Rhythm. It could almost be a synonym for the word ‘Life’ itself.
The gentle or fierce tapping of the rain. Our heartbeats. The inflection of different languages. A poem. And of course, time and seasons.
Embracing the rhythm of life allows me to fully appreciate it and connect with it. As a consequence, I feel better about myself and the world around me, which ultimately brings up positivity and serenity. All it takes is an observing eye and a will to let go, to rid yourself of everyday structures which ‘hold you back’ and put you into a track defined by unnatural standards. Modern life certainly has a way of sucking up all our energy in a vortex that can get out of control, but taking the time to sit quietly and listening to ourselves, even if only for a few minutes, really does wonders. As a result we feel more grounded and ‘in tune’.
Celebrating the solstice for me is celebrating life and its rhythms. It’s also an occasion for reassessment and renewal. Meditating on the two opposites that make up the whole, i.e. Light and Darkness, induces insight and acceptance of all situations in our lives that might cause some worrying. According to the tradition, the summer solstice is the perfect time to set out new goals and express your deepest desires. There is no need to be a pagan, I find, to make this perspective yours and to find a reason to celebrate. Whichever your belief, this chance of stopping for a second, feeling grateful for the light, the sun, the food we eat, the people who work in and out of the fields to bring it onto our plates, just to name a few, is something worth considering.
Up until last year, it’s been ‘only’ a personal celebration, but this time around, thanks to my son, I have decided to incorporate some ‘tangible’ things and visible actions, too. Them alone would not do the trick. I could paint the house yellow to honour the sun. for instance, but if I then forget about the spiritual side well, for me and my family it would seem rather meaningless after all.
Tangible elements like a bonfire, a wreath hanging at the front door or whatever you fancy, when used to reinforce the spiritual celebration, can have an impressive evocative power. Symbolysm isn’t a new science and for good reason. It helps ‘fix’ concepts in our memories, especially as it requires some extra effort to be put in place and this makes the whole experience a lot more unforgettable. Finally, sharing the celebration with other people makes it even more special and this year we’ll have a couple of friends over, too.
So what is our Summer solstice this year going to include?
– a small fire. We found a rusty old brazier which should do the trick!
– food of course. I will be baking a ‘Sun’ bread (not quite the Scandinavian type) with my little doughy daughter (my sourdough starter…), then there’ll be some veggies from our patch some roasted and some grilled, a red lentil soup and a dessert featuring turmeric to give it that golden glow we’re after.
– two little sun shaped necklaces for our children to wear (will become a cute keepsake I think…)
– smudging – to purify the air of our tiny home (it’s been recently discovered that, ritual purposes aside, smudging does actually rid your air from bacteria!)
– picking St. John’s wort (hypericum perforatum) for the uses I’ll illustrate in a future post AND harvesting walnuts. No, I’m not crazy, I will harvest green (unripe) walnuts on the solstice morning because that’s when they’re perfect for making ‘Nocino’: a traditional Italian liqueur which will make a lovely Christmas gift (see? I’m getting good at this organization thing!).
Truth be told, the secret to perfect Nocino is in the consistency of the nuts: if you can easily pierce them with a needle, then that’s when they can be picked and usually it’s always around the solsitce time. I checked earlier just to be sure and you can see from the picture the result!
Anyway, off to finish my preparations… and if you’d like to share with me what you’ll be doing, well I’d be very interested!
Shining love to you 🙂