Every year, on or around the 21st of June, the northern hemisphere experiences its longest day – the Summer Solstice. An event not just of scientific interest, but one steeped in a rich tapestry of history, culture, and spiritual significance. This day brings together a myriad of people: from astronomers and scientists, to pagans and those drawn to the mystic and the historical, all under the sun's zenith. This year, the solstice of June 21, 2023, takes on a unique character, adding another layer of spiritual resonance to this ancient celebration.
The Solstice in History:
The summer solstice has been celebrated since ancient times. Its significance lies in the profound influence of the sun on our Earth and its life forms. As the source of all life, the sun has always been venerated in different cultures.
Two places, intimately connected to the summer solstice, stand as timeless monuments in the heart of England: Stonehenge and Glastonbury. Both sites are profoundly rooted in mythology, history, and spirituality, and their association with the summer solstice offers a fascinating glimpse into the minds of our ancient ancestors.
Located in the English county of Wiltshire, the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge is a unique structure, a circle of massive stones arranged with astronomical precision. Built around 3000 BC to 2000 BC, its purpose remains shrouded in mystery. However, it is widely accepted that Stonehenge was a place of spiritual importance and that its layout corresponds to celestial events like solstices and equinoxes. The alignment of the monument's central axis with the rising sun during the summer solstice underscores the builders' deep understanding of the solar cycle.
Every year, during the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone and rays of light shine into the heart of Stonehenge. This event draws thousands of people from across the globe who gather to celebrate and witness the ancient monument coming to life with the sun's first rays.
Further west, the town of Glastonbury has been recognized as a place of spiritual significance since ancient times. Its history interweaves with Arthurian legends and Christian traditions, but its roots reach back into the mists of pre-Christian spirituality.
The iconic Glastonbury Tor, a hill towered over by St. Michael's Tower, is thought to be the Avalon of Arthurian legends. More importantly, it is believed to align with the summer solstice. On this day, the sun sets behind the tower when viewed from the neighboring Wearyall Hill, an enchanting sight that captures the deep-rooted connection between the Tor and the sun.
June 21, 2023 – A Unique Resonance:
This year, the summer solstice holds a deeper, more personal significance. Astrologically, 2023 is said to bring transformation and new beginnings. With the sun at its most potent on the solstice, this day serves as an ideal time to harness the sun's energy and focus it towards personal growth and transformation.
Ritual – Embracing the Solstice Sun:
Participating in a solstice ritual is a way to join our ancestors in honoring the sun, connecting with nature, and inviting transformation into our lives.
Start by creating a sacred space outside, if possible. Set up an altar with sun symbols: sunflowers, gold and yellow items, or any object that symbolizes the sun for you. Include symbols of things you would like to transform in your life.
At sunrise, stand before your altar. Begin by taking deep, calming breaths, grounding yourself. Now, raise your arms and imagine the golden light of the sun filling your body, igniting every cell. Feel its warmth and energy. Visualize this light illuminating areas in your life you want to transform.
Speak aloud your intentions for transformation, firmly and clearly. Trust in the sun's energy to bring these changes. Express your gratitude towards the sun, towards life. When you feel your ritual is complete, close with a simple phrase like, "As the sun rises high, so too will these changes in my life. So it is."
The summer solstice is more than an astronomical event. It is a day to connect with our past, understand the beliefs of our ancestors, and to look towards our future with optimism and determination. As the sun rises on June 21, 2023, over Stonehenge and sets behind Glastonbury Tor, it will not only illuminate these ancient sites but also offer us a chance to illuminate the paths of our own lives. By understanding the history and importance of the solstice, we become a part of this age-old celebration, bringing its ancient wisdom into our modern world.
So, this solstice, let's gather under the sun's zenith, honor its power, and invite transformation into our lives. Let the potent energy of the sun guide us on our journey, and as it lights up the sky, let it also light up our lives. After all, we are all children of the sun.