This is a repost from 2007, in celebration of today’s Summer Solstice.
Todos Santos, All Saints, in Baja Mexico is on the Tropic of Cancer, and it’s where I find myself this summer solstice 2007. How on earth am I at the right place, at the right time?! These 3-4 days around June 21, the Sun reaches his northernmost point at the tropic of Cancer, that latitudinal line in space where the Sun is directly overhead at noon. We are experiencing the longest days of the year, and the shortest nights right now. From now thru December, sunlight will slowly diminish.
Looking for a way to language in the light, I learn people the world over celebrate rituals of equinox (although in the southern hemisphere it’s the beginning of winter), all of which honor tradition and celebration of summer’s bounty. Litha, a Wiccan holiday, is observed by pagans. In many countries, Saints are honored — especially St. John ( in Italy, Germany, Canada, France, Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, Russia and more — also a favorite of mine. I was born on St. John’s Day, June 24). So are Gods like Ukko, in Finland. Along with bounty, fruits, flowers and harvest, water and fire are ceremonial components of these days. The Estonians jump over fire for good luck and prosperity (the bigger the fire, the better the luck) while in Ireland bonfires are built on hilltops. Relationship is a theme too. In Norway, mock-weddings are performed, symbolizing the blossom of new life. In Finland, drunken cavorting and short-term relationships are common. Many cultures honor life-giving water by eating fish, celebrating next to water, and drinking espiritu, spirits.
The Sun is pure fire, our life force, energizing the days of our lives and astrologically, the Sun’s entry into Cancer is our calendar marker for Solstice. The Sun in Cancer brings all of these ruminations into focus: honoring the past while securing the future, the need for tradition, memory, grounded in the celebration of the harvest. Cancer as a personality type is watery, emotional but Cancer as a season is procreative. That’s why the sign is connected to pregnancy, cooking, families, home and hearth. Cancer sun times are to be celebrated — not like the gushing energy of Leo, but the nostalgic, protective relationship oriented sign of Cancer. This is the time to remember our roots, our origins and by so doing place a seed in the ground for future posterity. For Cancer, there’s no way to move forward without reconciling the past. It just can’t be done.
Cancer is also the point of conception, the ancient point on the astrological wheel where spirit is made flesh. In Ancient Egypt, the scarab, belonging to Cancer, was a symbol of immortality and the divine aspect of human nature and was buried with the dead. It was regarded so highly, Egyptians often removed the heart before mummification, replacing it with a scarab. Legend says that the scarab, or dung beetle, rolled a ball of dung (which it saved as nourishment for its offspring) across the sky with the Sun, facing backwards( If you’e known a Cancer personality, you’ll understand the sideways, backward scuttle they often take to get from point A to B). Naturally, the scarab was an aspect of the Egyptian Sun God, Ra. Here’s an Egyptian visual of a sunrise: the regal scarab, spreading its translucent wings in shimmering rays.
What of the Moon, Cancer’s ruling planet? The Moon is Isis, the feminine and the relationship between the Sun and the Moon is the most divine love story, ever. (You’ll have to come back for Cancer’s New Moon to hear about her!) For now, this day belongs to the Sun, our life force, emanating brightly. Summer solstice is a time to remember our spiritual connection to the divine, a time for remembering our familial heritage and ties to the land. Nurture the aspect of your self which gives life by eating seasonally, spending time with family and taking frequent rests (just like a pregnant mom). Honor your need to go inward, to protect the new life growing inside of you. Your procreative powers are quietly, silently strong.