The year is already just about half way over, and soon the peak of our daylight hours will be here, the longest day of the year, the summer solstice will arrive, and then be gone just as quickly as the days begin to shorten once again. It’s easy to forget about the natural patterns of our world, with hectic schedules and much of our free time taken up by digital experiences more often than face-to-face, tangible ones.
Being massage therapists, we have the regular opportunity to make one-on-one contact with others through our client sessions. We incorporate a soothing atmosphere into our studios with gentle water fountains, aromatherapy, candlelight and relaxing music. Together these things help create a sanctuary, for our clients as much as ourselves. But when was the last time you spent quality time in an outdoor sanctuary, somewhere out in nature?
The summer solstice is an ideal time to do so, for more reasons than you may realize. Our world, our lives are built around cycles. Daily routines are cyclical, we know our times to work out or practice yoga, when it’s time to work and when we get to be social. Our bodies have their own cycles, biologically speaking we can’t live without them, our sleep and eating cycles are aspects of our primal needs to survive.
These most basic of human cycles are directly linked to our past, when our ancestors discovered phenomenal things such as how to cook with fire, how to find fruit by following bees, and how the seasons of our planet change over an annual cycle, controlled by the path of the Sun.
Long ago our lives were much more intricately connected to these natural cycles. They still impact us today, but in more subtle ways. When you take some time to reconnect with the natural cycles of our planet, you can add a deeper layer of connection to your holistic lifestyle as a massage therapist.
Think about the last time you sat under the bright sunlight of a hot summer day. Did you take a moment to pause and feel the warmth of the sun upon your skin? Did you close your eyes and enjoy the bliss of the radiant heat energizing your body with vitamin D? Did you notice a shift in how warm the sun felt while you bathed in it? If so, remember that moment. If not, give it a try, this is an amazing way to connect with the energy of the sun, which can revive you.
We must experience our time under the sun with a balanced approach otherwise, as life-giving as the sun may be, it is also capable of burning us, drying out our land, and even our own selves. This is where the importance of water in the summer season comes in.
Water can douse the flames of a fire. Water can temper the heat and transform the energy of the sun into something more, something we can ingest to help us survive. As a massage therapist you know the importance of staying hydrated, this is just as important to remember when spending any significant time out under the sun.
When it came to the natural cycles of the planet, our ancestors knew how to make the most of particular seasonal times throughout the year. The Summer Solstice is one of those special times, where the longest day reigns supreme, giving the fruits and vegetables in our gardens. Young animals of field and forest get an extra burst of energy at this time of year. This extra energy from the sun enhances the blooms, the crops, the foods we eat.
Celebrating, and utilizing the energy of the summer sun is done best in conjunction with plenty of water. Anyone who loves to garden can tell you, daily water is necessary in the summer months. Our ancestors understood this idea, as can be seen in many old ways in which the solstice was celebrated with water as an important component.
In Spain there was a tradition of gathering medicinal herbs on the Summer Solstice and dipping them in seven different springs of water, to enhance their healing powers. Across Europe and Russia, wreaths of flowers would be tossed into seas, lakes or rivers, or young women would bathe in the flowing water to increase their chances of fertility. In Denmark, healing wells were visited on the Summer Solstice, with a large bonfire lit nearby; if there wasn’t a well, a beach along the sea or a lake would work just as well.
Today we may not live life where our own personal crop will mark the line between surviving or not year to year. But we can still connect with the natural cycles and energies of the planet for our own personal, spiritual, holistic benefit. An easy way to do this is to spend some time with intention on major celestial and seasonal days, such as the Summer Solstice. Make it a point to sit under the sun for a time and mediate. Brew up some sun tea and drink it with intention, focusing on the life energy which is the sun, and how we need it to simply be.
Other ways to connect with the energy of the sun at the summer solstice can include a sunrise and sunset yoga session outside. Across India there are mass yoga sessions done on the Summer Solstice, you could join in from your space and catch the vibe. If you can do so next to a body of water this will enhance the balance of these two primal sources at this time of year.
Fire is a powerful symbol of the sun, a bon-fire celebration, or even just cozy backyard firepit, is a great way to extend the heat of the sun throughout your evening. According to some traditions, with the sun at it’s peak of power, now is an excellent time to make a wish. The energy of the sun and the earth together are ripening fruit, so too can they ripen ideas- ready them to come to fruition.
Take a rose, which blooms in earnest throughout the month of June, hold it close and make your wish for something new, then toss it into the flame of your summer solstice fire, the flames will release your wish and carry it to the stars above…. The universe is pouring out its abundance to us, if we are but willing and open to receiving it. Go on, give it a try, you know you want to.
Whatever you do to mark the longest day of the year, in our lifestyles as massage therapists we have a unique opportunity to stay connected in a personal way; connecting back to the natural cycles of our world is one way you can make the connection deeper for yourself.