Embrace the Light: How to Celebrate a Solstice like a Pro

Photo by Magenta

For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the summer is finally here, and there’s nothing quite like the warm sunshine and long days that come with it. As the peak of the season approaches, we have the opportunity to celebrate the summer solstice – the longest day of the year. For those of you in The Southern Hemisphere, it’s the shortest day. Which ever one it is for you, the Solstice has a rich history and offers plenty of opportunities for celebration and reflection. Whether you’re interested in ancient traditions or modern-day festivities, there are countless ways to honour the changing of the seasons. In this ultimate guide to celebrating the summer (or winter) solstice, we’ll explore the history, significance, and different ways to celebrate this magickal day.

The history and significance of the Solstice

The summer solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years, dating back to ancient civilizations such as the Mayans, Egyptians, and Druids. This day marks the official start of summer and the longest day of the year. In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice usually falls between June 20th and June 22nd and has significant spiritual and cultural meaning for many people. For example, in pagan traditions, it is known as Litha and is generally seen as a time of fertility, abundance, and growth. It’s also associated with the goddess and the divine feminine. In modern times, the summer solstice is celebrated around the world with festivals, music, and outdoor activities. So, it’s a time to come together and celebrate the beauty and power of the sun. 

Celebrating the Winter Solstice is a way to reconnect with nature and honour the changing seasons as the light begins to return. In ancient Rome, the Winter Solstice was celebrated with a week-long festival known as Saturnalia. During this time, the city was adorned with greenery and lights, and people exchanged gifts and feasted together. In Norse mythology, the Winter Solstice was celebrated with a festival that honoured the god Odin and included feasting, drinking, and the burning of a Yule log. Maybe you still honour these traditions? Whatever your traditions may be, the Winter Solstice can be the perfect time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the new one with hope and optimism.

Different ways to celebrate the Solstice

The Solstice is a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature and celebrate the changing of the seasons. There are many different ways to honour this special day, depending on your interests and beliefs. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Bonfires and Fire Rituals

Bonfires have been a traditional part of solstice celebrations for centuries. They represent the power and warmth of the sun and are a way to connect with the elements of fire and earth. Many people gather around the fire to sing, dance, and tell stories. In some cultures, jumping over the fire is seen as a way to purify oneself and bring good luck for the coming year.

Fire rituals are another way to honour the Solstice. They can involve writing down things you want to release or let go of and burning them in the fire. This can be a powerful way to symbolise letting go of the past and embracing new beginnings.

Feasting for the Solstice

Food and drink are an important part of any celebration, and the Solstice is no exception. Many cultures have traditional foods that are eaten on this day. Build a feast around what is special about the season for you where you live, maybe this is strawberries and cream to celebrate the summer solstice or for the winter solstice, enjoying some warm and comforting beverages like hot cocoa or mulled wine.

Activities for celebrating the Solstice

The summer solstice is a great time to get outside and enjoy the warmth and sunshine. There are many outdoor activities you can do to celebrate this special day. You could go for a hike, have a picnic, or go swimming in a lake or river. You could also take a bike ride, go camping, or have a barbecue with friends and family. Whatever outdoor activity you choose, make sure to soak up the sun and enjoy the beauty of nature.

If you’re looking to celebrate the Winter Solstice, take some time to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the year to come. This might involve journaling, meditating, or simply spending some quiet time alone in nature. Another important aspect of preparing for a Winter Solstice celebration is creating a cosy and inviting atmosphere at home. This might involve decorating your home with candles, greenery, and other seasonal touches. 

Celebrate the light this Solstice

One of the most meaningful aspects of celebrating the Solstice is acknowledging the amount of light is going to change. It’ll either start to increase or decrease, if you’re heading into spring or autumn. Think about creating rituals and ceremonies that honour the light. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Lighting candles: Lighting candles at sunrise or sunset is a popular Solstice ritual that symbolises the return of the light or the waning of the light. You might choose to light a single candle, or a series of candles that represent different aspects of the season.

Meditating: Taking time to meditate on ‘change’ can be a powerful way to connect with the energy of the season. You might choose to meditate on your things you want to change, or set some intentions for the season, or simply spend some time in quiet reflection. 

Connecting with nature: Of course going outside doesn’t need to be a summertime thing. If you’re celebrating the Winter Solstice right now, this is still a great way to connect with the natural rhythms of the seasons, the amount of light and appreciate the beauty of the landscape. 

Cultivating gratitude: Taking time to appreciate the simple pleasures of the season, like warm blankets and hot cocoa for the wintertime or the abundance of plants and animals in the summertime, can help cultivate a sense of gratitude and contentment.

Remember to have fun

The Solstice is a magickal time of year, filled with warmth and light. Whether you’re interested in ancient traditions or modern-day festivities, there are countless ways to celebrate this special day. From bonfires to feasting to quiet meditation practise, there’s something for everyone. So, enjoy yourself this Solstice.

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Published by Magenta School of Magick

We are a school for people who want to learn the 'philosophy and art of affecting change through (so far at least) unseen causes', also known as 'magick'.

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