Well-known for being celebrated at Stonehenge, Summer Solstice is an important event that only arrives once a year. Not only is it the longest day, but it marks the beginning of summer. Summer Solstice is a significant event here in the UK, throughout history. Our ancestors would have relied on the sunlight for their way of life – so the sun arriving in all of its majesty would have been a cause for celebration. For some, Solstice allows us to ground our energy towards the earth; this way, we receive the illuminated frequency sourced from the sun. Consider a ritual for the occasion.
If you’re interested in the science, we have broken down the meaning of Summer Solstice. During the Solstice, the earth’s axis is tilted at its closest point to the sun. So this means that the sun is at its highest point in the northern hemisphere in the sky. This position makes this special day in June the longest day of the year - and the shortest night. And – perhaps, you’re wondering: it doesn’t fall on the same calendar day every year. It tends to flit between June 20th, 21st and 22nd.
Summer Solstice Ritual Essentials
• Best crystal cluster for the Solstice: Citrine Crystal Clusters
• Best crystal candle for Solstice: Summer Solstice Soy Wax and Crystal Candle
• Best incense to burn during Solstice: Satya Incense Sticks
• Best sacred wood for Solstice fire ritual: Palo Santo Sacred Wood
• Best journal for Solstice: Mindfulness and Gratitude 30-Day Notebook
So, what has Stonehenge got to do with the beginning of summer? Well, as Stonehenge was thought to be erected in 2500 B.C., we may never know what purpose it has – and why many flock there during this time of year. But, we have a few ideas… Supposedly, they were “carefully designed to align with the movements of the sun,” says English Heritage. During the Solstice, when standing in the centre of this prehistoric monument, the sun rises and can be “seen through a gap in the outer sarsen circle.” There is a second alignment to the southwest for the Winter Solstice, too.
Our ancestors likely gathered at Stonehenge during the solstices to conduct rituals and ceremonies to mark the changing season. And - doesn’t a celebration sound fabulous on the longest day of the year? After all, it’s a warm night and the daylight is long – perfect for a gathering. All over the world, the Summer Solstice is marked by fire festivals, song circles and dances. So, at home in the UK, what are you going to do? How will you pay respect to the sun – and thanks it for its continued power, giving us heat and light? We’ve found some great Summer Solstice rituals.
Summer Solstice Rituals
First, came Beltane – on May 1st. Now, it’s time to honour the midsummer with a ritual of gratitude. For many, the Solstice holds a deeper meaning for elements such as life, fertility and the cycle of time. So, whether spirituality or nature, the sunshine is out. That’s cause for celebration, enough. Now, how to celebrate Summer Solstice.
If you can't make it to Stonehenge for the festivities, we have some at-home rituals for Solstice. Overall, the easiest and most important ritual for summer solstice is to experience the outdoors; here, you can appreciate nature and thank the sun. Don't forget to think about your ancestors, too. May this date bring you joy, love, and light in your life.
Observe the Sun
On this day, the simplest thing you can do is watch the sunrise and sunset. Many of us give our thanks simply by observation. So, keep your sunset lamp switched off for June 21st. Simply, pick a place to sit and revel in the sun’s majesty. Sounds ideal, right? Remember to pack sunscreen.
Create an Earth Mandala
Or, perhaps you know this better as an outdoor altar. You require seasonal items, stones, crystals, fallen branches and flower petals for this. You could even pick herbs like sunflowers, lavender, mint, rosemary, and basil. Plus, by decorating with beautiful fabrics and ribbon cuttings, you’re recognising all of the bold colours that the sun is able to show us. Light a crystal candle, too.
Here, you have a spot to honour the bounty and beauty of the season, as well as bask in the sun’s warming glow. By setting your intentions and going with your intuition, you’ll have something beautiful to mark the cycle of nature. Go above and beyond. When choosing the best crystals for the Summer Solstice, gemstones with the ability to absorb light energy from the sun when placed outdoors will work a treat:
Best crystal cluster for the Solstice
Citrine can serve as a reminder that luck and opportunity are always around the corner. Not only
Best crystal towers for Solstice
When assembling your outdoor altar, consider these carnelian crystal towers. Simply, prop them up
Best tumbled stones for Solstice
Looking for love? These Garnet Crystal Tumbled Stones may manifest your deepest desires come
Best crystal candle for Solstice
Just in time for midsummer, we love this Summer Solstice Soy Wax and Crystal Candle. It's full of
Meditate or Practice Yoga Outdoors
During midsummer, curating inner peace is something you can strive for. If you’re not very social and want to perform an independent ritual, then either yoga or meditation will be a great option.
First, with yoga, there is a fabulous flow named “Sun Salutation”, which is perfect for midsummer, as you’re giving thanks to the sun. Not only that, but this flow can channel the body’s strength and vitality. It can aid blood circulation, the lungs, nervous system, and heart, as well as joints and muscles. By combining harmony with physical practice, yoga can become engrained in your daily routine.
Try this flow...
Meditation, on the other hand, is a less physical way to give your thanks. Sometimes, all it takes is sitting with yourself in the moment. Remember: don’t focus on clearing your mind. When outdoors – preferably in your garden – place your undivided attention on things around you: the buzzing insects, the grass gently whistling in the breeze and that familiar, warming glow from the sun.
This will, in turn, nourish your mind, as it gives thanks to life, vitality and warmth.
Consider enhancing your practice by lighting some incense sticks…
Best incense to burn during Solstice
To enhance your Sun Salutation or deepen your mindfulness, incense can be useful. For Summer
Honour the sun’s brilliance with a fire ritual. This can take a few forms. As mentioned before, lighting a candle is a small way you can show your appreciation for the sun. However, if you can access a garden, why not push the boat out with a bonfire? This is a popular ritual. In Demark, they build fires to burn an effigy of a witch, much like our Bonfire Night in November with an effigy of Guy Fawkes. However, we're not keen on a witch hunt.
Summer is here! It's prime time to gather your favourite people for a long night of celebrations. The more, the merrier. For your shindig, serve drinks, food, and some folk music. Simple – and fun. For further healing, the Seasonal Soul recommends picking a regret, a source of anxiety or even a memory, writing it down on a scrap of paper and after a deep breath, throwing it into the fire. Watch the tantalising flames as they flicker and burn your worries away...
Instead of a witch, we recommend burning sacred wood (like Palo Santo) and herbs in the bonfire to enhance gratitude. Remember to collect the ashes and keep them for future rituals.
Best sacred wood for Solstice fire ritual
Not only will you be giving thanks to the sun, but Palo Santo keeps the mosquitoes away... We can
Set your intentions
As Solstice is a time for love, light, positive change and hope, what better time to review your annual goals? Whether personal or professional, Solstice offers a great time to rethink and reflect. This could be habits you want to break or positive changes you may want to implement into your daily routine. Or, even affirmation.
To capture your feelings and to set your intentions, we recommend scribbling down everything in a regular or affirmation journal. Speak them out loud if you think they may help the manifest. Remember: be kind to yourself. Ellen Kinsey, one of our contributors, says: "Words are like spells - affirmations are scientifically proven magic."
Best journal for Solstice
This Mindfulness and Gratitude 30-Day Notebook gives you things to focus on, such as aspects of
How is Summer Solstice celebrated across the world?
Believe it or not, it’s now just Europe and the UK that celebrate Solstice. Different cultures and societies around the world give thanks to the Sun. After all, the Sun unites us, and sustains us. So, if you’re curious about who celebrates Summer Solstice, we’ve got a speedy trip across the globe.
Who celebrates Summer Solstice?
Sweden – has recently received some attention due to the horror movie by director Ari Aster. However, midsommar is “marked by decadent indulgence and rooted in paganism” and is a very important event in the Swedish calendar, “which unite Swedes of all ages.” says Culture Trip.
Estonia and Latvia – are two of many countries that light a bonfire during Solstice. They believe that the fire “scares mischievous harvest-ruining spirits” – and the bigger, the better, says Wanderlust. Estonia, specifically, believes “that not lighting the fire invites fire into the home.”
Denmark – has an interesting tradition, though it’s not very Pagan-friendly. As previously mentioned, “burning a witch figure on top of the fire, usually made from straw and cloth, as it is believed that witches convene on solstice night,” says Wanderlust – to keep witchcraft away.
Spain - alongside European countries such as places such as Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia and Spain, partake in a potentially-dangerous tradition: jumping over the bonfire. According to Wanderlust, in Spain, “they shout 'meigas!', meaning 'witches off!', to bring prosperity”.
Iceland – revels in the Solstice, which is also referred to as the Midnight Sun or Jonmessa. Though Jonmessa comes from John the Baptist, the festivities aren’t wholly religious. Iceland celebrates by pushing the boat out with a huge three-day Secret Solstice Midnight Sun Music Festival.
USA – is a vast country, but they aren’t keen on missing out. For example, New York holds a Summer Solstice event that sounds equal parts communal and spiritual. At Time’s Square, there is a day-long yoga event “which sees hundreds of yogis join together to practice,” says Culture Trip.
Piper Huxley is a Homes, Garden and Wellness Product Writer for Spirit & Destiny, an all-rounder: from health to spirituality. When not at her desk, she’s practising yoga or in deep reflection.