The Summer Solstice is a sacred time, commemorated by our ancestors through fire and ceremony, honoring the sun as it peaks high in the sky and stretches the day into the longest of the year. It’s often said to be a time of new beginnings; with the changing of the seasons, we say goodbye to a long, stagnant period of self-reflection and welcome the fiery energy of the sun to propel us forward.
This very physical changing of the seasons is a powerful time to manifest spiritual transformations. Rituals to release, cleanse and renew, sacred scents, and other tools from nature’s pharmacopeia paired with ancestral wisdom can be applied and adapted today in simple yet effective ways. Before we dive into the aromas and practices you may find supportive to ring in the Summer Solstice with the full power of solar energetics, let’s take a look at how people around the world have honored the occasion over time.
Mayan Solstice (Guatemala x El Salvador)
Modern-day Maya continue to pray in anticipation of the Summer Solstice at ancient Maya sites in Guatemala, El Salvador, and throughout the Mayan diaspora. At Tikal in Guatemala, one of the most sacred Mayan ruins in Central America, surrounding altars like the Temple of the Grand Jaguar and the Temple of the Moon serve as ritual sites for centuries-old spiritual ceremonies at sunrise and sunset. The temples’ construction was brilliantly designed to display the magnificence of the solstice light.
At the Mayan archaeological site of Tazumal in El Salvador, “The Maya hold solstice ceremonies to help balance the energy of Mother Earth and ask for abundant crops,” according to Maya priest Jose Ernesto Campos. The June solstice in tropical El Salvador comes during the rainy season, which is why it is instead referred to there (and elsewhere in the Global South) as the Winter Solstice.
Inca Ritual (Bolivia)
On the Isla del Sol in Bolivia, the indigenous Quechua people gather by the thousands to honor “Pachamama” (Mother Earth) through performances of songs, drums, wind instruments, and dances. In a symbol of receiving good energy, the community members raise their hands to the sky, greeting the first rays of sunlight with open hearts, gratitude, and receptivity.
Celebrating Yin Forces (China)
While the “yang” (masculine) forces and the heavens were traditionally honored during the Winter Solstice in ancient China, the “yin” (feminine) forces and the earth got their recognition on the longest day of the year each June—the Summer Solstice. Gifts of perfumed sachets and brightly colored fans have long marked the celebration, as women continue to exchange these items as symbols to mark the occasion. In Shandong and Beijing, eating noodles on the Summer Solstice and dumplings on the Winter Solstice are considered to be auspicious culinary practices around the changing of the seasons.
While staying up all night to honor the shortest night of the year, Croatians complete a solemn ceremony, stargaze, and await the benevolent return of sunset. Astrofest honors “the ancient link between the sun and sustainable life”. In the hours awaiting sunrise, it’s said that supernatural beings like elves and fairies are dancing among the living celebrants, bringing with them an ethereal magic and lightness of being.
Ivan Kupala Day (Belarus x Ukraine)
Traditionally a pagan holiday, throughout eastern Slavic countries, Ivan Kupala Day is a time for collecting herbs, bathing in rivers, jumping over fires, and making flower wreaths. Lovers are said to have the opportunity to “learn of their romantic fate”. While holding hands, young couples leap over fires to see if their hands are separated. If they remain linked, it’s believed that their future together is destined to be.
Rituals empower our intentions by connecting physical actions to them.
This Summer Solstice Ritual aims to help get you “unstuck” from anything in the past that is holding you back, and to clear out the negative energy and patterns that no longer support your greater purpose. Whether you follow the ritual exactly or alter it to best resonate with your own intentions for the season ahead, we offer it as a powerful personal kickstart to the new season—now, let your light shine!
- Fabric or cloth
- Paper & pen
- Candle & matches
- Bowl of water
- Sacred & symbolic objects
Collect the items you wish to include in your ritual. These can include anything you gravitate towards and which connect to your intention. Some examples include: crystals and stones, old objects, driftwood, books, photos, or anything else that speaks to you. Listen to your intuition, which you may have been dutifully cultivating all winter (it’s time to tap in).
The fabric acts as a space keeper—it establishes a dedicated boundary for the ritual. Lay this down, then organize your objects around the fabric. You can also use a wooden tray, or something else to deliberately delineate the space
Light a candle, then add 2 drops of Palo Santo Essential Oil. A small fire like this is used to repel negativity and to move stagnant, stubborn energy away from the space, offering a cleansing effect. This makes way for new intentions, welcoming in the fiery solar energy that peaks this time of year.
4. Set Intentions
Take a few moments to meditate. Envision the incense smoke candle fire clearing your mind, whisking away negative thought patterns you may have been holding onto. Identify any elements blocking your intentions, and then send them away with the powerful smoke and fire as their sacred transports.
Once your mind is clear, contemplate what new ways of being you want to call forth. How do you wish to be from this moment forward? What intentions will you embody as you enter this new season? Take a moment to envision being the embodiment of these intentions. What does it look like? How does it feel?
5. Write Your “Release List”
Now that you’ve formed a clear vision of your new self, take out the pen and paper and start listing all the things you want to release—negative thought patterns, money issues, beliefs, ways of perceiving yourself and others, excuses, fears, etc.—anything that does not serve your highest manifestations and purpose.
6. Sit in Gratitude
Opportunities to be and become your best self await—to release negativity and manifest our highest intentions, we must first give thanks for these opportunities as though they have already arrived.
In your right hand, which is the hand of release, hold the paper with your “Release List”. Then, select an object from your ritual space to act as your anchor to your intentions and new self. Hold the object in your left hand as a symbol of what you want to receive, or call forth to support your intention.
Take a few moments to sit quietly with your gratitude. Give thanks for the opportunity to release the old as you open the path to new and positive energy.
After giving thanks, you will completely release your attachment to old habits, patterns, and ways of thinking that no longer serve you. Tear your paper. With the bowl of water next to you, you may burn your paper to signify cleansing and releasing those old patterns. Imagine the water absorbing the negativity, manifested as smoke, clearing and purifying your space.
8. Call in Positivity
Now that the space is cleared, you have the opportunity to fill it with positivity! One way to do this is to make a room spray or diffuse essential oils that support your intentions. To read more about the seven best ways to use essential oils for health and healing, check out our detailed guide here.
Replacing stagnant energy with positivity-inducing oils can help to amplify your intentions while preparing your space—and you—for powerful transformations in the new season. From the Latin words sol (Sun) and sistere (to pause and be still), the June Solstice marks the time of year when the sun appears to cease rising and setting. It’s also often associated with change, nature, and new beginnings. The Summer Solstice is the perfect time to honor where you’ve been and to celebrate who you are becoming. Whether you choose to spend a few quiet moments alone, or to join a group of friends for a ritual celebration, these sacred scents can help you mark the Summer Solstice with intention, purpose, and enhanced clarity.
Essential oils and botanicals pack a powerful combination of healing, purifying, and mind-centering properties. Countless oils have been used for centuries during solstices, especially during religious ceremonies and sacred rituals. In particular, these four scents have been known to raise consciousness—enhancing your ability to receive deep healing, inspiration, and to experience rejuvenation and joy.
Referred to as “crystalized sunshine”, these trees grow in regions with abundant sunlight and extreme temperatures. Frankincense is an offering of light from light. As such, it contains many meditative, health-promoting properties that add vitality and glowing energy reminiscent of the solstice itself.
With a distinctively uplifting fragrance and pronounced healing powers, Palo Santo is among the best oils to use via direct palm inhalation thanks to its clearing and inspiring properties. It has the ability to calm and ground us, thus making it ideal for maintaining emotional equanimity and uplifting our spiritual work. Its softness and sweetness is similar to some species of Frankincense with great balancing effects.This smoke bundle is crafted with heart healing and transformation in mind. Garden wands for smoke cleansing are essential tools to ignite clarity, protection, intention, and vision. Herbs used during fire ceremonies (or transformed through fire) are said to be gateways to the supernatural, assisting as divinatory tools. Our “love magick” combines lavender, rose, white sage, and rose quartz to invite in self-love and healing energy while dispelling darkness and stagnation as we transition to greater warmth.
Calming and cooling, Blue Chamomile helps to support a healthy inflammatory response. It is among the gentlest of oils, ideal for children, the elderly, and those with sensitive skin. The deep hue and exceptional aromatic profile is derived from sustainably cultivated flowers in Nepal. Excellent for promoting relaxation and deep sleep, this oil is also very nourishing and restorative for the skin during these dryer months.