How I’ll Be Celebrating Summer
I hope this finds you well and able to enjoy the beauty of early summer. It’s been a difficult few weeks here in the US, but nature goes on its own schedule, even when hearts are broken. I found some much needed comfort in the woods around my homestead and in tending to my gardens. As I write this, I hear the call of a mourning dove unseen in the distance—a bird that can symbolize sorrow and mourning but more importantly is a spiritual messenger of peace, love, and faith… three things I welcome right now. The sun shines and the rain falls. And we’re here together (and always).
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I tend to celebrate the Wheel of the Year as more of seasons than specific holidays. So, as we enter the start of Summer and the season of Litha, I thought I’d share what I’ll be focusing on this season and how I will be celebrating summer.
Connecting to Friends, the Earth, and Myself
I think of Litha and Summertime as a time for connection. Connecting with the earth, friends & family, and yourself is an excellent way to refill your well of energy.
I’m an introvert by nature, so it’s easy for me to slip into solitude for weeks at a time, but too much solitude leaves me feeling lonely and disconnected from myself and others. So this summer season, I’m going to take some time to enjoy my loved ones AND spend lots of time outside in nature.
What’s the Plan?
I love observing each season as it comes and honoring it with meaningful celebrations. For me, this helps me to both connect with family and friends, but also to the land around me.
So this summertime and season of Litha I plan to host some summertime picnics and barbeques with my family and friends. I love to cook with locally produced, foraged, or homegrown ingredients. So this means I will serve things such as wild mushroom and spinach pie, foraged wild berry cobbler, and lemon balm and mint iced tea. I love entertaining and eating meals out in the garden amidst the fruits of my labor.
It’s all about connection.
When you’re connected to your family and friends, and when you’re connected to nature, you feel whole and healthy. You can’t help but feel excited about life, because you are living in a way that makes sense to you.
I’m also going to connect with nature…my favorite thing in the world to do. For me, this means lots of gardening, but also long restorative walks in nature and learning more about the wild edible and medicinal plants growing in my area (I’m always learning). I will crawl through the ferns and worship in the wild. Getting outside in nature helps me feel rejuvenated and centered again. It helps me connect back with myself and all that I am grateful for in my life: my health, my home, my family and friends.
Ideas for Celebrating Summer & Connecting to Friends and Nature
2. Have a Bonfire
Summertime is the perfect time to celebrate long days with evening bonfires. Gather your closest friends or family and hold a bonfire party. Offer drinks, food, and music! It’s simple and fun for everyone! Burn sacred wood and herbs in the bonfire to enhance the magic. Let the fire go out naturally and collect the ashes for use in rituals throughout the year or in your garden as a fertilizer.
3. Watch the Sun Rise and Set
A favorite way of mine for celebrating summer and connecting with nature is to watch the sun rise or set. This is an excellent opportunity to pay your respects to the sun and acknowledge its life-giving power as it both arrives and departs. Get up early and greet the sunrise. Sip coffee and say hi to the sun OR practice some yoga sun salutations. Breathe in the sunshine. In the evening wrap in a blanket and sit in nature as you watch the sun go down.
4. Decorate Your Alter
Another of my favorite rituals for celebrating summer is to create and decorate an altar to honor Mother Earth. Decorate it with summer flowers and herbs such as sunflowers, lavender, mint, rosemary, and basil. Use fabrics in bold colors, like orange, pink and yellow. Hang ribbons in these colors as well. Light candles to add brightness to your altar. Crystals such as citrine, garnet, and carnelian are best for this time of year because they have the ability to absorb light energy from the sun when placed outside on a sunny day.
5. Celebrating Summer by Hosting a Gathering
Summer is the time of year when the sun is at its strongest, and the days are hottest. It’s a time when we can honor our connection to nature, and all that it gives us.
Invite friends and family over for a summer feast filled with seasonal locally raised and grown foods. I serve food grown in my organic gardens and visit our local farmer’s market to gather all the goodies needed for the gathering!
6. Bathe in the Light and Warmth of the Sun
Summertime is a time for renewal, rebirth, and self-love. It’s a time to honor your body and recognize that it is beautiful and worthy of your respect and care. To honor this momentous occasion, take time to honor yourself by bathing in the light of the sun!
It’s essential to protect your skin while you do this ritual. You can use chemical-free sunscreen or even just wear long sleeves if you’re outside.
Once you are ready, find a secluded spot where you can sit comfortably on the ground or on a towel. Take off any clothing that would get in the way of being near the earth (or water). Then soak up as much sunlight as possible—your own backyard would be perfect! If you are able to do so safely, stay there for 20-30 minutes or longer if possible.
7. Set Your Intentions
Try celebrating summer by charging up your intentions for the season.
First, do a goal review. What are the things that you want to bring into your life? What habits do you want to change? What should you stop doing? Then write down your intentions or affirmations: You can make them as long or as short as you like; they can be as specific or general as you need them to be. They can be goals, plans, aspirations—whatever works for you! Just make sure they’re something that really matters to you.
Once you have a few intentions and affirmations written down, state them daily for best results. You could say them out loud in front of a mirror or write them down on a piece of paper and post them where you are bound to see them daily.
8. Spend Time in Nature
Probably the easiest and most important way for celebrating summer is to get outside! This spiritual path is all about connecting with nature and the best way to do that is to be in nature. Even your backyard or neighborhood works! The summer solstice is the time when our ancestors celebrated the sun’s power and its ability to sustain life on Earth.
To celebrate this time of year, get outside and connect with nature. Try some Forest Bathing or take a walk in your local park or garden and appreciate the beauty of Mother Earth. Think about your ancestors who came before you and give thanks to Mother Earth and the sun for her sustaining life force.
9. Create a Prayer Tree
Summer is a time to celebrate and give thanks. It is also a time to set intentions and make prayers for the coming year.
An easy way to do this is by making a Prayer Stick or Prayer Tree. The branches of a tree have been used as symbols for many things, including life, death, rebirth, and resurrection. A tree is also considered sacred by many cultures around the world because it provides sustenance and shelter for animals and humans alike. You can use a branch from any tree that has meaning for you or that has been important in your life; it could be an branch from your childhood home or a twig from your own backyard.
For this ritual, write down specific wishes on strips of paper (or pieces of bark) and attach them to the tree branch with string or ribbon before placing it in your garden or another outdoor area where it will be exposed to sunlight throughout the day.
I hope that you are able to plan something special to celebrate the summer season. Please feel free to share what you’re up to in the comments. Also, if you’d like to see more photos of my homestead, please feel free to follow along at The Outdoor Apothecary on Instagram.