Tis the season for honoring the Sun. Our sun, the star which gives Earth that most precious of all resources, Light. No matter what a person’s personal beliefs, honoring this most constant of gifts to all who live upon our planet is important and appropriate, especially right now during the summer solstice.
Rituals of sun worship abound in every culture on earth, from the earliest memories of ancient cultures right down to today. In the northern European countries, the solstice is honored with a huge bonfire before which the community gathers, to join in celebration of our most illustrious and important celestial body. It is the high point of the year, the moment when the sun is at its peak of power.
No matter how one does it, whether by a bonfire and revelry, or simply gathering with a friend or two, joining hands and hearts, offering prayers and salutations, the honoring of this time through ritual is a beautiful way to acknowledge the light which sustains us and our world.
“Make of yourself a light,” said the Buddha, before he died.
I think of this every morning as the east begins to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first signal – a white fan streaked with pink and violet, even green.
An old man, he lay down between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything, knowing it was his final hour.
The light burns upward, it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere by its ocean of yellow waves.
No doubt he thought of everything that had happened in his difficult life.
And then I feel the sun itself as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire –
clearly I’m not needed,
yet I feel myself turning into something of inexplicable value.
Slowly, beneath the branches, he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.
Mary Oliver, The Buddha’s Last Instruction (reblogged from Karl Duffy’s Mindfulness Blog)
I have a good friend in Wisconsin whose spiritual practice is in the tradition of Native American shamans. At each turning of the year, to honor the spirits of the season, he offers the peace pipe to the wise ones in the spiritual world, and includes prayers and blessings from all in his community who wish to give something through his pipe. I find this a beautiful, heartfelt and simple way to honor the spirit beings of nature, and have written prayers for him to include in his offerings many times. Today, I offer my prayer to all of you and to the spirits of the summer solstice and the Sun, most powerful of celestial beings in our world.
Spirits of Sun, spirits of Heat
We are grateful for the life and warmth you provide to all living things on Earth
for your energy which give the plants that which give us nourishment,
for the light which sustains us,
for the deep blessings of warmth upon our bodies, and all of the magic of
you, our faithful Sun.
May we continue to receive your grace, heat and light
for as long as life endures on Earth.
- Picturing Summer, a Solstice Celebration (tor.com)
- Summer Solstice 2012: Why It’s the Longest Day of the Year (thesciencebulletin.wordpress.com)
- Summer Solstice 2012 and Trump XIII (jameswells.wordpress.com)
- Happy First Day of Summer! Here’s How to Celebrate the Solstice in Burien (b-townblog.com)
- Spiritual Significance of the Summer Solstice (aquariuschannelings.com)
- How Will You Spend The Longest Day of The Year (femaleimagination.wordpress.com)