I love noticing and marking, in simple ways, the solstice and equinox points of the year. The summer solstice, on 21st June, is the midpoint of the solar calendar, for some the real beginning of summer. Also known as Litha, it’s the day with the most daylight hours and the shortest night, a time of change and growth and abundance.
Celebrating it can be a wonderful way to reconnect with the world around us, but if you haven’t got the time, inclination or resources for a huge party, it’s still possible to mark this special time of year with virtually no preparation or planning. I’ve put together a dozen simple ideas to mark the solstice with simplicity, joy, creativity and quietude.
Observe sunrise and sunset, marking both with a simple moment of gratitude or lighting a candle. You can google for the time for your region - here in Devon sunrise is at 5am, and sunset at 9:30pm.
Review your January goals (word of the year/new years resolutions/2019 business plan. Call it what you will). Check in with your goals with kindness and optimism, and decide what is working for you, what’s achievable, what needs shifting, and what needs letting go of entirely. Don’t beat yourself up, just see this midway point as an opportunity to embrace the best bits of your January plans and release what isn’t right for you.
Begin a new morning or evening self care ritual. If there’s something you’ve been meaning to take up, whether it’s an hour or more screen free each morning, a yoga session, journalling, a daily walk or simply lighting a candle each morning, why not start it today? Litha is meant to be a time of change and abundance, so it seems the perfect time to develop a new self care habit.
Make flower crowns. This one requires a tiny bit more preparation, but there are loads of tutorials on Pinterest which require minimal supplies beyond, well, flowers.
The colours yellow and orange are strongly associated with the solstice. Whether it’s painting with your children using vibrant summer colours, lighting a coloured candle, enjoying a yellow crystal such as citrine, honey calcite and yellow jasper (I’m no huge crystal believer, but I strongly believe they are beautiful, and beautiful things can only improve one’s mindset, right?) or arranging a huge bunch of sunflowers or orange roses, this is the time to embrace all things sunshine-hued.
Have an electricity free day. The perfect way to remind us of our connection with the planet and responsibility to use the developments we’ve made as a species responsibly. Avoid using electric lights all day, eat cold foods or cook over a barbecue and, if you’re really brave, start the day with an ice cold shower. We’ve done these once or twice with our children and they love discussing all the different points in the day when we would usually use electricity, and how we can solve the problems that crop up without it.
Create a summer herbal tea blend. Elderflower and peppermint, or hibiscus, ginger and lemon are both delicious hot or cold (ingredients can all be found dried online, if you don’t have them in the garden right now).
Make flower mandalas. These can be as simple or as complicated as you please, and can use whatever you have to hand in the garden. Expertise absolutely no required. As always, Pinterest is my go-to source for inspiration here.
If you have the space, won’t disturb your neighbours, and can do so safely, have a solstice bonfire. Your own mini-sun to celebrate the single longest stretch we get in the company of the real one.
Eat one or all of your meals outside. If you can’t manage it, or the weather doesn’t play ball, make the time to sit on your doorstep with your morning beverage of choice. If those meals consist of either barbecues or picnics they’ll feel even more celebratory.
Freeze flower petals in ice cubes and enjoy them in a celebratory sundowner drink (elderflower cordial is perfect if you aren’t in the gin and tonic camp).
Go on a nature walk. Print out some flower, tree or bird spotting guides and see what you can find. It’s the longest day, you’ve got plenty of time to hunt!
If you decide to enjoy any of the mini-celebrations I’ve suggested above, I’d be beyond thrilled if you choose to share and tag me on Instagram @ochreandflax.