In a few days, thousands of people will converge at Stonehenge’s massive stone monoliths to celebrate the summer solstice of 2018, the first day of the summer for the Northern Hemisphere. June 21 marks the longest day of the year – and the shortest night because it is the moment when the sun is at its northernmost point, making it the farthest away from the Earth in our orbit. In astrology, summer solstice also marks when the sun moves into the sign of Cancer, highlighting the areas of home, family, memories, femininity and motherhood over the next few weeks.
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Throughout Europe, summer solstice traditions of maypole dancing and bonfires have existed for centuries in countries from Sweden to Finland and from Spain to Latvia, Russia and Ukraine. China, as well, celebrates the summer solstice along with the idea of “yin,” a feminine energy, American Indian tribes like the Sioux reportedly have traditions that celebrate the sun on the longest day of the year, and in Japan a ritual of purification is practiced during “Geshisai,” or the sunrise on the summer solstice.
While astrology doesn’t necessarily see the summer solstice as an “event,” many astrologers recognize that the official first day of summer is a great time to reflect on the interplay between your feminine and masculine energies, much like the yin and yang in traditional Chinese medicine and philosophy. In astrology, the sun represents male energy while the moon, the ruler of Cancer, is feminine. The masculine signs are Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius while the signs oriented towards the feminine are Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn and Pisces. Depending on what your sign is, consider ways to cultivate the opposing energy for the first day of summer.
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Some fitting ideas for summer solstice rituals include practicing yin yang yoga and taking some time to meditate on the duality of life represented by the masculine and feminine energy in all of us. Or adopt the European practice of building a bonfire and then use the power of the flames to set your intentions for the summer, write them on a piece of paper, and then throw it into the fire. Since we’re moving into the season of the sign of Cancer, which is linked to water and the tides, perform a ritualistic ablution of your own, whether an herb-filled bath or an energizing dip in the ocean.
The signs that will be most affected by the 2018 summer solstice will be Cancer, Leo and Virgo. Honor these energies by spending time with family and loved ones; tell your closest friends and family how much they mean to you; and show your love for your tribe through acts of generosity, humility and service.—By Valaer Murray Goldsworthy
Photo: @mysoul via Twenty20