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What is Summer Solstice?

Sunlight streams through from the background illuminating white flowers next to the base of a tree. Reads: What is Summer Solstice? & Nature's Wisdom

Summer Solstice expresses a seasonal polarity in Nature's Arc of Change that gives us the longest day and shortest night in the northern hemisphere. This sacred day usually falls on or around June 20th when the Sun shifts into the sign of Cancer. It has been long celebrated throughout cultures across time. After this moment, days will begin to shorten as nights lengthen once again.

In this blog post you will find:

What is Summer Solstice?

"At Summer Solstice light suffuses the northern lands as the sun reaches the height of its strength... yet at the crowning point of light the seed of darkness is born, and from now on the nights will grow longer. The sun has touched the northernmost point along the horizon and is about to embark upon the long journey back south, ending at the Winter Solstice." - Mara Freeman

Summer Solstice represents the culmination of our earthly journey around the sun each year. Since the time of Winter Solstice the days have been getting longer, exposing those of us in the northern hemisphere to more light, warmth and vitality. It is a moment of polarity in the arc of the seasons when we experience the longest day and shortest night. It is one of the two times of the year when the sun is at the greatest distance from the equator.

In the northern hemisphere, usually falling on or around June 21st, Summer Solstice aligns with the Sun's transit into the sign of Cancer, the mother archetype of the zodiac. It also marks the return of the dark in the same way that Winter Solstice marks the return of the light. From here on out the days will shorten as the pendulum swings back toward darkness. We will reach the balance of night and day three months from now on the Autumn Equinox, while our friends in the Southern hemisphere will experience the opposite as they prepare for Spring's emergence.

The word Solstice is derived from Latin solstitium, "point at which the sun seems to stand still," (sol = sun). This refers to the way that the sun appears to rise and set in the same place for a few days around the time of June 21st. In most parts of Europe, the festival is celebrated on June 24th and is known as the feast day of Saint John the Baptist.

Summer Solstice is a portal that initiates you into the heights of fulfillment and inner expansion. The energy of this time of the year is vibrant and joyful and encourages you to revel in the abundance available now, to rejoice in your love for the world, and to embody your radiance in bold new ways.

Nature's Arc of Change

& the Wheel of the Year

Nature's Arc of Change is a map that combines Celtic wisdom, astrology, and the life cycle of plants to illustrate the spiraling movement of time. It is divided into eight equal sections, demarcated by seasonal thresholds, which the Celts honored accordingly:

Quarter Festivals

  1. Winter Solstice: Dec. 21

  2. Spring Equinox: Mar. 19

  3. Summer Solstice: Jun. 20

  4. Fall Equinox: Sep. 22

Cross-Quarter Festivals:

  1. Imbolc: early spring

  2. Bealtaine: early summer

  3. Lunasa: early autumn

  4. Samhain: early winter

Sadly much of the details of what took place in ancient Celtic culture has been lost, but what still remains IS available to us from the source culture's of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Something that we are learning as people of the disapora who are reclaiming our cultural traditions and folkways is that it's critically important to be learning from and in direct relationship with the source culture, otherwise we are perpetuating cultural appropriation within our own cultural lineage which perpetuates colonial violence.

Here are some great places to start for those interested in learning from Irish Source Culture:

Orienting to Cyclical Time

If you are in the beginning stages of disentangling yourself from the death-grip of capitalism, shifting from linear time to cyclical time can seem quite foreign and unfamiliar at first. We become so used to perceiving time as a never-ending accumulation of objective events. Be gentle with yourself as you learn to orient your bodymind toward nature's biorhythmic movement. Disorientation, dislocation and disassociation are all manifestations of the trauma of separation from nature.

Beginning to make the shift toward nature's cycles will take time. The best thing you can do to support this shift is to spend more time immersed in nature. Whatever you're doing in your life now, simply add 10-15 min of intentional time in nature to your day. Make this time slow and mindful, or in stillness as you take in your surroundings while staying connected to your inner landscape.

Although we orient toward the Celtic tradition, it's important to note that Indigenous and folk cultures from around the world all share very similar earth-based orientations that are informed by the unique bioregions in which they arose. It's important to name these differentiations and to recognize that we aren't all having the same experiences. What is MOST important is that you learn to pay attention to the messages and wisdom arising from your own unique bioregion.

Embody Your Radiance

If Bealtaine is about claiming freedom then Summer Solstice is about taking it into the realms of embodied fulfillment. Something we are learning is that we are really only able to receive the wonder and gifts of the season to the extent that we are able to participate and give of ourselves in joyful reciprocity. Light is inherently generous. To give of ourselves, we first must create within ourselves a sanctuary of our feeling self and become the light that embraces all fear. Freedom then is an inner capacity that we nurture, turning darkness into light.

Through the turning of the wheel, nature teaches us that the basic pattern of life is one of oscillation and contrast; a pulsating dance and tension between polarities. The rhythm of creation throbs with erotic life force energy and it is through this dynamic of hide and seek that we experience the pleasure of aliveness.

The creative playmaking of Summer reveals itself in every moment. Summer’s abundant flourishing is only ever the result of collaborative playmaking rooted in ecosystem entanglement. The process of play produces nourishment that keeps everyone fed. Every life form belongs and contributes their gifts toward the vitality of wholeness, which keeps the circle turning. Abundance arises from the play of giving and receiving.

The energy of Summer Solstice is activating as we bear witness to Land and Waters bursting with new life. We too are exploring new forms of expression as we uncover dimensions of self coming into bloom. At this moment in the height of the season we are given the opportunity to join the collective chorus of humming, buzzing and drumming with our own radiant expression! We are called to participate in the playmaking of the season, explore the sights and sounds who call us home, and allow what is abundant within to flow forth like the source of life itself: the Sun. You are here to let the gift of your essence SHINE!

Summer Solstice Journal Prompts

The following journal prompts relate to themes of culmination, completion, joy, liberation, and the radiance of play. Explore your relationship to this seasonal energy by reflecting on these questions:

  1. What are your favorite ways to relax and have fun? How can you incorporate more of this into your life?

  2. What in your life do you wish to celebrate?

  3. How can you enjoy this moment with the knowledge that it will ultimately pass?

  4. How do I feel inwardly and act outwardly when I'm shining my light and living from my sun/center?

  5. What is culminating or coming to a peak in my life right now? What am I celebrating?

  6. What does it mean to live in my freedom? Where do I not feel free?

  7. What are my favorite ways to relax and have fun? What activities or practices nourish my sense of vitality, aliveness, and joy?

  8. What does nature reveal to me about the nature of light, creativity & authentic power?

  9. When I imagine embodying my radiance what do I see? What am I doing? How am I being? What does it feel like?


Orienting to nature's rhythms is a powerful way to reclaim your ancestral connection to this sacred time of the year. Summer Solstice can be made more meaningful by tracking your own fluctuations, inner tensions and moods, or by simply contemplating your relationship to change and the phase of culmination in the cycle of growth.

Embracing the seasonal energy and leaning into the invitations that nature brings will help you to THRIVE during this time.

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