There are four key seasonal events defined by the Sun’s relationship to the Earth at certain recurring times of the year. These events are the Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Fall/Autumnal Equinox, and the Winter Solstice. An Equinox occurs twice yearly when the Sun crosses the celestial equator, around September 21 and March 21, and the length of day and the length of night are equal. A Solstice also occurs twice yearly when the Sun reaches the highest and lowest point in the sky at noon on the respective days, making for the longest and shortest days, around June 21 and December 21. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Summer Solstice is around June 21 and the Winter Solstice is around December 21.
This article will focus on the first Solstice of the year, which will take place on June 21. It will be the Summer Solstice for the Northern Hemisphere and the Winter Solstice for the Southern Hemisphere. Like all recurring and special celestial events, the Solstice is an important time of transition that means something profound in Astrology and our lives. Read on to find out about the meaning and importance of the Solstice in our spiritual life.
Dates, Times, Signs, and Degrees
The Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere will take place at 11:54 am EST on June 21, 2019. The Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere will take place at 5:54 pm SAST on June 21, 2019. In both cases, the Sun will be at 29 degrees and 59 minutes of Gemini (29d59m), then 00d00m Cancer. It is worth noting the Sabian symbol for 30 degrees of Gemini and 1 degree of Cancer.
The Sabian Symbol for 30 Gemini is “Bathing Beauties”. The keyword is CHARM. “When positive, the degree is a special capacity for bringing the familiar desires and interests to an enduring representation of worthiness, and when negative, regression to childish vanities” (238). The Sabian Symbol for 1 Cancer is “a furled and an unfurled flag displayed from a vessel”. The keyword is ADAPTABILITY. “When positive, the degree is a gift for highly profitable adjustment in every developing relationship with others, and when negative, vacillation if not complete instability” (240).
The Solstices and the Equinoxes are ideal times to perform a formal or ceremonial act or procedure prescribed or customary in spiritual work or religious observance. There are many ways to observe the Solstice through a ritual; one I prefer is walking a labyrinth. Conveniently, I have one on my property that my wife designed. It is very likely that a church, public garden, park, or museum near you would have a labyrinth you could walk on the day of the Solstice.
There are many other ways to perform a ceremonial act honoring the Solstice for your hemisphere. I ran a search on Google for Summer Solstice Rituals and found this excellent blog post: https://exploredeeply.com/live-your-purpose/five-beautiful-rituals-to-celebrate-summer-solstice-2018.
What to Focus on For the Summer Solstice
The Summer Solstice represents the fullness of life; it is the longest day the rays of the Sunshine on the Earth. If weather patterns are ideal, then all plants will be growing into completion and the fruits and vegetables will begin to peak and become ready for harvesting. It is the fullness of life that we should be celebrating in a focused way at this time, so your ritual should emphasize what you have completed and what will provide you with “sustenance” through the fall, winter, and spring. This day is one to measure your efforts in terms of your results, which can be viewed as one of the four times to check on your life progress, especially what you have “built to completion” or “grown to ripeness”.
Of the many rituals to choose from, the Summer Solstice is the one most concerned with gathering together, so it is an ideal time for family reunions, a friendships party, or a company event. Ideally, it would be fantastic to experience all three around the time of the Solstice. If you decide to perform a solitary ritual as well, then the intent should be to acknowledge your network of people who help you thrive in life. Also, sharing your abundance or giving time to others in need during this day and the days before and after, can be an excellent way to honor the Summer Solstice and generate goodwill, energetically, going into the time between Summer Solstices.
What to Focus on For the Winter Solstice
The Winter Solstice represents death in life; it is the shortest day the rays of the Sunshine on the Earth. If the weather has performed optimally during this cycle, then all plants will be dead above ground with the roots hibernating until spring reawakens them. It is the endings of the life cycle that we should be celebrating in a focused way at this time, so your ritual should emphasize letting go of situations, and even people, who need to be “put to rest”. This day is one to reflect, be in stillness, and observe what/who in your life will “survive the winter” and what/who will not.
Of the many rituals to choose from, the Winter Solstice is the one most concerned with letting go and exploring the darkness of our own shadows, to reflect on what we have lost in this year. Ideally this a period to see and understand if the efforts you have put in have yielded enough abundance to “see you through” the natural period of scarcity. In modern industrial parts of the world, we have largely eliminated the actual scarcity of resources in any physical way through global commerce and large-scale farming worldwide. But we can still honor the emotional and spiritual truth of these cycles in our lives.
If you decide to perform a group ritual as well as a solitary one, then the intent should be to share memories of loss, help each other address areas of need, and perform cord cutting or other kinds of releasing actions. While you may be familiar with the concept of “spring cleaning”, it is the Winter Solstice that should show us what needs to be “cleaned” when the energy of spring begins to visit us.