Imagine the months, the seasons, and the phases of the moon arranged in a connected shape, like a circle or oval, versus a linear one with a beginning and end. Each of these markers of time lives in cycles, an ever-flowing state of movement into one and onto the next. The wheel of the year, meaning the months and seasons within a year, corresponds with the phases of the moon, directions [north, east, south, and west], and is associated with each of the earthly elements [earth, air, fire, and water].
At this spoke of the wheel, we are collectively stepping through the portal of the solstice — the summer solstice for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice for those in the Southern Hemisphere. Because I am living in the Northern Hemisphere, the coming summer solstice will be the focus here, but if you are entering into winter where you live, contemplate what the opposites might be of all that is shared here; the quiet, incubation state of the dark in contrast to all that is revealed in the light.
For my fellow summer dwellers, I will share a few simple practices you can use this solstice for honoring the elements of the season and this metaphorical “full moon phase” of the year.
Summer solstice is the longest day of the year; a time when the daylight hours which have slowly been increasing since winter have finally reached their maximum. Like the face of the dark new moon [the metaphorical winter phase] slowly grows brighter with each day, come summer solstice, the moon’s face is shining and perfectly round in fullness [again, metaphorically speaking]. If you’re a visual person like me, this diagram may support you in better visualizing all of the pieces and how they relate to one another.
This time can be defined by the abundant presence of the sun, which is related to the earthly element of fire. Fire is a stimulant of transformation, movement, passion, creation, and inspiration. It also — much like the sun and the full moon — allows us clear visibility for that which has been brought to light. This might be a good time to reflect on who you were at this time last year. I welcome you to visit the card spread and reflection prompts at the end and take some time to journal or meditate on your answers.
✷ Simple Summer Solstice Season Practices ✷
For relational reference
If summer was a phase of the moon it’d be full.
If summer was an element it’d be fire.
If summer was a time of day it’d be noon.
If summer was a direction it’d be south.
Simple Element Ritual
The spirits of the elements are powerful, which also makes them unpredictable at times. The element of fire is certainly both of these things and caution is advised as you build your relationship with it. It is best to work with fire when you are feeling calm.
Energetically speaking, in its seemingly destructive properties, new life can arise — think, the phoenix rising from the ashes. Fire teaches us that often times a release is needed in order to move forward. It invites us to lighten our energetic load in order to allow our petals to unfurl and bloom. Fire teaches us non-attachment and reminds us that the cycle of life and death is ever-present and a way of maintaining balance in the universe. Letting go can be difficult — whether it’s of material things or people and/or memories whose energies don’t serve us well — and it can also be wildly relieving. You may even experience both simultaneously.
The following are two practices for connecting with and working with the spirit of fire. One is focused on cultivating gratitude and the other is an invitation to release.
Light a Candle for cultivating gratitude
This one is as straight forward as the title suggests it to be: light a candle. But here are some intentions to imbue into the act that will transform this ordinary action into a simple ritual.
Who or what are you lighting the candle for?
Think about your answer as you ignite the flame and touch it to the wick and watch it catch.
What intention are you calling in or sending out as you do this?
Imagine the candle light carrying your intention out into the world or filling your space.
Give It to the Fire for releasing
Hand write a list of things you are letting go of. This could be feelings of self-doubt, jealousy, judgement, addictions or habits you want to abandon, unbalanced attachments to people, thoughts, or things that keep you from feeling like your best self. Anything. This can also be a release for the collective, like foundations that need rebuilding, oppressive systems that need to be abolished, limited or harmful ways of thinking that need some perspective. The more detail you write down the better. Old journal entries, letters, cards, etc. can also work.
Safely over a candle or contained outdoor fire, speak your intention for this clearing as you ignite your flame. Voice your thanks for the lessons learned and bid farewell to these old energies as you give them to the fire. Watch them burn and turn to ash; watch them transform. Visualize a new space clearing in your mind and heart space. Take a deep breath and feel this new space.
To be spoken aloud or quietly to yourself as you light a candle or sit in the presence of fire.
Fire, spirit of the south.
Place of the noon day sun and source of transformation.
Place of passion, creation, and inspiration.
The fire within.
Associations with the element of fire and the direction of South
The color red, candles, matches, incense, smoke, blades, warming spices.
Seasonal Card Spread
Use your favorite oracle or tarot deck. Find a quiet space where you can be alone. Set the space. Shuffle well while you reflect on the past year and the path ahead. Take your time choosing each card, in whichever way your intuition guides you. Arrange them side by side in an arc face down and then turn them over one by one as you move through the list of questions.
Card 1 What is being illuminated for me at this time?
Card 2 Where do I shine?
Card 3 In what area of my life might I need more self awareness?
Card 4 What is my source of growth?
Card 5 Where might I need support moving along into the next half of the year?
What was happening in your life and in the greater collective one year ago?
How were you feeling then? How are you feeling now?
What have you unpacked and re-examined? What did you believe then that has evolved for you?
What is a personal seed, an intention or goal, that you may have planted a year ago that is blooming now?
What seed may you have planted a year ago for the collective that you have been tending to?
What are three things you are feeling grateful to others for?
What are three things you are feeling grateful to yourself for?