The summer solstice, which falls on June 21, is widely known as
the first day of summer. It's the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the day when we finally feel a new season has truly begun after a long, cold winter. The summer solstice marks the day when the sun is at its highest point in the sky for the year. In Latin, solstice means "sun standing still," which references the sun's place in the galaxy on this day. It is a day that has been celebrated since ancient times and is one of the earliest astronomical observations in human history. So, yes, you could say it's a pretty important day. But it's about more than just scientific observations — the summer solstice has spiritual meanings that we should be acknowledging and celebrating.
These spiritual meanings are the reasons why so many ancient civilizations
dedicated rituals and festivals to the summer solstice. In fact, ancient monuments were believed to have been designed just to align with the sun during the solstice, like the Stonehenge, a 5,000-year-old stone circle in Wiltshire, England. Throughout the world, some cultures still have midsummer festivals to take part in ancient summer solstice rituals.
If you also want to celebrate the deeper meaning behind the summer solstice, you definitely can. You don't have to travel far to take part in these - you can
do them right in your own home. Before you can plan your celebrations, though, you need to know exactly what it is you're honoring. Here are the spiritual meanings behind the summer solstice:
It's A Celebration of The Sun
If you know anything about the summer solstice, it should be this: it's a celebration of the sun. The summer solstice is all about light.
Natalia Kuna says, "The summer solstice is a celebration of the return to light, and it so powerfully reminds us of the light within each of us and the full potential of our individuated as well as united light or christ consciousness (our cosmic sense of unity). It is about awakening, or reaching enlightenment, as an omnipotent symbol of ascension and the ultimate triumph of light over darkness."
The summer solstice is about nature, but it's also about your relationship with yourself, and inner reflection is a huge part of that.
Ask Angels says, "the Solstice is a natural way to reconnect with life’s divine plan and to feel a deep connection to all of life and the natural world. Reflecting on your journey is a wonderful way to celebrate the Solstice… Honor and celebrate your unique journey and the inherent cycles within walking a spiritual path and living a human life as well."
It's A Celebration of Nature
The summer solstice is ushering in a new season that is all about the beauty nature has to offer. It is ushering in new light and nature's bounty, and it is such an important time to celebrate everything our planet has given us. Summer solstice is when you should feel a connection to the outside world. This is why so many
ancient rituals, and current festivals as well, focus on going outside and being in the fresh air, seeing the sunrise, watching the sunset, or taking a long walk.
It's An Inner Spiritual Journey
This is a time to connect with nature, but it's also about recognizing and connecting to your own spirituality.
Belsebuub and Lara Atwood in their book say, "The progress of the sun throughout the year symbolizes the process of attaining enlightenment, and the summer solstice is the final climax of this journey as the day of most light in the year. It symbolizes the ascension found in many great spiritual teachings. At the spring equinox, the resurrection and return of the Son/sun to the Mother goddess is celebrated. Following this, the summer solstice symbolizes the return/ascension to the Great Father Spirit. It is a time to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness in the individual, and the return to wholeness in which the Son, Mother Goddess, and Father God become one great unified consciousness—a complete, whole, and powerful light that enlightens the individual." The Path of the Spiritual Sun
It's A Time Of New Beginnings
The solstice represents a time for you to reflect on yourself, and also for you to realize what you need to do to meet your long-term goals and do the things that suit you. It's a motivating time to start something new.
Wyld Witchery says, "The Summer Solstice is aligned with the element of fire, passion, will & drive. This is the time to seek right action, to choose to walk in alignment with your beliefs. Now is the time for you to look at the grander scope of your life and spiritual path and take note of what is out of alignment. What doesn't serve you? What things do you tell yourself or others that are not in line with what you preach? What things do you do that do not serve your personal and spiritual growth?"
This is the time to start something new, just as the Earth is with a new season.
It Symbolizes Patience and Is A Time To Slow Down
Although the summer solstice represents motivation to look inside yourself and do something new, it doesn't represent a rushed feeling. In fact, the deeper meaning behind this day is to slow down, relax, and be more patient.
Wyld Witchery says, "There is also a slow side to the summer solstice - it teaches us patience." The site adds, "There is the slow, sure rhythm of time that events will enter into our lives if we let them. We can't hurry things, but if we just relax and let go, things will reach their fullness without effort or the striving of ego on our part. The seeds of spring have been planted, we've labored over them all spring-now it's time to let nature take it's course."
One of the symbols of the summer solstice is fire, which makes sense, since it is a celebration of light.
Spirituality and Practice says, "It was believed that on midsummer's eve, the walls separating the worlds of the spirits and humans became as thin as tissue paper. The spirits of field and forest, of river and stream — all the inhabitants of that inner world — were free to pass back and forth between those walls and play among humans. It was a festival of fire, celebrating the full force of the sun-star. It was a time for feasting, a summer Christmas for play and pretending." Many ancient rituals involve lighting fires and having bonfires throughout the day and night to celebrate the day.
While the summer solstice represents the midpoint of the year and a time of new beginnings, it also represents a peak in the year.
Forever Conscious says, "The Summer Solstice is the highest point of energy for the year. We are bathed in the full power of the Sun and everything is illuminated." Many note that while this solstice represents a new season of summer and nature, it is also the time of year when the days slowly start to become shorter. There might be a lot of light and sunshine for the next few months, but it is also the very beginning of the year's turn back to winter.
Overall, the summer solstice represents change. It signifies the changing of the seasons, the way the Earth turns.
Forever Conscious says, "Life is forever changing, and nothing ever stays the same. While our time under the rays of the warm Sun is beautiful and bright, eventually we will reach a point where we have harvested and expressed ourselves all we can, and the time will come to retreat within." Correction: This piece was updated on Nov. 13, 2018 to clarify the attribution of a quote about the meaning of the summer solstice to Belsebuub and Lara Atwood, authors of the book The Path of the Spiritual Sun.