:
Sun-related Symbols: As the summer solstice represents the peak of the sun's energy, incorporating sun-related symbols can be significant. This can include items like sun-shaped pendants, amulets, or talismans. Sunflowers, representing the sun's radiant energy, are often used as decorations or incorporated into wreaths.
Herbs and Flowers: Many herbs and flowers are associated with the summer solstice and can be used to decorate altars or ritual spaces. Examples include St. John's Wort, lavender, chamomile, rose, calendula, and any local wildflowers that bloom during the summer. These can be used fresh or dried.
Bonfires and Candles: Fire is often central to solstice celebrations. Lighting a bonfire or candles during rituals can symbolize the power of the sun and the element of fire. Yellow, orange, and gold-colored candles are commonly used to represent the sun's energy.
Wreaths and Garlands: Creating wreaths or garlands made from fresh or dried flowers, herbs, and greenery is a traditional way to honor the summer solstice. These can be worn on the head, hung as decorations, or placed on altars. Choosing plants that are in season and locally available adds a connection to the natural surroundings.
Ritual Tools: Wiccans often use specific tools in their ceremonies and rituals. These may include an athame (ritual knife), a chalice or cup, a wand, and a cauldron. During the summer solstice, these tools can be adorned with symbols or colors associated with the sun.
Offerings: Making offerings is a way to express gratitude and connect with spiritual forces during solstice celebrations. Consider offering fruits, vegetables, or grains that are in season and locally sourced. Other offerings can include honey, mead, or herbs associated with the sun and the summer season.
Remember, the items you choose for celebrating the summer solstice can be tailored to your personal beliefs, preferences, and local availability. The most important aspect is to create a meaningful and intentional celebration that honors the energy and significance of the solstice.