Summer Solstice (the longest day of the year and Litha according to Pagan traditions) in the Southern Hemisphere Winter Solstice (the shortest day of the year and Yule in Pagan traditions) in the Northern Hemisphere.
Kundalini Yoga guru, Yogi Bhajan, said:
Revolve your life around Summer and Winter Solstice and everything will be taken care of.
That’s because both Litha and Yule are powerful times. They hold transformational qualities – at both the peak/ chaos of Summer Solstice and the still/ void of the Winter Solstice.
Shamanic Midwife and Founder of the School of Shamanic Womancraft (formerly the School of Shamanic Midwifery), Jane Hardwicke Collings, recommends making an altar to the season – wherever you are. Here is Jane’s advice on how to bring the energy of the season into your home, your family and your life.
A Spiritual Practice for Summer
Summer is the time of the year when our energy is at its fullest. It is a time abuzz with energy and activity, party and celebration, when nature and everything in it is in full bloom, ripe and fruiting. At this time of the year we use this fullness of energy to fuel our life intentions.
Don’t let the busyness of summer get in the way of honouring the season. Make an altar for the season. You can easily make an altar to Summer and this is especially fun with children. Creating an altar is an ancient, cross-cultural, human practice. It serves to bring our focus to a particular thing, time or event. By creating seasonal altars we can deepen our awareness of what the energy of the season holds and how that is reflected in our inner and outer worlds. Nature is a great teacher!
Choose a place that you will see often on your movements through your home or somewhere that particularly lends itself to being an altar. You’ll know the perfect place, maybe its outside. Decorate it with special things you have and things from nature that make you think of and feel all the different aspects of Summer.
Perhaps light a candle on the altar each evening or morning, making particular wishes or setting intentions that are in keeping with the energy of summer – full potential, ‘full bloom-ness’.
For example “I give thanks for ‘such and such’ being its full potential, expression, manifestation.”
And then after the peak of Summer, the summer solstice, the energy shifts into letting go. You know that late Summer feeling, like the party is coming to a close. So appropriate prayers at your altar could include prayers of gratitude and letting go.
Litha also is the feast of the fairy, and at this time, doors between the worlds open, and we can peek through and dwell for just a little time in the Otherworld of the fairies – a place where youth is everlasting, and enchantment plenty, beauty, love and joy are ours for all time. For just a moment, Litha gives us a glimpse of life in all its perfection. It encourages us to seize the day, and to dwell completely in the magic of the present moment. – White Magic by Lucy Cavendish
A Spiritual Practice for Winter
Winter is the time of metaphoric death and renewal. And Midwinter is a time for deep contemplation, of traveling deep within, to the darkest place, the still point, to find the inner light that is there, to then bring it back out to increase and shine.
Make an altar with things from Nature that represent the season and take some time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate. Choose a place that you will see often on your movements through your home or somewhere that particularly lends itself to being an altar. You’ll know the perfect place, maybe its outside. Decorate it with special things you have and things from nature that make you think of and feel all the different aspects of winter. Perhaps light a candle on the altar each evening or morning, making particular wishes or setting intentions that are in keeping with the energy of Winter – stillness, dormancy, gestation.
For example “I give thanks for cultivating stillness, (etc.) and I let go of (such and such) to enable me to rest, rejuvenate, replenish and heal.”