Summer Solstice - June 21, 2015
Summer Solstice Daisy © 2015 Catherine Jo Morgan
This is one of the four key turning points and ancient celebrations of the natural year, based on the Earth's journey around the Sun. After the Summer Solstice, the sun will begin rising later and later, as well as setting earlier and earlier – for the following half of the year, until the Winter Solstice.
June 21, 2015 is thus the Summer Solstice in the earth's northern hemisphere, but the Winter Solstice for the southern hemisphere. People in both hemispheres, all over the world, celebrate on this day. It's a way to honor our debt to the Sun, and to renew our pledge to live in harmony with the Earth and all our coinhabitants.
The exact time for Atlanta, Georgia (which I use for my home 80 miles northeast) is 12:39 p.m. on Sunday, June 21. Local celebrations often start the week before and continue through the weekend. Paul Winter's Summer Solstice celebration in NYC has already taken place, as it began today (Saturday, June 20) at 4:30 a.m.
Paul Winter – Solstice Celebrations
Soprano sax player Paul Winter's music combines the calls of animals and birds with “human music” so it's perfect for any Solstice celebration. Twice a year, the consort plays at Solstice celebrations in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC. One day, I will go!
Here's a quote from Paul Winter, from this year's Summer Solstice celebration web page:
“In early morning there’s a sense of timelessness and possibility
When I’m awake in the darkness before dawn – as the birds begin to sing, and the Earth prepares for the Sun – I feel as if life is beginning again. There’s something magical about that virgin time, when we’re free of our habitual patterns and obligations. My dream of evoking this feeling in music was the original inspiration for Summer Solstice.”
This year's celebration was dedicated to “affirm and honor the rights of the traditional peoples of the 11 tribes who live in Grand Canyon country.” It's worth reading the entire web page to get a sense of the jeopardy in which these sacred lands are now placed. http://www.paulwinter.com/summer-solstice/
There's an excerpt on YouTube from one of the guests at this year's Summer Solstice celebration at the Cathedral. Radmilla Cody sings a Navajo Blessing Chant at the Grand Canyon. (Note that the wind is blowing strong, so you can hear that in the recording. Her chant is still very clear.)
YouTube also offers one tune from the 2012 Summer Solstice celebration:
Paul Winter's album “Celtic Solstice” is from an earlier Summer Solstice celebration at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and “Journey with the Sun” combines music from several Solstice celebrations. You can hear samples of many pieces at Amazon.com. Don't miss the ones with wolf and whale songs! Those go straight to the center of my body and then all through it. It's like hearing a sister's voice for the first time.
Note that quite a bit of Paul Winter's music is available for free streaming for Amazon Prime members.
“Miho: Journey to the Mountain” has music from the summer solstice celebration in 2011, where the consort played music inspired by Japan. I've heard some samples from this album and find them very compelling. So I'm downloading that album as my choice for this year's personal celebration.
Machaelle Small Wright - Summer Solstice
I've long admired nature scientist Machelle Small Wright, of the Perelandra Center for Nature Research. She's the boldest, most daring follower of her own spiritual path that I can name. Her books and the publications from her nature center, Perelandra Ltd, are about full harmony with nature while evolving spiritually.
My own path has diverged from hers, but I still follow her insights on the four major natural holidays of the year (the Autumn Equinox, Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. Wright has discovered that during the 24 hours following each event, extra life energy is released. It gradually increases, culminating in the Summer Solstice (for the Northern Hemisphere), when the greatest boost in life energy occurs. We and the rest of the hemisphere need this extra energy, because life is in full flow. She talks of gardens, of course, but also of the garden as metaphor for all that we create with nature.
The Summer Solstice, in Wright's experience, is best celebrated by quietly contemplating all that is in full view now, all the growth that is happening. I would add that this may be intentional and harmonious, or – on the other hand – unplanned, disconcerting and perhaps distressing. The soul sometimes has its way with us despite our defenses, so things may be surfacing and “growing” that alarm us. Nevertheless, we can rest in the warmth of the sun and the two-fold reassurance that nature has the capacity for balance, and Christ energy the potential for our evolution.
For more on Wright's explanation of the four holidays, including step by step instructions for a personal celebration, see her blog entry on the Solstice and Equinox cycle, available in pdf format.
This is a good time to do (or redo) the Five Preferential Shapes Test
I do my own test four times a year, on or around these major holidays. It helps me get a sense of the core process for the coming fourth of the year: what most deserves my attention. For more information on the five universal shapes identified by late anthropologist Angeles Arrien, see my earlier blog entries:
If you really get interested in the five universal shapes, you might also like
Happy Summer Solstice to You
These great natural events happen whether or not we pay any attention to them, and no matter how we celebrate if we do. Whatever choice you make, blessings on all that's coming forth in your life. May all that comes from it be good, and may you live in abundance, health and joy.