6 Ways to Celebrate Summer SolsticeJun 12, 2023
Summer Solstice is June 21st. It marks the start of astronomical summer and the longest day of the year. People have been celebrating the summer solstice for thousands of years and it is a holiday that every human and other-than-human being can universally support.
Lately, I’ve been focused on our upcoming campout retreat Women in the Woods, on June 24th to 25th in the Pecos Wilderness Area near Peñasco, New Mexico. As with most of my offerings, I channel my ideas intuitively. We are all constantly receiving guidance beyond our logical minds, but we don’t always notice it. Often, we write it off as silly coincidental nonsense and we ignore it.
For our upcoming campout, we’re going to tune into our intuition, ignoring nothing. Everything will be of importance, and we will taste what it means to live with flow and guidance.
There was a time when humans did not put the material, logical, intellectual world above all others. There was a time when dreams and spirits and other-than-human beings held equal importance. The world of the rational that now rules Western culture is considered yang or masculine (not having anything to do with gender). The world of the liminal, imaginal and mysterious are considered yin or feminine. We currently live in a hyper-yang or hyper-masculine state, and we need to find balance for the sake of the earth. As long as we are hyper-yang, we will continue to disconnect, ignore and exploit the natural world. Understanding the personhood or liveliness of the earth and the nature beings is yin. Talking to trees, rocks, land spirits and ancestors requires initiating the intuitive realms.
That is part of the reason the retreat is for women. I didn’t initially know it was for women. First, I had the intuitive impulse to book a group campsite. Only later would I understand why. Later still would I realize that this retreat would be for wild women only. For many women, sleeping in the woods can be an edge. We haven’t always felt safe in the forest where folk tales of lore tell us of wicked witches and wolves that will trick us and eat us if we wonder off beyond the forest path. But supporting each other no matter where we are on our journey will soften our edges.
In general, men are raised to be more yang, to take up space, speak loudly and fearlessly exude confidence. In general, women are raised to be more yin, to take up less space, to be quiet, to smile pretty and be pleasing. This is not the fault of our parents but of deeply ingrained societal systems and institutions. Consider how little girls are mostly complimented on their pretty clothes while little boys are complimented on their strength or intelligence. The Summer Solstice is the most yang of all days of the year. The sun is masculine—bright, active, energized—and the day is long. This can be a time for women to balance our yang with our yin, to empower our feminine with masculine energy and vice versa.
I envision the whole weekend will be one long liminal space from the moment we step into the forest and give ourselves over to the ceremony. Rewild Your Words is an ongoing project for me still in process and evolving. It combines forest bathing and journaling. There are both group shares and internal contemplation. And of course, spaces for nothingness, for simply being and soaking in nature’s medicine. By the time we meet for forest tea, we will know what needs to shift in our life in order to move forward more empowered. Nature is our mirror.
The evening’s ritual will allow us to burn away these burdens and step into our new intentions. Our dreams will show us the way. In the morning, our guided meditations by the river will solidify our steps forward to our new selves empowered in both yin and yang.
And then the ritual will close, and we will return to our lives as if awakening from a dream—a 20-hour long dream of shared friendship and support.
This has been my vision, this is how it came to me. Not as a series of events but one long ceremony building to a crescendo as the sun descends and the dark sky starts our darkening days. Waning is yin. The waning days will hold our intentions until solstice comes again in December. Then we can ask, who am I now? What do I need as I am now?
6 WAYS TO CELEBRATE SOLSTICE:
- With oracle cards. Draw 4 cards. One represents your yin, cross it with a card that represents what your yin needs more of. The third card can be your yang, cross it with the 4th card that represents what your yang needs more of. Optional 5th card, how to bring them into balance.
- Make solstice sun tea. Intuitively choose plants that will empower you. You can also see what plants are growing around you in your yard. Some might be yarrow for energetic boundaries, rose for love, raspberry leaves for female power or marigolds for joy. Put them in a clear jar filled with water and put in the sun from sunrise to sunset on June 21st to brew. Then sip as the sun sets and summer begins.
- Dance, drink cocoa, wear bright colors, drum, sing, party, play—invite your inner child to join you.
- Have a bonfire at sunset. Write on a piece of paper what you want to burn away and throw it into the fire (can also be done with a candle). Then proclaim out loud to the universe what you are ready to invite in.
- Take a solo walk, fasting from phone and food from sunup to sundown while you wander aimlessly through the wilderness seeking answers from the natural world. It will be your longest solo walk of the year after all.
- Join us. If you are interested in joining us for Women in the Woods 2023, I can make room for a couple more people. We are keeping it small. I will not turn away anyone who feels called to join us and that’s also why it is sliding scale.
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