Embracing All the Colors of Summer Solstice
21 June 2019
RITUAL PREPARATION: Decorate the ritual meeting place with the Summer Solstice colors of yellow, green and blue. These colors represent a festival of community sharing and planetary awareness as well as the colors of the sun, earth and sky. (Organizers may wish to pick some fresh herbs, such as mint or lemon balm, or some vegetables or pieces of fruit to share and enhance the experience of connection through our senses.) Gather outside if possible – and spend some time in silence, breathing in the sense of belonging and the interconnections with all that is in your bioregion. Allow all of your senses to embrace the essence of the longest day of the year.
The Summer Solstice is the time of year when the arc of the sun is at its highest in the northern hemisphere, and the day is longer than any other. Help us to become more sensitive to the life-giving energy of the Sun. Help us to become more aware of belonging to a world that is vibrantly alive and wondrous in its diversity, its beauty, its intensity, its deep spirituality. The Spring awakening of life now gives way to the Summer season of full bloom. All the seeds that were planted into the spring soil are now manifesting the abundance of gifts from Earth. Help us to reverently receive these gifts…..
Rituals and ceremonies are one way for us to bring awareness to our desire to belong and to honor the connection and dependency that we have with all things. Help us, Source of All Life, to open our hearts to this time of celebrating interconnections and growth.
OPENING PRAYER (ALL):
We call upon the land which grows our food, the nurturing soil, the fertile fields, the abundant gardens and orchards, the flowers of a thousand colors, and we ask that they teach us the way of humble acceptance, respectful usage, and gratitude to the Divine Giver of all life.
(Chinook Blessing Litany)
Imagine a world in which people, as only one part of the interconnected community of the cosmos, collaborate in the ongoing creation of the earth. (Loretto Communty, Imagine 2006)
READING 2: A Garden Meditation
From the moment you plant that first seed, you claim a relationship with the planet—and it claims you fiercely in return. The way you see the wheeling sun and stars, the birds, bees, worms and wasps, changes forever. Everything shatters into a million pieces of new beauty: frost on the borage blossoms, evening light on a swallowtail’s wings, the smell of a weed’s roots as you pull them from damp soil. The slow, almost silent song of water trickling through a rock face pocked with blooms. A garden stops you, shuts you up. It turns you under to its own purposes, sows its own gift: the knowledge that we are small and our seasons are brief. But if we harvest generosity and beauty, they will somehow, almost always, be enough. (S Clotfelter)
We learn from our garden to deal with the most urgent question of our time: How much is enough?
Whether we actively garden or merely enjoy the fruits of the garden, we can all experience this season of vibrant, radiant sun and warm nurturing of the soil which urges vegetation into copious profusion delighting our senses and satisfying our hungers for beauty and harmony.
With the summer solstice we feel the maximum power of the sun as it gives its fullest offering to our part of the Earth. The time of rigorous outward manifestation is here. Everywhere are the energies of doing. The garden image of summer applies to whatever we undertake; if we continue to give them our energies our dreams will grow and prosper. This season of light and fiery heat encourages us to consider the spiritual growth in our own inner life, to “call down the sacred fire from the heavens to greet the fire in our souls.”
We have only begun to love the earth. We have only begun to know to imagine the fulness of life…..the power that is in us if we would join our solitudes in the communion of struggle. (from Beginners, by Denise Levertov)
Now I invite you to relax, breathe deeply and allow your body and mind to slow down. Gradually sink into a quiet place of ease and comfort.
Now go in your mind to a garden spot … walk around in it. See the growing things ripening there. Note the colors, the smells. Bend down and feel the leaves, touch one herb or vegetable that is ready for picking. Really see it, touch it, smell it – perhaps even taste it. Let it speak to you about strength and growth. Feel the intensity of the fiery sun on your face and on your entire body.
Pause for reflection.
Leader: Some questions for thought: (Responses may be shared if group desires.)
- What growth is now taking place in your heart?
- What is the “fire in your soul” or your life’s passion at this point in your journey?
- How can you bring that to fruition?
- Would you like to ask the assistance of any person (or being) present to assist you?
CLOSING PRAYER (ALL):
Eternal Spirit, Giver of Life and Source of all Goodness, may your energy sing through the Universe as we grow to understand ourselves. As we celebrate and give thanks for the sun and the many colors today, be with us as we strive to be women and men of love and compassion. Help us to live lives that honor the Great Mystery deep within each being. We recognize this month the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and keep in mind that event and all of the many movements of oppressed peoples towards full expression of humanity. As the sun spirals its longest day today, bless us and help us to feel the interconnections with all that sustains us – with grateful hearts, we say Amen.
Material adapted from:
The Circle of Life: The Heart’s Journey Through the Seasons (Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr), U.N. Environmental Sabbath Program & other sources.
Ritual Prepared by the Loretto Earth Network (photo credit: Donna Mattingly)