Today is summer solstice.
What is it and why should you care?
In scientific terms, it is when the tilt of the Earth’s semi-axis is most inclined toward the sun, creating the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. After today at 3:34 p.m. PT when solstice officially occurs, the sun will follow a lower and lower path through the sky each day in the Northern Hemisphere until it reaches the point where the length of daylight is about 12 hours. Winter Solstice, which occurs somewhere between December 20-22, is the point in time when we are furthest away from sun and experience the shortest daylight in the year.
If you are like most women, somewhere inside your spiritual DNA is an ancestral memory, a consciousness that still feels the significance of these marks in celestial time even in a modern world. Why?
Once upon a time, our ancestors organized their entire society as one more expression of the natural world. They moved with the buffalo, foraged in valleys as food became harvestable, and adapted to the conditions and changing shapes just like the plants, trees, and animals that inhabited the earth with us. Time was marked on a quantum clock, whose hands were the movements of stars and planets, cycles of light and darkness on the earth, and the changing of the seasons.
For ancient civilizations, this day had extreme significance. It was a day critical to an agrarian calendar in which crops and seasonal cycles had to be managed, a day that was held as a spiritual celebration of light over dark, and therefore, life over death.
The people who inhabited Chaco Canyon in the desert southwest built complexes and buildings and a massive sundial with petroglyphs known as the “sun dagger” to track not only the movement of the sun but also the moon. It took the limitless imagination of a female artist to crack the code where anthropologists could not.
Another of the world’s oldest evidence of the Summer Solstice’s importance in culture is Stonehenge, built in 3100 BCE (although scientists have just unearthed even older formations on site), a megalithic structure which clearly marks the moment of the June Solstice and much more.
To be fully human, you lived intimately tied to the cycles of the earth as if you were “of” the earth instead of “on” the earth. Thousands of cultures celebrate some form of festival on or around the Summer Solstice. Major themes include celebrating the feminine, fertility, and the erotic nature of creation as plants and crops grow into harvestable food. In the southwest, pueblo women dance the corn dances as a prayer to empower all the elements of the earth to awaken and give life to the corn maidens who take the shape of stalks and ears of corn.
How will you pause and step out of a modern world that has lost its connection to this celestial clock and reconnect? What act of beauty will you create to honor the Summer Solstice? How will you give strength to your own feminine creative and imaginative nature?
In psyche and spirit,