Celebrating the Summer Solstice
“O time of rapture! time of song!
How swiftly glide thy days along
Adown the current of the years,
Above the rocks of grief and tears!
'Tis wealth enough of joy for me
In summer time to simply be.”
-In Summer by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Summertime! It’s finally here! And almost all forms of life in the Northern Hemisphere are celebrating. Whether it's school children playing outside on their Summer vacation, a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, or purple-loosestrife finally in bloom, it is a time of abundance and celebration. Throughout history, in fact, various cultures and regions of the world have had specific celebrations related to this peak season of warmth and light. Most of these celebrations fell on the longest day of the year, often referred to as the Summer Solstice. Eager to celebrate light and life, we here at Crystal Magic decided to explore some of the many celebrations and themes of the Summer Solstice and highlight the various products we have in stock that are perfect to reign in the Summer Season!
We briefly mentioned the term “solstice” in our last blog post “The Spring Equinox Is Upon Us!”, while explaining the Pagan concept of the Wheel of the Year. This Wheel marks the 8 different major solar events (or Sabbats) modern paganism and Wicca celebrate, equinoxes and solstices among them. “Solstice” originated from the Latin words “sol” which means “Sun” and “stitium” which means “still” or “stopped”. Unlike an equinox when the sun is directly above the equator, dividing day and night equally, a solstice marks the day in which the earth is tilted furthest on either the North or South Pole. This results in the sun reaching its highest point (and "stopping" it's journey north) in the sky and the longest day of the year in that hemisphere! This apex of warmth and light has dueling implications. While it means each following day in the Northern hemisphere will be shorter and shorter as the Earth slowly begins to tilt on its axis in the other direction, it is also a celebration of the peak day of light and seasonal abundance. No wonder a variety of religions and cultures saw this as a significant day worthy of its own traditions and celebrations.
Many ancient cultures throughout the world saw the Summer Solstice as a time to celebrate gods of fertility and agriculture, the Earth, and of course the Sun. For instance Ancient cultures in China honored the “yin” force, femininity and the Earth at this time. The Ancient Greeks honored the god of agriculture, Cronus, while Ancient Romans celebrated the Vestalia festival which honored Vesta, their goddess of the hearth. Vikings saw it as a time to meet and discuss political and legal issues and sort out civic disputes while Slavic tribes celebrated Kupala Night honoring their water goddess of trees, herbs, sorcery, and flowers. Many native American tribes celebrated the solstice, varying from tribe to tribe but often involving large gatherings, ceremonial dancing, singing, and prayer with themes of rebirth and regeneration. Across the world this day has had large cultural and spiritual significance, largely related to the power of the Sun. 
Crystals have been utilized throughout history to help harness and channel different energies and one quintessential crystal for Summertime is Sunstone! Whether you want to use the power of the ancient pyramids to set intentions for the Summer season or hold a sphere of sunstone in your hand to feel more connected to your surroundings, Sunstone will help you harness the potent solar energy on this day. 
Known to help remove negative energy blockages, we recommend using Sunstone in energy work or meditation to brighten and refresh the chakras and celebrate the Sun’s energy. You can also place sunstone into clean water and leave it out in direct sunlight for 1 to 12 hours to practice solar alchemy and let the water become attuned to the vibrations of sunstone. One of the most common and iconic ways of celebrating the Sun and the Solstice, however, has been through fire. 
Burning large fires is still tradition in many European countries on this day.  In Year of the Witch  Temperance Alden discusses how “large bonfires are lit” on the solstice “to symbolize the sun, sensuality, life, and fertility”. Many Germanic and Slavic tribes celebrated by burning large fires believing it would enhance the Sun’s power for the rest of the growing season. In the previously mentioned Kupala celebration effigies made of plants and herbs are burnt as a symbol of purification to ensure a good harvest. Another European custom has been to look at the fire through bunches of flowers in order to improve one's eyesight. The burnt sod from these fires is also significant. In Ireland it was used as a protective charm while in Morocco a paste made from the ashes would be rubbed onto one’s scalp to prevent baldness. If you don’t have access to burning a fire on this special day or simply want to add an extra spark to your Solstice celebration, we’ve got you covered. From literally burning Holy wood with our Palo Santo sticks to evoking scents of Summer with Summer Solstice incense from Escential Essences to burning a single candle to represent the power of the sun, our entire incense collection has something to offer.
It was thought that healing herbs and flowers, infused with the power of the sun, were their most powerful on the solstice. One sacred herb that’s been historically used on the solstice is Mugwort. According to Pagan folklore the solstice was an opportune time for evil or chaotic spirits to present themselves so protective herbs such as Mugwort were used in defense. Herbs such as Mugwort were worn in flower garland crowns, dried and made into wands or smudge sticks, or even made into dream pillows. You can utilize our Dried Mugwort this Solstice to help cleanse, heal, and protect yourself as well. Use it in a sacred offering at a shrine, special place in nature, or cast into a fire or cauldron.
Mugwort is obviously not the only plant utilized in solstice celebrations. Flowers in general are hugely symbolic of the summer solstice as the whole world is in bloom. Flowers are also symbolic of fertility in many cultures, which was a major theme in many traditional solstice celebrations. Flowers, such as Calendula or Sunflowers, are thought to have potent magical properties around the solstice due to their likeness to the golden yellow sun.
Whether you utilize our organically grown Calendula Flowers to make a tea or draw an herbal bath with our Flowers and Feelings Ritual Bath products, make sure to take a moment this season to stop and smell the flowers. 
Say you want to embrace the beauty and loving energy of flowers without worrying about them wilting. Our wide variety of Flower Agate is just what you’re looking for. Flower agate contains inclusions of opaque Chalcedony, appearing as delicate white flowers in the stone. It is thought to help connect the Heart Chakra with the Root Chakra and therefore aid in healing from past traumas that then manifest in the physical body. Like the Summer season, it is thought to encourage growth by providing a sense of protection. Live fully in bloom this Summer and let your spirit come alive with this absolutely gorgeous crystal.
Throughout history, various cultures have deemed the solstice worthy of celebration. We've survived another Winter and have felt the Sun slowly regain it's power all leading to this peak moment of solar abundance! However you decide to celebrate we here at Crystal Magic wish you a Summer of growth, prosperity, and joy!
CrystalmagicCrystalsFlower agateHerbsIncenseMagicNew agePalo santoSageSmudgingSolsticeSpell castingSunstone

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