Summer is here, with the Sun into Cancer and the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. When the Sun is at its most northerly point, hovering over the astrological Tropic of Cancer, that's known as the summer solstice. The Earth is tilted on its axis, so like a sunflower, the Northern Hemisphere has its face toward the life-giving Sun.
The Sun is at its most powerful, and appears to stand still in the sky, and that's what solstice means in Latin. After the summer solstice, the Sun's rays will begin to light up more of the Southern Hemisphere, and days will start to shorten in the North.
The bright glowing orb we call The Sun is celebrated in many traditions at the summer solstice. There are fire dances, bonfires, and in the olden days, the ancients rolled fire wheels down the hills. There's also a long tradition of ritual bathing, dipping in the cleansing waters. Fire and water are celebrated at the summer solstice, along with the Earth as Mother Goddess, at her most abundant.
It's a celebration of the Earth, the feminine and the living natural world. It's one of the four cardinal turning points of the solar calendar, along with the Winter Solstice and the Spring and Fall Equinoxes.
For those living in harmony with nature's cycles, it's the season to harvest herbs and honey. Many couples still marry in June, at the peak of nature's abundance. Some traditions would feed the newlyweds honey-laced foods for the entire first month, which is where "honeymoon" comes from. The full Moon in June is the Honey Moon.
The summer solstice coincides with the Sun's ingress into Cancer, and the official start of the season. Cancer is the water cardinal sign of the mother, nurturing, and family. It's a high spirited time, when solar light is radiant and the feminine energies are in abundance, too. There are parades, picnics, festivals and celebrations of all kinds in the Northern Hemisphere at this time, often outdoors.
Becoming aware of these solar turning points tunes you into the natural rhythm of the seasons. The summer solstice is the peak of sunlight, and the Sun as radiant manna of all that grows, has been celebrated with feasts, dancing and just being together. After the solstice, the days begin to shorten slowly toward the Fall Equinox, when days and nights are equal again.