Updated: Jul 18
New Grange Passage Tomb in Ireland during the Summer Solstice.
What is the Solstice you ask? It is when the earth has its maximum tilt toward the sun, placing the sun at its highest position in the sky. Today, June 21st is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Starting today the days will slowly become shorter as we move into a season of increasing darkness, and rest. Conversely, today is the shortest day in the Southern Hemisphere and days start to become longer.
Metaphysically, it's interesting to think about what the solstice has meant to ancient cultures and how it applies to us today. Spring is when we plant seeds, start new projects, and embark on new beginnings. Since the solstice marks the beginning of summer, and we're being bathed in the energy of the sun, now is the time when seeds flourish, and all that you've been working towards starts to come to fruition.
In astrology, the summer solstice occurs at the start of Cancer season which is associated with looking inward to find nourishment. It is also a time to give thanks for the challenges behind and before us, which continue to shape and manifest our destiny.
Dating far back into the Neolithic period, humans have been fascinated by the cycle of the sun, and the seasons that accompany them. Each culture across the globe has a tradition of celebrating the solstices. Many cultures have built monuments and created landscapes that align with this sacred period of transition. For instance, Chaco Canyon in New Mexico was constructed about 1200 years old, The Pyramids in Egypt were bustling with human activity 4500 years ago, Machu Pichu in Peru had its heyday 600 years ago, and Stonehenge in England first started holding ceremonies 5000 years ago. New Grange in Ireland, dates to around 5500 years ago, Chichen Itza in Mexico was built 1500 years ago, and Nabta Playa, the oldest known stone alignment, also in Egypt, dates to about 7000 years ago.
These are some of the best-known ceremonial spaces for celebrating this sacred period of transition. Unknown to many of us who live in the Northeast of the United States, there are hundreds of similar constructions created by Native Americans that can be dated back at least 4000 years. They exist in the woods all around us. Unfortunately, even archeological colleagues within the esteemed institution Yale University continue to debate their origin, with some attributing them to the Colonists, while others recognize the various tribes who inhabited and revered this land before present time. Some theories give credit to pre-Columbian Irish explorers (who left no other trace of their existence), while some credit aliens. These mindsets deny the legacy of intelligent human activity that existed in every other corner of the globe.
Bottom line, when you're out in the woods and come across stones that have been placed on top of other stones, are upright in alignments or within a wall-like structure, stone seats that face the solstice sunrise, curved or undulating walls that look like a serpent, etc., slow down and take note. Give these sites the same respect you would give any of the other solstice alignments listed above. These areas are sacred ceremonial sites that embody Native American ancestors. Google Ceremonial Stone Landscapes to learn more.
Grianstad Sona or Happy Solstice, in Irish. Here's to reaping the rewards of all of your hard work. Come visit us at Spiral Herbal Remedies, where I carry forward a family tradition of Herbalism that dates back to at least the 1400s in Ireland. We're located at 810 Washington Ave in Brooklyn. You can also find all of our products at spiralherbalremedies.com. Use the code SOLSTICE for 10% off your next purchase.