Ah, the summer solstice. This astrological event, which often marks both the midpoint of the year and the longest day of the year, is also generally the true beginning of summer. From a spiritual standpoint, June 21 is all about embracing the sun and its electrifying power — and welcoming in Cancer season, of course.
"The summer solstice is also known as midsummer, and in pagan times this holiday was known as Litha," Lisa Stardust, astrologer and author of The Love Deck, tells Refinery29. "Traditionally, this is a time of new beginnings." And that might just be exactly what we need. This date could potentially mark a much-needed resurgence meaningful action and change not just in our own lives, but as a collective.
Marked by the sun’s journey along the Tropic of Cancer, this day is the longest the sun will stay in the sky all year. "It marks a new season and a time of renewal, as a new journey begins around embracing the warmer days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. But, more importantly, it’s a celebration of the sun, whose power is needed for the Earth and its occupants to survive and thrive," Stardust says.
And survive we will. "The summer solstice reminds us of the light that exists within all of us. It gives us permission to expand and shine our light, rather than dim it," Kesaine Walker, an astrologer and Reiki master based in New York City, tells Refinery29. "It’s a time of opening ourselves up to the light and letting it uplift and inspire us." Walker says that setting your intentions and being in the moment while embracing the life force energy from the sun is one of the simplest ways to celebrate, whether your goal is to ramp up social justice initiatives or clear your head for mental health purposes.
There are plenty of ways to observe 2023's summer solstice. Stardust recommends charging crystals like citrine and quartz under the sun on this day for vitality — then, use them in crystal water and baths to harness that energetic power.
Spending the longest day of the year with the ones you love the most is a must-do as well, says Blue June, an intuitive tarot reader based in Brooklyn. But, there's no wrong way to celebrate the summer solstice, even if you're spending the day alone.
"If you are left feeling odd about being on your own, there are ways to embrace the spirit of this midsummer holiday," Blue June says. "Because of its association with the sun, all around the world on this day there are fire festivals to honor the Litha holiday. Whether you dance around a one person bonfire or sing a quiet song to a candle you lit, you're doing it right!"
Because the summer solstice is always celebrated in the water sign of Cancer, Michelle Tea, a writer, astrologer, and tarot reader, plans to light candles in sunny colors such as gold, orange, yellow, red, as well as candles in colors that resonate with Cancer such as blue, green, silver for the event.
"I love the solstice because not only is the planet’s lightness and darkness balanced, but the sun brings in Cancer, which is ruled by the moon, and it makes me feel a balance of external sun energy and internal moon energy," she says. "My ritual will be about balance, especially emotional balance, with Cancer’s influence."
Balance is a great theme to go forward with during this astrological happening. Challenging yourself and moving forward is important, but so is your mental health. Take a breath, and enjoy the summer sun.