Honouring The Sun On The Solstice

Solstice, Stonehenge

SOLSTICE – Sun enters Cancer

– Tuesday 21 June (10:14 GMT+1)

If all goes well, I’ll be on a beach in Greece during the Solstice. It’s my first holiday abroad since 2019 as, like for most of us, travel has been off the agenda for some time.

I’ve had to double-check what you need to do when you’re travelling as I’m out of practise. I’m not taking my computer with me and I’m planning a week of some serious down-time.

Sun Standing Still

It’s not a bad way to spend this week’s major astrological event, the Sun’s move into Cancer heralding the Solstice. This is the mid-point in the year which brings a change of season.

In the northern hemisphere, this coincides with the longest day of the year and the official start of summer. In the southern hemisphere, it’s reversed with the shortest day of the year as the nights grow longer.

Solstice means ‘sun (sol) standing still’ i.e. the Sun is at its highest or lowest point before it changes into a new season.

Traditionally, the Solstice is the time of the year to honour the Sun. Many traditions include building bonfires as fire & heat are associated with the Sun. You could have a fire pit or light candles if the sun’s not blazing down wherever you are.

Tropical Astrology

The Solstice & Equinox dates are the four key markers in the year when the Sun enters the four cardinal star signs beginning a new season – Aries (March 20), Cancer (June 21), Libra (September 23) & Capricorn (December 21).

These markers are essential in western astrology as the zodiac is aligned with these four points in the astrological calendar. The foundations & cornerstones of western astrology.

The History of the Solstice

Here’s an excerpt from an article that I believe was in the Guardian honouring this important time of year. It’s from a few years back and sadly I no longer have the journalist’s name.

“The summer solstice by definition transcends borders, religions, ethnicities. It unites rather than divides.

Reassuringly, it harks back to a time long before Hinduism and Buddhism had entered the world’s consciousness, far earlier than the three great Abrahamic faiths that divided the planet’s population into rival God-fearing monotheists.

In our endlessly, celestially revolving world the solstice demands a moment of stillness and reflection.

Its very etymology – from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) – indicates that almost miraculous point of transition, sandwiched between cycles of movement, when the sun appears from Earth to have reached its most northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator and then, after “standing still”, reverses course.

It is the longest day, the triumph of the sun, a celebration of midsummer and a marker that the days will start to shorten.

For a fleeting moment the entire year is on hold, a moment of flux and suspense beautifully caught in Margaret Atwood’s words.

 Solstice Poem

This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath, the door
of a vanished house left ajar.

Ancient Times

The summer solstice once marked the beginning of calendars, the season of harvest, the ancient middle of summer: a time to celebrate fertility and the life-giving strength of the sun in a pre-industrial environment.

In today’s less rural world, for many people that ancient connection with the cycle of nature has been lost. Yet our fascination with the solstice remains curiously undimmed, as though deeply embedded in our ancestral memory.”

There is something so hopeful about the Solstice. The ancient tradition of honouring the Sun connects us to the distant past and the comforting repetition of the Sun’s movement is a dependable anchor in our lives day  in, day out.

It represents the symbolism of the promise of a new day, a new dawn. The quality of the moment when the sun rises and the light returns, brings with it hope and a feeling of peace that the dark hours are behind you.

Many ancient cultures honoured the Sun and built temples in alignment with the Sun’s passage through the sky. One of the most famous is Stonehenge – see photo above.

As this is an ideal time of year to honour the Sun, here’s one of my favourite poems to complete this article dedicated to the Solstice. How will you honour the Sun?

The Sun Never Says

by Hafiz

Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe Me.”

Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.

May you have a blessed & enlightening Solstice experience.

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