Celebrate the first day of summer on June 21st with these rituals for summer solstice. May they bring you joy, love, and light in your life.
In nature-based faiths, the summer solstice is known as Litha and is considered one of the most sacred sabbats of the year. It marks the start of the summer months and the longest day of the year before the nights start to grow longer again.
People gather at Stonehenge for day and night long celebrations watching the sun align and shine through a certain point in the structure. In its most basic essence, this day is a celebration of the sun and that it is still shining on us. It will go out one day—but we should revel in our good fortune that we were born at this point in Earth’s evolution. The solstice also holds deeper nature metaphors for life, fertility, and the cycle of time and seasons. No matter what your view of spirituality or nature, it’s always worth celebrating when there’s sunshine involved!
To learn more about the Pagan celebration of Litha read: Litha: The Incredible History, Lore & Ways to Celebrate
It's Summer Solstice!
What better time to get together with friends, family, and loved ones, and celebrate the source of all life? What better time to acknowledge the life force energy within us and give back to Creation some of the energy and blessings that we are always receiving. The Earth constantly provides for all of us with her incredible bounty, and the Sun’s warmth provides the light necessary for all living beings to thrive and prosper.
Creating ceremonies, celebrations, or rituals for summer solstice is a way for humans to express gratitude for these gifts. We have so many things to be thankful for—our families, our friends, our homes—and there are so many ways we can express our gratitude for those things: through words and actions, through gifts and offerings, through celebration.
The summer solstice is a great day on which to create your own ceremony or ritual of gratitude. It’s also a good time to connect with nature; find someplace where you can sit in silence with just yourself and your thoughts. There’s something invigorating about spending time alone in nature; it helps us reconnect with ourselves as well as with the natural world around us.
Below are 10 rituals for summer solstice to help you celebrate this magical time of year or use the following list to spark your own solstice ritual.
Rituals for Summer Solstice
1. Gather herbs
One of my favorite rituals for summer solstice is to gather plants and healing herbs as our ancestors did. Five common Celtic sacred plants associated with Midsummer are St. John’s Wort, Vervain, Yarrow, Fern, and Mugwort.
Manifold ceremonial features are associated with the Midsummer celebrations, but the lore of herbs and plants traditionally took the center spotlight around this special festivity. Herbs constitute a strong element for celebrating the Midsummer solstice due to their strong connections with magical and healing powers.
2. Have a Bonfire
Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, and it’s a perfect time to celebrate. One of the main rituals for summer solstice is, of course, a bonfire. As stated before this is a well-dated practice. 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 of my rituals for summer solstice is watching the sun both rise and set on the longest day of the year. 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 summer solstice that I like 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. Prepare a Summer Solstice Gathering
Summer Solstice 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.
On this day, we invite friends and family over for a summer solstice feast filled with seasonal locally raised and grown foods. We also visit our local farmer’s market or local farm to gather all the goodies we need for our solstice gathering!
6. Bathe in the Light and Warmth of the Sun
The Summer Solstice 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 incredibly important 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
Summer Solstice is a time of growth and light, so it’s a great time to charge 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 rituals for summer solstice 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. Leave Fairy Offerings
Here’s one of the most fun rituals for summer solstice to include the kids in. Leave treats for the fairies. They particularly love sweets, such as cakes, cookies, brownies, doughnuts and sweetbreads. They also adore milk and cream, butter, and a hearty alcoholic beverage. Some of the drinks they like are mead and wine— but they typically like the sweet, boozy kind. Be sure to put some thought and effort behind your fairy offerings and don’t thank the fairies! They hate being thanked!
10. Create a Prayer Tree
Summer Solstice 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 encourage you to perform some of the rituals for Summer Solstice as a way of honoring nature’s incredible fertile energy at this time of year, and as a way to connect with our natural world on a deeper, more meaningful level. I truly believe that by recognizing and celebrating the little shifts in Earth’s natural rhythms, we can become more attuned to nature and feel more grounded in our everyday lives it.