Although you wouldn’t know it with the cloudy skys and sultry air surrounding me today it is still the Solstice. The shift in daylight hours lasts for three days so for those three days we celebrate the sun at his peak. I’ve seen midsummer referred to a few times as the beginning of summer but, to my mind, this isn’t quite correct.
From Beltane onwards we plant, prepare and sow in the hope of creating abundance in the coming months. The sun right now is at his peak in this world, giving life to the dreams we sow along with our seeds. But his time in this world ends at the solstice and he now crosses to the dreamworld, taking our wishes with him. His presence in the world is still strong, but the work or defining our next phase has already begun.
Through the summer we will tend our crops and by Lammas also known as Lughnasa (in August) we should be seeing the fruit our our labours. By Mabon (in September) the harvest will begin in earnest and we will give thanks for, hopefully, abundant crops and the joyful work of filling our larders with the fruits of garden and farm.
But what will we reap? Now is the time for effort not only in the external world but also in the internal one. We are right to live in the moment as the sun god Bel beckons us to do, rejoice in the sun and warm breezes. Take time to absorb the sheer beauty of green leaf against blue sky, the feel of water and earth between our toes, the kiss of warmth on our skin. By living in the moment we are connecting ourselves with the energy of the earth, allowing her rhythms to dictate our own pulse.
It is also a time to cast an eye inwards and consider what is ahead, what dream do we want to realise within ourselves? It is hard to step back from all the fun and take time to contemplate, but it is rewarding to do so. Sometimes abundance, of opportunity and variety, can be a little exhausting. Like the dreamer god we must take time to shape ourselves from the inside out and remain unafraid of the shadow that inevitably is cast when the light is at it’s strongest.
So like the great sun god we should shine in this world, allow ourselves to be carried along by the energy and life force of the summer season. Grow food, run in the grass, swim in the water; take all the wonderful things that nature offers us and be glad.
Also take time embrace reflection, quiet moments of stillness and peace. Explore the twilight which is so blissfully long at this time of year, holding us in suspension and giving us the chance to dream ourselves into existence.
I’ve enjoyed reading about the solstice celebrations of so many families and am looking forward to seeing what surprises this summer might bring us!