What to do for the Summer Solstice
In the witchy Wheel of the Year, there are four “lesser” sabbats that include the Solstices and the Equinox. Summer Solstice is a celebration of the longest day. It’s after this time that the nights will become longer, so it’s a celebration of the apex of the sun’s power. As always, when I talk about creating a celebration, I suggest starting with the theme you’d like to focus upon. Here are six themes to help get you started with your solstice planning!
Okay, so this seems pretty obvious.
In many Craft traditions, there’s a lot of focus on the moon, but the sun is just as important- if not more so- than the moon. The sun makes it possible to live. Without the sun, the plants would not grow, and without plants, we wouldn’t have anything to eat. Summer Solstice is the longest day- the power of the sun is at its strongest.
If you choose to center your celebration around the sun, you can honor a sun god or goddess. Or, similar to moon water, you can create sun water by leaving it in the sun during the day (you can make sun tea as well, by adding tea bags). Another practice many do is to create and charge sun amulets. This allows an amulet (or talisman) to soak up the energy of the sun to use later. If you decide to go a more mundane route, think about creating sun catchers. These are easy- you can even create them out of dried orange slices! Also, consider sunbathing (safely) or waking up early and doing a sun salutation outdoors to greet the sun.
Fire is another common theme of the Summer Solstice. Fire is a symbol of the sun energy, the microcosm a representation of the heavenly sun. Fire is considered to not only be cleansing, but a catalyst of transformation. Historically, bonfires were lit during the solstice.
One thing you can do at home to honor the fire at solstice is to light your own fire. Safely create your own bonfire in a fire pit or safe space. Some will light their fire by hand or even use a magnifying glass to literally harness the sun’s power to create their fire. If you are doing a group ritual, a procession of torches would be a fun way to honor this element – and a great way to illuminate your ritual space! It’s been said that walking between two fires evokes protection for that person or animal. You can also do candle workings or transformation work at a celebration like this.
While many honor the fae at Beltane, some honor the faeries at midsummer. The fae are said to emerge from The Hill/ Faerie and show themselves to lucky humans.
One way to celebrate and honor the fae is to leave offerings for them. Traditional offerings include milk and honey. Some say that if you dance with the fae in a circle 9 times, you will be taken to faerie. Not that I suggest that, but there’s no rule against dancing and honoring the fae. You can also create faerie gardens, or make a special place for them within your garden or home.
Light vs. Dark
The fact that it’s the longest day, means that the light is going to begin to wane. In some Wiccan traditions (and some eclectic Pagan practices as well), this change is honored by a battle between the holly king and the oak king. At the Winter Solstice, the oak king wins and the sun begins to wax as the days become longer. Likewise, at Summer Solstice, the battle ensues and the holly king is victorious and will reign with waning light until Winter Solstice.
Some like to enact this battle using ritual drama, and some like to honor this change by staying up all night to greet the sunrise on the Solstice eve.
For many regions, the Summer brings the rainy season. In these regions especially, witches may choose to honor the water element. Also, there exists a tradition of well dressing at the Summer Solstice. People would visit sacred wells and adorn them with flowers and tie ribbons or fabric to vegetation close to the well.
You can honor the rain with a rain-centric ritual. Sing songs about the rain, plant a garden or install a rain barrel. Theme your celebration in blues and grays. Alternatively, you can create a well to dress. All you need is a large bowl or vessel. Consecrate it and then decorate it with flowers, keeping an intention in mind. Some use the intention of creativity, dreams or psychism – all intentions associated with water. But others just decorate it in celebration or gratitude.
Finally, we end with a floral theme. It’s at this time of the year that everything is in bloom! Not only do the flowers turn to face the sun, flowers are also associated with fae. It’s hard NOT to notice them perfuming the air.
For your floral celebration, create a crown of fresh or silk flowers. Wear it as you celebrate the solstice. Decorate your home or ritual space with flowers, or you can even plant flowers with intention.
Keep in mind that you do not have to do a formal ritual to celebrate the sabbat. Sometimes we work, or don’t feel well or have small children that make it difficult- and that’s okay. Honor it in some way, be it in ritual, a special meal, a guided meditation or mundane activities like crafting.
Looking for ideas for your solstice celebration? Check out my Pinterest board here.