The Solstices of Summer and Winter

Written by Sherrie Locke on 1 Akabal and 2 Net, June 2014.

The Solstice marks the longest or shortest day of the year depending on whether you are north or south of the equator.

The equinoxes and solstices as seen from space.

The equinoxes and solstices as seen from space.

Summer Solstice is the longest day and shortest night. Winter Solstice is the shortest day and longest night.

The equinoxes and solstices as seen from Earth.

The equinoxes and solstices as seen from Earth.

Each solstice marks a turning point.

The Summer Solstices

At the summer solstice the sun has reached its zenith, and after this day the hours of sunlight decrease, therefore the days get shorter. With the winter solstice, the following days increase in light and the days get longer. So whether you are in the northern or southern hemisphere, the summer solstice is the strongest point.

Factoid: When you get closer to the equator, day and night are almost equal with sunrise at 6 AM and sundown at 6 PM. The farther north or south you go, the more the effect, thus the darkness at the poles in winter.

The Equinoxes and Solstices

Remember, the equinoxes are balance points. The solstices are apex points of light and of darkness.

In my home tradition, in most indigenous cultures, and certainly in the pagan community, we celebrate the four sacred holidays, the four seasons, thus the four elements. Whatever you call it, this is the cycle of equinox and solstice, the changing points.

This table is based on zodiacal New Year at zero degrees Aries tropical astrology.

  • Northern Hemisphere
  • Spring, sun enters Aries – Equinox – March – Element AIR
  • Summer, sun enters Cancer – Solstice – June – Element FIRE
  • Autumn, sun enters Libra – Equinox – September – Element Water
  • Winter, sun enters Capricorn -Solstice – December – Element EARTH
  • Southern Hemisphere
  • Autumn, sun enters Aries Equinox – March – Element WATER
  • Winter, sun enters Cancer Solstice – June – Element EARTH
  • Spring, sun enters Libra – Equinox – September – Element AIR
  • Summer, sun enters Capricorn – Solstice – December – Element FIRE

I will mention, once again, that in this day and age there are lots of pseudo-ceremonies performed on the solstice and equinox points, or around the correct date and time. We are fortunate that this coming solstice falls on the requisite 21st of June this year. Maybe this year most people will schedule their celebration on the correct day.

The Time of the Summer Solstice in 2014

The solstice has an exact time, and this year it occurs at 10:51 UTC. This translates to 6:51 AM on the East Coast of the United States, 3:51 AM on the West Coast of the United States. Here in Guatemala it will be at 4:51 AM, around sunrise for us.

I was at a summer solstice festival in New Mexico many years ago, and a lot of “rainbow” types attended. The festival was in a really cool old mining town I was living in at the time. I had been tracking astrology for many years, but for some reason at that time I did not have access to my ephemeris so I did not know the exact time of the solstice. I was pretty sure it was in the early afternoon that year. Back then nobody had a smart phone and certainly no Internet.

Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

Solstice at Stonehenge

I looked around and decided the event organizer might be a good person to ask, since after all, he was the person in charge, I just wanted to know the exact time of the solstice. His answer was both laughable and anger provoking. He yelled at me… What is wrong with you? The solstice is today, that’s what we’re here for! Then he walked off puffing something about, “ It’s ALWAYS a woman asking stupid questions.” I am certain most people would have been offended back then, and these days he might even get slugged by a female.

Well folks, the solstice is not all day, it has an exact time. It happens in an instant. Bam! We change elements.

At least on the equinox we get four minutes of balance. That totals eight minutes annually. On a solstice we simply go straight into the new element.

As I stated, we have four changes of element and eight minutes of balance, and twice a year we pivot and change from increase of light to decrease of light. See the rhythm? Awesome, huh?

The feasts and celebrations would traditionally commence “after” the exact time of the solstice or equinox.

So for those of us in the Northern hemisphere we go from element of Air (right intention) to element of Fire (right action) from the apex of light to increasing darkness. For those in the southern hemisphere, you go from element of Water (right faith) to element of Earth (right receiving), from the apex of darkness to increasing light.

See how this works? Rather like a global Rubik’s Cube, four on top, four on the bottom, always with the opposite elements in play. Air/Water, Fire/Earth. Cool huh?

How to Prepare for the Summer Solstice

Prior to this solstice, I ask those of you in the northern hemisphere to let go of what is holding you back. Burn, give away, and let go. Pause on solstice this Saturday, preferably at the exact time of the event.

If that is not possible, prepare a feast and take the day for celebration. Give thanks for yet another new beginning. This time we get to take right action. I am certain, after months of setbacks and clearing, that if this blog has reached you, then you know exactly what I am referring to and are ready for the new refreshed energy.

For you southern hemisphere folks, your faith (element of Water) has been tested and you are moving into Earth element where all your hard work and intention will pay off and crystallize (hopefully), and if you didn’t quite get it right this time you will have a chance to begin again on the spring equinox.

Many astrologers calculate a chart at the solstice and equinox points, the beginning of each element, like a birth chart. This kind of chart is good for three months and is the theme for the next three-month journey.

The old way of being can shift in an instant. The old way, of narcissistic behavior, we are leaving behind. No more exclusion, no more I, me, mine mentality. We are moving more fully into unity consciousness

In the meantime, between the time I publish this post and the Solstice point on Saturday June 21, 2014, 10:51 UTC, let go and give thanks for what you have learned, realized, let go of, forgiven and transcended. Good job! Let’s go into the next element happy, optimistic and in gratitude.

Love you all!
Mitakuye Oyasin!
~SL 2014

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One thought on “The Solstices of Summer and Winter

  1. HI Sherrie, great job! Here is a little photo from a place called Uaxactun, the original Capitol of the Maya lands before 350 A.D.!!! These three temples mark the Equinoxes and the Dec. 21 Solstice!!!!!! I took this pic standing on the Jaguar temple with eight giant jaguar masks adorning the steps!
    SAMSUNG SGH-i917_002283
    -Carlos Cedillo

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