What is the summer solstice? It’s more than just the official first day of summer, the longest day of the year, and a great evening for a party. Throughout history and across many cultures, the summer solstice, which falls this year on Thursday, June 21, 2018, at 12:07 am EST/3:07 am PST, has symbolized growth, renewal, and fertility. The Celts celebrated the date with bonfires to fuel the sun’s energy; Pagans flocked to Stonehenge, the ancient stone circle in Wiltshire, England, to watch the rising sun align with the Heel and Slaughter Stones; and Plains Indians in Wyoming honored the date at the sacred Bighorn Medicine Wheel, designed to mark the sunrise and sunset on the summer solstice.
Even today, when light can be summoned via the flick of a switch, the sun’s journey can hold deep spiritual significance for human beings—reminding each of us to tap into our own power, and cherish our own path.
Here are a few summer solstice rituals for manifesting the summer of your dreams:
Cast a Love Spell
The ancients believed that magic was especially powerful on the eve of the solstice. Light a white candle to honor both the sun’s light and your own. Once you’ve amplified your love frequency, blow out the candle (mind the hot wax!) and carve any magical symbols that are meaningful to you into it. Now, relight the candle, focus on the beauty of its light, and invite love (just love—not the love of a particular person) to enter your life. In the days ahead, bring your thoughts back to the candle’s flame often. Your summer love is manifesting!
Set Your Intentions
Have a talisman or crystals? The summer solstice is an amazing time to reaffirm their purpose. If you have crystals, cleanse and energize them: Put them in a bowl of saltwater the day before the solstice (make sure your crystal can go in water; some, like Pyrite and Opal, should not be submerged). On the solstice, energize your crystals or talismans by bathing them in solstice sunlight and candlelight.
Make It Yours
The solstice can also be a day of quiet reflection. No matter how crazily packed your calendar is, create your own solstice ritual: gather with friends for a bonfire or picnic, meditate outside in the early morning, or just be especially mindful that you are soaking up healing solstice light every time you step outside. Happy solstice—and happy summer!
Photo: @brandonreinhardt via Twenty20
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This article originally appeared in June 2017 and was updated for 2018.