Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,
In the northern hemisphere we approach the celebration of the summer solstice, the longest day.
The seasons are connected to the different cardinal directions, as well as the four elements. Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th century Benedictine Abbess, allied the direction of the south and the season of summer with the element of fire. We find a similar connection in the Native American Cherokee tradition.
We might think of summer as the season of fire and stoking our passions. It is the season of coming to fullness connected to the Hour of noon and midday, when the sun reaches its peak in the sky. It is the time of fruitfulness, when blossom gives way to sweet abundance of berries and peaches, delicate lettuces and gorgeous tomatoes.
While Beltane on May 1st invited us to tend to the very first fruits of summer’s arrival, the Summer Solstice announces the time for full fruits and an extravagance of color and sweetness in the world around us.
To honor the coming of summer in ritual, consider facing the direction of the south and taking some deep breaths. Let your breath draw your awareness down to your heart center, the place where the mystics tell us the living flame of love dwells within us. You might place a candle on your altar to remember the fire alive within you and the world.
Spend some time in meditation on what your own passions are. What would you like to kindle? Where have been the sparks of joy in your life? What is coming to full fruitfulness? How might you welcome in your own growing fullness?
To enter more deeply into the gifts of the Summer Solstice and the Feast of John the Baptist, consider registering for our yearlong Sacred Seasons program with a mini-retreat for each of the eight turning points of the Celtic wheel of the year.
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Photo © Christine Valters Paintner