Today marked the Summer Solstice, otherwise known as the longest day of the year and the first day of summer. Throughout history, many different cultures and traditions have honored this day as a celebration. These celebrations date back to pre-christian times, and have strong a strong presence in Northern Europe in countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Even in the United States though, people celebrate MidSummer. My cousin lives in Seattle, and every year they hold a huge Summer Solstice Festival in the Fremont District. Even where I live in Geneva, Illinois, there are Swedish Days, a week long celebration full of modern fun like vendors and a carnival, but also pays tribute to the towns Swedish roots with Maypole dancing and Viking ships.
There are many different ways to interpret and celebrate Midsummer. I look at it from some pagan traditions of celebrating mother earth and thanking her for all she has done for me. Mother Nature truly has changed my life. I have always been a lover of the outdoors. My family would spend our summers out in tents rather than hotels, and exploring the forests and bluffs of the northern midwest became a tradition of ours. And while nature has always been a part of my life, this year, it has helped transform me, body, mind and soul. I started routinely going on walks in the woods at the end of last summer. During my strolls, I found peace within myself. My worries, obsessive thoughts, fears, all seemed to vanish when I was outside in nature. My attention shifted outward as I admired the sights and sounds all around me. I was captivated by all the beauty and new discoveries that I encountered. These walks also allowed me to get some free exercise in, and I would spend hours walking, exploring, climbing, frolicking and playing in Mother Nature. When I am in nature, I only experience good things. I reflect, dream, become in awe, and raise my consciousness to where I am not so focused on myself as an individual, but myself as a whole. As one with the earth. So much positivity and change has come with spending time in nature. Not to be over dramatic, but it has saved my life.
So I wanted to repay the kindness Mother Nature has given me. I went to the forest preserve near my house where I spend the most time, and gave her a food offering of select fruits and vegetables. I also returned some crystal bits to the earth as well. I wanted to give to her what she has given to me; nutritious foods for my body and healing crystals for my soul. Sitting and meditating in the woods, I gave my thanks to all the blessings she has bestowed onto me. I hope everyone had a wonderful Summer Solstice and found a way to give thanks and celebrate.
Peace and love.