The past six years I have celebrated Summer Solstice by taking part in the Nit de Foc (Night of the Fire), which followed straight into the next morning of Dia de Sant Joan in Barcelona, Spain. This year it was spent quite differently, but with similarities in terms of great feelings of revitalization, energy and the realization that summer is REALLY here.
In Barcelona, one spent the night dancing and drinking around bonfires starting at sundown and bathing in the fresh Mediterranean at sunrise. The beach was filled with the energy and light of people ready to greet summer (i.e. festival season). Today, in Silverlake, at 6:30am we a group of us bathe in the glory of the sun, to salute and honor it.
Today is the longest day of the year, which also means, the day which provides us with maximum lightness and least darkness. On Friday my mentor, Ducky Punch, texted me with anger and fury about what had happened in Charleston. She felt helpless and wanted to honor the victims. As I had just woken up and had thought about gathering my thoughts about the tragic events, I knew that that was the exact moment my thoughts and words needed to go on “paper”.
Ducky, the day before had received a suggestion from a teacher that the summer solstice this year was going to be more potent and powerful compared to others. She was suggested that as the sun was rising, 8 sun salutations was the way that this day should be greeted. Being her unique self and wanting to honor the 9 victims of the Charleston shootings, this morning a group of us gathered at Silverlake Meadows and did just this.
The energy was powerful, the sun was potent and many of us unaffected from the sleeplessness of the night before due to various fun celebrations, including the wedding of the girl with purple hair, Arielle Miller (now a Cohen), received the prana from our sun.
On the international day of yoga, it was great to follow the tradition of practicing Surya Namaskar A, which yoga journal describes as nothing less than the embodiment of the Gayatri mantra, a sacred prayer to the sun. Christopher Chapel says:
As we sweep our arms up and bow forward, we honor the earth, the heavens, and all of life in between that is nourished by the breath cycle. As we lower our bodies, we connect with the earth. As we rise up from the earth, we stretch through the atmosphere once more, reaching for the sky. As we bring our hands together in Namaste, we gather the space of the heavens back into our heart and breath, acknowledging that our body forms the center point between heaven and earth.
I am unable to describe the great feeling of joy and energy that was brought upon us by this practice this morning. Most importantly, collectively bringing our intention and attention to innocent victims in South Carolina, was what resonated most with me, personally.
Today and everyday, we must decide to honor ourselves, honor the universe, but most importantly honor the light in individuals who bring about beauty and joy into our lives. Let us take the summer solstice to remind ourselves that it is through that constant journey of finding light and compassion within ourselves that will eventually make this world a more beautiful, less dark and a fulfilling place to be a part of.