|Celebrating the Summer Solstice
In ceremony we bring together
We allow our world to be illuminated
Birthing, growing, maturing, dying, and rebirthing.
Ceremonies reflect our knowing:
Doing ceremony together,
At the very heart of shamanic living,
The Summer Solstice is the longest day and the shortest night of the year. Following this Solstice, the days get shorter, the nights longer. The dark slowly begins to take over the cycle until we arrive at the time of Winter Solstice. In some cultures, Summer Solstice is also known as "Midsummer's Night" and the ceremonies begin with twilight. For others, the ceremony begins with Sunrise, continues through the day and the night. While in the Far North, the Sun shines continuously--a blessing for those who endured the long, long months of darkness. Here celebrations may continue for several days.
At Summer Solstice, the Sun and Earth align in such a way as to assist all growing things to come into their fullness. Thus, the Summer Solstice ceremonies are often full of dancing, singing, costumes and theatrical performances, feasting. It is a time when Earth and all her inhabitants join in mutual celebration and ecstasy. A time of rejoicing for the blessings bestowed from the marriage of Heaven and Earth.
Unless a Circle is already part of some ongoing shamanic tradition with traditional Solstice ceremonies, it is usually best for a Circle to journey and discover what ceremonies and celebrations to do. Just as individuals are learning from their helping Spirits new ways of doing shamanic healing, special dances and songs, so also Circles can learn from Spirits new ceremonies appropriate to them and to this time in which we live.
With the thought that some Circles might not have done Solstice Ceremonies before, here are some suggestions of how you might focus your intentions as you plan your activities. Generally speaking, shamanic Summer Solstice Ceremonies focus on the themes of fulfillment, enlightenment, abundance, sharing, and the joy of living on this beautiful EarthHome.
These are examples of journeys for what to do once you have gathered, prepared your place of gathering, called upon the Spirits to join you, and created the container within which to do your Circle ceremonial activities. Again, we suggest journeying before the Solstice so that you can then include what you are shown in your Solstice gathering.
Journey for ceremonies that have as their focus:
1) Honoring the Light both within and without...how can you increase the healing Light of your Circle.
2) Doing a Fire ceremony that honors the gift of Fire. Fire partakes of the Sun and is considered the Sun within the Earth.
3) How can you as an individual and your Circle increase in your vitality and what activities can you do together (drumming, chanting, dancing) that give of your vitality to Earth and other beings.
4) Making a Prayer Stick or Prayer Tree upon which you place specific prayers for those who need healing, for the return to peace where there is no peace, for abundance in areas of the world where there is now poverty and scarcity.
5) How to absorb the beneficent power and strength from the Earth and Sun into your minds, bodies, hearts and souls just as are the plants, animals and other beings now drawing power and strength during this time.
6) Creating a Circle that sends healing love to others round the Earth.
One of the most important things to remember about ceremony is that it is a way for humans to give back to Creation some of the energy and blessings that we are always receiving. Mother Earth constantly gives us two leggeds and other creatures a surface on which to place our feet. The Sun's warmth provides the heat necessary for all living beings to prosper. The relationship of Earth, Sun, and Moon is the matrix within which all living beings evolve during their sojourn here on Earth. All ceremonies bring an awareness of this Unity with the larger Web of Being and Becoming.
"As Above, so Below" and "As without, so within" reflect the understanding that ceremonies are most powerful when the intention and the purpose of the ceremony is to align ourselves with what is occurring within the larger Web, the greater Pattern.
Just as the Solstice signifies the time when MotherEarth is at the fullness of her strength, fertility, and abundance, so we too can celebrate the strength in joining together, pollinate our spiritual consciousness through sharing, and do ceremonies of thanksgiving for the abundance in which we partake daily. We can offer prayers for those who go without the body's essentials for shelter, food, and nourishment for their spirits. Prayers for those caught up in our human conflicts that lead to war, exile, and disintegration. Seek guidance from our Spirit helpers and with our Circles on how we might bring more prospering to All.
Celebrate Celebrate Celebrate
Please do sign up with us if you are going to be doing a Solstice Ceremony. And, please do send us a description of the activities that your Circle does. In this way, we can share with others round the world, witness upon behalf of the Spirits, and slowly create a Web of ceremonies which might be useful in the coming seasons as we learn more and more about living in a shamanic Ceremonial and Sacred Way.
May our Ceremonies
with the Great Mountains
May our Ceremonies
May all the Spirits help us
written by Carol Proudfoot-Edgar
material on the this page is the property of Tending Sacred Circles, April 21, 1998
This page was first posted on April 21, 1998.