Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summer Solstice - “Let the Sunshine In”

© 2009 by Joyce Mason

For over twenty years, I’ve done rituals to celebrate the change of seasons with a spirited group of women known as the
Solsisters. We’ll celebrate the Sun’s entry into Cancer and the Summer Solstice by the river on June 19 in a diverse homemade ceremony, as usual. A close friend is my co-facilitator—the other “regular” at creating these rituals--though over time, it has become more of a shared creation of the participants. For the definition of solstice and the reasons we celebrate, read about our last Winter Solstice gathering.

Maybe it was because I was just coming off updating
Your Solar Return and Solar Return Meditation, but I got an earworm—one of those songs or jingles that won’t leave your mind till you do something with it. The song was the Siamese twin of “The Age of Aquarius” from Hair, “Let the Sunshine In.” The words struck me as being so appropriate for this time of year.

Let the Sun Shine
Summer is primarily a celebration of the signs Cancer and Leo. American schools may get out in Gemini and go back in Virgo (so appropriate as the Mercury-ruled mental signs), but most vacations and the bulk of summer occur when the Sun is in Mom and Dad.

That’s right! Mom and Dad. Cancer, ruled by the Moon, is most associated with mother, love, and nurturing—a feminine water sign. Leo is dad, creativity, birth, playfulness—a masculine fire sign. Together, the Sun and the Moon are called the Lights. Summer kicks off with light at maximum—the longest day of the year. We are drenched in light. Cancer and Leo symbolism abounds. We play by the water in the bright light of the Sun and relish our ability to have fun and nurture ourselves with more leisure than usual.

Finally, as a Chiron aficionado, I have to note the large role the Lights play in the Chiron myth. The great healer Chiron, an abandoned being, was parented and educated by Apollo and Artemis in the guise of the Sun and the Moon. The Lights were the teacher and mentor of arguably one of the greatest teachers and mentors known to humanity. Chiron’s age-old story and archetype has returned to Earth in these turning-point times as a planet discovered in 1977, named in his honor. His nurturing and educational lineage is no small cosmic hint about where to go for answers. (Look Up.)

The Sun in Astrology
What is the meaning of the Sun in astrology?

The Sun is you when you’re “on,” acting totally
from instinct combined with character and personality. It’s you on stage playing yourself to the hilt, winning a Tony Award. Some people call it being in the zone, being in the groove, or getting your mojo. The Sun is pure You—no edits, no strings, stripped of outer influences

Rarely do we act in this completely solar way. When we do, it’s magical. It’s a plain, 47-year-old Susan Boyle knocking ‘em dead with a voice like an angel on Britain’s Got Talent. We can do anything, because we are being the essence of who we were designed to be. This blog is dedicated to the evolution of this kind of solar power.

And speaking of the Radical Virgo, summer culminates in the sign of the Virgin. In the US, we tend to think of the time the Sun is in Virgo as “fall,” mostly due to advertising and back-to-school rituals that keep us a beat ahead of the planetary music. This is especially true for those of us born toward the autumn equinox end of the sign. With my Sun in the last degree of Virgo, it was an epiphany the day I realized I was actually born during the last breath of summer.

It doesn’t take more than reading your first astrology book or attending your first class to understand that the Sun is only a fraction of the unique fingerprint that is you. There’s your Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn—and so on. However, when you consider the role of the Sun in your true essence, it’s not difficult to understand why Sun sign astrology has always been—and remains—so popular. On first blush, it’s easy to believe that Solar You is “it.” All the other planetary influences are back-story. They are written in the script notes or character sketch but often are not immediately visible. You are an actor interpreting the role, doing Aries, Gemini, Leo—whatever your Sun sign. Think of all the actors who have played James Bond, yet every one played him in his own inimitable way.

While the Sun in astrology isn’t everything, it’s your vehicle of self-expression. What an energy to celebrate. Every time you do, it’s a rebirthday.

Let Your Sun Shine In
Why not learn more about your Sun at a deeper level during the season that nearly overwhelms us with sunshine? Where I live near Sacramento, CA the summer sun is relentless. Multiple days of triple-digit heat are common. What a wonderful time to make an astrology book your beach or chaise longue reading material. When it’s too hot, take it indoors in the air-conditioning and do the bits that are more conducive to inside play. Here are some ideas for becoming more deeply acquainted with your twelfth of the zodiac:

Learn Your Myth. Google “myth + name of your sign.” You’ll find a goldmine of mythical material to ponder. You’ll wonder how these metaphors fit into making you You. For example, Jason and the Argonauts as well as Robin Hood epitomize
Aries. Or you can get two lines on each of the twelve at Signs of the Zodiac: Myths and Legends. Not to leave out the namesake sign of this blog, the identity of the virgin in the constellation Virgo is uncertain; throughout history, she has been associated with nearly every prominent goddess. A mystery to solve! Or at least formulate a theory about.

Revisit Classic Sun Sign Literature. My interest in astrology started young, but I still resonate to
Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs (1984) as containing some of the best descriptions of the dazzling dozen ever put on paper. Sun Signs is also posted on Another classic is Kathleen Burt’s Archetypes of the Zodiac (1988). Bill Tierney’s All Around the Zodiac (2001) gets a big thumbs-up in reader reviews—and if you have another favorite to add to the list, please Comment and share it with us.

Do Some Personal, Experiential Astrology. If you’re an Earth sign (your Sun is in Taurus, Virgo, or Capricorn) play in dirt. Garden. Tend your house plants. Work with clay. Get into your body through exercise, sensuality, or sex. How does this element figure into your make-up? Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius): Sit in front of a fan, hang out in a breeze—especially near a wind chime—blow on a pinwheel. Drop leaves from a balcony. Blow on milkweed. How does wind affect you? Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces): Swim, bathe, spa. Play in water. Play in the sprinklers. Go down to the river and watch water flow. How are you the water element? Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius): Feel the sun on your face and body. Light a small fire, even in the middle of summer. Light a candle and watch it flicker. Watch summer wildfire coverage. How is your make-up on fire?

Let Your Moon Reflect on Your Growing Season
My first spiritual teacher emphasized summer as our personal growing season. On days when you simply have to retreat to the air conditioning, you can use your Moon like your “inside voice” to reflect quietly on what you’ve learned playing in the Sun—literally or figuratively. Muse on how your Moon treats this Sun knowledge, since Sun and Moon work hand in glove as your Lights that guide you to enlightenment. For example, Aries Moon might want to “get ‘er done.” She wants to get this personal growth stuff over with so she can go back out and play. Pisces Moon may want to put it to music, strum his guitar, or meditate on the rays of new Sun info gleaned. Libra Moon may want to share her insights with another.

These explorations deepen our appreciation of the twelve archetypes of the zodiac, the alphabet on which the language of astrology is built, complemented by the planets that rule each sign and their aspects to each other. To understand astrology and to make astrology work for us, we have to go back to the basic twelve and learn ever-deepening layers of meaning.

This reminds me of an experience I once had about “the basics,” only it involved tarot rather than astrology. Someone came to me for a reading at a psychic fair. We got into a conversation about the book,
Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism (translated from French, 1985 edition). He swore if he could only have one book stranded on a desert island for the rest of his life, this would be “it.” Its author is anonymous. Similar to my suggestion that we delve deeply into the basic twelve zodiac symbols, “Meditations on the Tarot” mines the depths of the 22 Major Arcana cards. My mother gave it to me for my 40th birthday. Two decades later, I’m still delving. Starting with your own Sun sign, learning the twelve signs of the zodiac is a “layers of the onion” process—well worth the occasional tears shed in self-discovery.

It won’t be long before you’ll understand why so many cultures have worshipped the Sun.

May your summer burst with light and fun.


Photo credit:
Abstact by Natou98

Summer Solstice: June 20, 10:45p PDT. Adjust for your time zone in the
US or World.

More on Sun Signs, the Moon and More: Read the monthly SkyHints Sidebar on
Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights, Joyce’s other blog for spirited living.

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