I am on the east coast, and there’s nothing like that feeling of noticing that it’s 9pm…and the sky is still holding onto brushes of light.
Whether you live in the western desert or the northeast wetlands, the longest day of the year is symbolic of the moment when the sun begins its subtle shift southward. The days becoming shorter, signaling the end of summer on the very day that summer begins.
The summer solstice is the metaphor of endings that are beginnings—today is a good reminder that whatever is happening in your life right now, whether it be joy and celebration or death and suffering, is not permanently stuck in time and space. Everything is revolving. Which doesn’t mean that everything is fine, perfect, or just—it just means that what is happening now can change. How the change will happen is wildly dependent on the actions we take.
Like fire. It may seem like a constant state of heat and flame, but nothing is constant about such a rapid, persistent chemical reaction that releases both heat and light simultaneously and can flare up within seconds.
Marking this long day of days with a fire ritual (no matter if by candlelight or bonfire) is a way to honor the light as the fuel of cycles—both personal, and systemic. Right now, political power is revealing the cruelty and inhumanity that has always been in the shadows. Marking the light, even in the darkest of days, is a survival technique. Take time to notice it today—and trigger the power of the smallest changes. Remember that light is changing, even now during these cruel times as a malevolent force is at work, harming so many people and threatening to wreck even more.
Watch the fire transform wood into smoke (or wick into flame); honor the ever-changing state of your physical/psychic/emotional skyfield.
Wherever you are in relation to the hemispheres, you can observe the summer solstice by locating yourself within the specifics of your space and time.
Notice: what is to the north of you, and what is to the south? Where is the nearest body of water, or the nearest mountain? What ground lies beneath you, and what is happening to the earth beneath your feet?
The sun is a powerful, magnetic source of light. Give it your anger. Give it your resentments and your failures, your feelings of inferiority and your disappointments. Give it your outrage.
In return, take the light into your body and feel grounded to the earth. To your breath, and to your human connections.
Take action. Write a poem, song, letter…commit to getting involved with social movements that are fueling just causes. Feel the heat and speak your truth out loud. Draw a scribble that represents these things.
Give it to the sun. Throw the scribble into the fire. Release it from your body, feel it chemically transform into heat and flame.
Allow the sun to leave a poem in the release of all that.
Breathe into the space that has been left behind. Fill it with purpose and resolve. Let go of what no longer serves you, but hold onto the energy of what has been left behind.
Sleep, and dream. Upon waking, write down your morning thoughts. Welcome the day that marks the day after the first, and last, day of summer.
Two poems for the summer solstice:
Frank O’Hara’s A TRUE ACCOUNT OF TALKING TO THE SUN AT FIRE ISLAND
CA Conrad’s I Hope I’m Loud When I’m Dead Somatic Poetry Ritual that purges and reconciles negativity:
human cruelty through
I am haunted by
our actions since
you said too much poetry
I said too much war
the biggest mistake for
love is straining…”