[Pigment offerings last Summer Solstice.]
WALKING WHEN THE SUN STANDS STILL
You are invited to walk the labyrinth at Whatever Works Wellness Center on June 21st, the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Just like the major lunar phases each month, sacred places have amplified energy on important yearly solar dates like the solstices.
The four directions come from the daily path of the Sun. It rises in the East at dawn, reaches its zenith in the South around noon, sets in the West at dusk, and is hidden below the North. In most spiritual traditions, light is associated with the South and darkness the North. Interestingly the solstices reverse this pattern. Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, the Sun rises and sets at its maximum northern distance from the equator.
Traditional cultures associate Summer Solstice with the North. Chinese emperors offered at the square Altar of the Earth then, in the northern part of the Forbidden City. Although summer is seen as yang (the masculine, light, day, fire), the site itself is associated with yin (the feminine, darkness, night, water). In Chinese yin-yang theory every extreme contains the seed of its opposite. Summer Solstice is the peak of light, every day after it increases in darkness until the Winter Solstice.
The corners of the labyrinth are roughly aligned to the cardinal directions, as are the stones in the center. During your Summer Solstice visit, you can pause at the areas that honor the North to connect with the day’s energy:
- Northern Corner: When you are at the entrance, the back right corner is the North. When you are walking the labyrinth, it is the last corner before you reach the center.
- Northern Stone: Standing stones link heaven and earth. They were used historically to mark seasonal celestial events on the local horizon. Unfortunately our urban location prevents us from truly doing this. When you enter the center, the standing stone immediately to your right is the North.
You can pray, meditate, set intentions, or offer at these northern stations. The Summer Solstice is the yearly solar equivalent to the monthly Full Moon. People across religious traditions harness this day of most light to:
- Align with the cycles of nature.
- Call on Divine light for energy work, healing, or to banish inner darkness.
- Call on the fruitfulness of summer, pray for abundance, fertility, or success.
- Bless and charge spiritual tools like crystals, flower essences, gem elixirs, etc.
- Personal and spiritual development, reach deeper meditative states.
I hope you can visit this Summer Solstice! This is not a scheduled group event, just an invitation to visit sometime today. Specific times are stronger energetically, the daily turning points of the Sun (dawn, noon, dusk) and the actual solstice time (1:16 p.m. Eastern Time). If you can’t visit on the 21st, the day before and after are also strong. The Sun appears to rise and set in the same location for three days during a solstice.
C. L. Matthews, 2011
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