More than just the longest day of the year, the upcoming summer solstice has a spiritual significance that originated thousands of years ago. Though pagans are best known for commemorating this time of year, people across all cultures have found meaning in the changing of the seasons, and many still do today. Read on to learn about the spiritual side of the summer solstice.
Historical Roots of Summer Solstice
Throughout history, many groups around the world have observed the summer solstice as a way to celebrate the importance of the sun to the continuation of life. The ancient Celts in modern-day Ireland, for instance, celebrated the solstice with bonfires that demonstrated and amplified the sun’s power. In Europe, Christians aligned the feast of St. John the Baptist with the solstice. In China, people celebrated Li, known as the Chinese goddess of light. In Egypt, people commemorated the victory of the sun god over the god of darkness.
As devotees to the natural rhythms of the universe, for thousands of years pagans have seen many layers of significance in the summer solstice. For pagans, this day also calls for a celebration of life, as the goddess reaches the pinnacle of her power and the height of her fertility. Pagans observe the union of the god and the goddess, as the season of growth and harvest commences. Pagans view the season as part of the larger annual cycle, each part of which is a cause for celebration. A tarot reading can tell you more about your most significant times of year.
One of the most famous prehistoric wonders of the world, Stonehenge was created to celebrate the solstice. Built some 4,000 years ago, this stone structure was aligned with the solstice sunrise. When the sun comes up, it rises over the Heel Stone and shines brightly down the main avenue of the structure, greeting the day and its observers.
Ancient Egyptian structures, too, reflect the importance of the sun. From the perspective of the Sphinx, the sun sets right in between the two largest pyramids on the evening of the solstice. This may represent a recreation of birth and fertility in reverse.
Solstice Celebrations Today
Many contemporary solstice celebrations commemorate the season and the changing days by centering on fireworks and community. Though today’s events may look different, they still focus on the power of the sun and the importance of living each day to the fullest. With an emphasis on the dominance of nature, the pleasure from the warm sun, and the connections with neighbors and family, today’s observations allow for a moment of contemplation in a busy life. After all, though the solstice is sometimes referred to as midsummer, it’s both the first day of the season and also the beginning of shorter days.
Across culture and time, many people pay homage to the sun and everything it stands for on the summer solstice. If you feel a deep connection to any of these historical celebrations, a past life reading can tell you more.