June 20th. Summer Solstice; also a full moon, both symbols for change, of starting something new, planting new seeds. Traditionally the light of the full moon has been seen as an energy of enhancing the potency of healing remedies and herbs — as well as those of deeply hidden and often destructive energies as for example seen in the myths of werewolves. In modern society hospitals and police forces around the world know that full moon nights, especially in summer, often bring an influx of work their way. There is just something about the bright light of a full moon shining into the usually dark crevices of life — and maybe those of the soul.
Similarly, the solstices carry powerful energy. They are the way posts that show us that the sun is turning more of his time towards us or away from us. They signify important turning points in nature. Time for seeding and harvesting was planned around them; they were experienced as moments of direct contact to the Gods.
Taking both of those energies together, today is a potent and powerful day: the longest day of the year, the day of the most day light and the shortest night, has it’s power enhanced by the power of the moon — even the nights surrounding this solstice, short as they may be, won’t be dark and hidden from the light.
It seems to me that many people are currently experiencing the effects of this powerful energy: very old and deep-seated patterns that have been with them seem to come up into the light of consciousness and it seems difficult to turn a blind eye to them. Illness, burnout, relationship issues, but also true contentment, love, and gratitude seem are presenting right now in my practice and in the social circles around me. This is not a time for half-measures, it would seem. The old adage of “no stone unturned” comes to mind.
How can one keep one’s footing in a time like this? When everything that is old and familiar falls away, falls apart, how are we to continue on? How do we keep on living the life we have? It seems impossible to keep going with the familiar rhythms and tasks when inside ourselves we are not feeling in the least in familiar territory.
So maybe the question needs to be changed. What if we asked instead: How can we find a new, maybe healthier or steadier, footing in life? How can we keep moving forward — gently, slowly — while we are exploring the new and / or changing inner landscapes of our soul? How can we create shifts in our lives that allow for some more space and gentleness in which we can explore old patterns, new patterns, changes in understanding of self and others, behaviours towards ourselves and others?
Of course we can’t just uproot our outer lives just because they don’t fit our inner patterns anymore — or at least that isn’t advisable in most cases. There are needs that want to be met: having a place to live, feeding ourselves and our children, providing stability and security for ourselves and our families. There are also wants that want to be fulfilled: travelling, a movie night or a dinner out, a wedding or a birthday party, new clothes, further education. Plus, when we are already in a place of inner upheaval it may be important to keep something in our lives stabile and the same. Work, a home, a relationship can provide a very important safety net for our sanity.
But within those continuing outer events, subtle changes can be made to accommodate the inner shifts and changes. We can observe our old patterns at play and gently start to shift them, e.g. we can consciously decide not to offer to take an extra shift so the colleague can go to the cottage a few hours earlier; we can learn to say “let me think about this” rather than saying “no” right away.
The deepest changes are not made overnight. Just deciding something should happen and then going for it may create impressive results quickly but it doesn’t necessarily create lasting results deeply within our souls. Creating that lasting change, that new footing, that inner gentleness requires us to first be patient and observe. Observe yourself in your day-to-day life: how do you communicate; what words or phrases do you use frequently; what are the predominant feelings you are encountering day by day; how do you sit or walk; when do you reach for the chocolate / cigarette / coffee / beer; what are your thoughts when you decide for the couch rather than the gym? Don’t chastise yourself while you are observing. Just gather information — and let the light of your consciousness illuminate not only your choices but also the reasons behind them. Be curious. Ask yourself: “When did I start doing this? Where did I learn this / hear this / see this? How is this (or has it been) making me feel better, safer, happier? What am I worried about or afraid of if I think about changing this?”
Curiosity shines a light, a gentle light — like the light of a full moon in a summer’s night. It allows us to see the usually hidden without pulling it into the harsh light of the day. During this full moon summer solstice, allow yourself to shine the gentle light of curiosity on those old patterns that have been coming up lately. See what happens. Just don’t judge.
Happy Solstice and happy start into summer proper,