Alban Heruin or Summer Solstice as it is known, is the brightest festival of the year.
The Sun is at full strength and it is traditionally a time of abundance in everything. You can see it in Nature, plants are blooming, trees are in full colour, the tides feel stronger and everything is just a little brighter. Seeds on plants are being given life ready to fall and be born again next year to spread their light on the world.
Find a picture of a Sunflower and look at all the beautiful seeds in it’s centre, imagine them as new spirits ready to come into the world next year and brighten their surroundings and lift people’s spirits with their colourful dancing heads, those that don’t get to grow into flowers will serve another purpose by feeding birds and even humans that enjoy them as a treat, so nothing is ever wasted. Life is full and abundant right now and we are all part of it, if we allow ourselves to be.
Nature is part of us and we are part of it. We live surrounded by the natural world, but many of us take it for granted, some of us see it in similar ways to how we see ‘things’, not as important as other things in our lives. Others see it as a complementary part of life. Everything in Nature is as alive as we are, both the seen and the unseen. We can sense it even if we don’t understand it. We co exist with many interesting beings who have so many things to teach us if we just slow down, connect and listen.
This is the time of balance and culmination, the longest day of the year, druids gather at Stonehenge to acknowledge the power of the Sun and light in our lives, something we often forget about in our daily lives when we are wrapped up in everyday business and dealing with many things on many levels, but if you can, take the time to be present on this wonderful day. Even if you don’t feel wonderful at all, even if your life seems to be at its lowest ebb, I promise you will feel better, if only for a day.
There is a little personal ceremony you can do at this time that will lift a and strengthen you no matter how you are feeling, please take the time to try it :
For just one day, I want you to live in the present moment with your inner self, the part of you that knows how to speak with nature and the energies around you. It is important to get outside, into nature itself. It doesn’t matter if you are living in a city with very little nature around you, you can still go outside. If you can find a patch of grass, no matter how small and stand barefoot on it you will have a contact with the earth. If you really cannot find a place to do this on grass then take a small plant out with you and let that be your focus.
Stand with your feet flat on the ground, about shoulder width apart and just breathe, try to relax your body as much as you can and become aware of your feet making contact with the ground. Take time to really lock this feeling in your mind. If you have your eyes open and you are not on grass, use this time to focus on the plant in front of you and really see it as you feel the connection to the earth below your feet. Look at it in wonder and see how it survives, with all it needs close by. If you are out in the countryside or just in a small garden become aware of the grass beneath your feet and feel every blade making contact with your bare feet.
Once you have made that contact allow yourself to think about the things that worry or upset you in your life right now, the things that distract you from being happy. The things that often come into your mind when you least expect it, acknowledge them and let them slide from your mind, down your body and into your feet. Take the time to make sure they are all down at your feet, beneath you. Now let them slide out of your feet and see them falling down into the earth, as deep as you can go. For this one day in the year you are letting go of them, you are surrendering them into the earth where they will be transformed into life giving energy. The earth transmutes the negative and wasteful into new life.
As soon as they are gone, take a cleansing breath and look up into the sky, you don’t have to do anything to make it beautiful, it is just there as you look up, take another slow breath and feel the energy from above the sky coming down into the top of your head as a beautiful clean light, it washes over you and through you and goes down into the earth anchoring you to it.
While you are feeling anchored, allow yourself to think of all the things you like about your life and yourself, allow yourself to be proud of your achievements, how you look and the power of love that you hold inside you. Think about things that make you happy, the things you are grateful for in your life, this is your time to be thankful for simply being alive and being the person that you are. Do not allow any of the negative things you have just sent down into the earth to rise into your mind. If they do push them back down and focus only on the things you are happy with. You can always pick the things you don’t like back up again tomorrow, but for today you will focus only on the good inside.
Take your time to really feel the happiness you do have. Allow yourself this time to dream of what you would like to do if there were no restraints on you. See how you would feel if you had everything you could dream of right now, absorb that feeling of amazement and happiness.
Feel the warmth of the Sun beating down on you and become aware of how solid and stable you are, with your feet rooted to the earth. You are like a tree, completely grounded and part of everything around you. Think about what you are proud of in your life and how much you love the people closest to you, today that is what you are going to focus on, today you will only allow positive feelings and thoughts into your mind. Today you will cleanse and renew yourself ready for the move into the darker part of the year that is to come. The light and energy you take on today by remaining aware only of the light in life, will see you through to next year and new beginnings. It will allow you to make the most of the rest of Summer and really appreciate the harvests of Autumn.
Once you feel ready to resume normal life, slowly become aware of your feet grounding you and the renewed energy pulsing through your body and wrap it around yourself and absorb it back into your inner self. Stretch, like a cat would and smile. Put your shoes back on and go back inside, you will notice you feel lighter and somehow brighter, the rest of the day should be easier than you thought it would be as your inner glow should make even tricky tasks easier for today. If at any time you should find yourself drifting into old habits or thought patterns, stop immediately and re connect with the feeling of being anchored and full of light. When you go to bed, feel that light shining on you as you drift off to sleep. It will renew you and tomorrow when you wake up you will feel a new determination to achieve what is right for you, what will help you grow as a person and live as happily as you know you can.
If all this seems silly or unnatural to you, I still want you to give it a try. We often spend all year, year after year, thinking about the same things, worrying about the same things, trapped into that pattern. All I am asking is that you take one day, just 24 hours to be happy no matter what. You can easily go back to worrying or being angry tomorrow if you still want to, nothing is ever lost, it is just changed.
It won’t be easy to do this if things in your life are hard right now, but I promise the benefit you will get from it will be worth it, and what can it hurt to just try it for one day?
If you can, try to do this exercise early in the morning so that you have a full day to work with all the goodness in the air.
This is the longest day, with the shortest night, reminding you that light does return at full strength and shrinks the dark back into perspective.
Today is magical whether you believe in magic or not, everything in nature is celebrating the longest day, the greatest light, allow yourself to be part of it 😉
Black Sheep Druid lives with her husband and many animals in Co. Limerick, Ireland, working as a full-time artist and assistant horse trainer.