Solstice = Soul's Tryst!

This Friday, June 21, the Sun reaches its annual zenith just before noon (ET) as it moves into the zodiac sign of Cancer, marking the longest day of sunlight of the year (in the northern hemisphere) as it kicks off summer and is celebrated around the globe as the summer solstice.

Kids await this day, that feels awash in magic and mystery, all year, staying up past their bedtime to watch the sun go down at the last possible second. Even as an adult, I start looking forward to this day immediately after the winter solstice—the “shortest” day of the year—and hearten myself with the reminder that the days are getting longer, even if it’s dark before 5pm.

But that’s the rub with the longest day, isn’t it? We can’t escape the fact that after that peak moment, the days will only get shorter… There’s another irony with the astrological year. At this moment of culmination and maximum light, the life-giving Sun is beginning its yearly cycle through Cancer and the natural chart’s fourth house of home, family, foundations, nostalgia and Subterranea. So even as many of us think of summer as a time for going out and being more visible, there’s a natural pull to stay enclosed, invisible.

The summer solstice is an important day for pagans, who call it Litha or Midsummer. It’s a time to gather with the tribe and celebrate the Sun, the Goddess and Mother Earth. Pagans understand the delicate balance between light and dark, waxing and waning, doing and surrendering. It’s not an irony to them but rather the inherent yin-yang of life.

Ancient monuments, like Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids at Giza and the Standing Stones of Stenness (in Orkney, Scotland), are magical places to experience the solstice (but not if you want to be alone; throngs of thousands climb over one another to get the epic photo). “Solstice tourists” also flock to the northernmost city in the world (Longyearbyen, Norway) as well as the most northern world capital (Reykjavik, Iceland) to stay up all night and party like it’s 1999. Or at least June 21.

Despite all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the summer solstice, the real power is in what it signifies for you. Even if you consider it just another night—albeit the shortest one of the year—I invite you to pay attention to what’s coming up for you. Are you full of excitement for new ventures you’re dreaming up? Apprehensive about something you know it’s time to release? Unsure what’s coming down the pike yet anxiously eager to manifest it? Tune in to this formidable solar power surge. Don’t try to force “insight” or “answers.” Find stillness, if only for five minutes.

Want to get a little woo-woo with me? Sometime after noon (ET) on Friday, go off on your own and sit someplace peaceful. Drop your awareness to your heart center and breathe through that space in the center of your chest. Imagine the warmth of the Sun coming in and filling you with creative, loving energy. You don’t have to do anything with this; just feel it and let it in fully. Put your left hand on your heart center and connect to whatever sensations arise. Don’t try to “interpret” or judge. Memorize that feeling, and know you can bring it back anytime, anyplace it’s needed. That’s your solstice gift… your soul’s tryst with the Divine.

Suzanne Gerber