Sunday, June 21, 2015

Embracing Light: Summer Solstice

Happy Summer Solstice to everyone, everywhere! Today is the longest day of the year, and marks both the sun's longest ride through the sky, and the point at which our light begins to lessen each day until we reach Yule. Today is an excellent day to simply be aware of the sunlight. If it's cloudy where you are, how does the brightness of the sky lighten or darken depending on the thickness of the clouds? If it is a sunny day, how do the rays of sunlight enhance or illuminate the greenness of plant leaves, or the color of flowers in bloom?

This morning I pulled a card from my Viking Cards deck asking:

"How can I bring more light into my life?"

I pulled: The Hearth - Care.
Viking Cards/G. Bergmann
This card represents both caring for other people in your life, and self-care. Interestingly, I've pulled the Empress several times over the past couple of weeks, and I always hear her saying to me, "Take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. Eat well. Nurture yourself." And I have been trying to follow her advice (and more or less succeeding!).

I've been alone for a couple of weeks. My kids are on a long visit with their grandparents, and my husband is working in Sweden for a while. I had a similar experience last summer, and it was the first time I'd ever been completely alone in so many years that I honestly didn't know what to do with myself. I didn't know how to organize my time, I didn't eat very much, and when I did eat it was quite often frozen veggie burgers and carrot sticks (I didn't see the point in cooking when I didn't have a family to cook for!). It took a while to gain some semblance of balance in my life, and then everyone was back, and things fell back into the normal family rhythms.
Chinese Tarot/US Games Systems
This time has been a bit different. I cook for myself - complete, hot meals, with lots of flavor and lots of earthy goodness (Swiss chard has been a mainstay of late). After the first few aimless days of watching Netflix non-stop I finally turned off the television in disgust and started reading, gardening, writing, thinking, and even baking (though it's hard to finish an entire pan of brownies on one's own!). So in many ways I have worked out the kinks of being alone, and taking care of myself just as much as I would care for one of my children. This is good!

But there is something deeper to the Hearth that has come slowly unfurling from the deep dark and into the light: it's not just about how much I miss loving and caring for my family, or how successful I've been at being good to myself - it's about taking the time to honor what I want and need.

What I want and need. These are things that in the daily grind tend to get lost or muddled. I spend so much time in busy-ness, yes, cooking and planning meals, worrying about the grass being too long, wondering about what the electric bill will look like after this massive heat wave, taking my children to the park, figuring out the next grocery list, teaching, doing readings, fitting in time for walks with my husband, and on and on and on. Most of these things are positive (worrying about bills and lawn, maybe not so much!) but what happens is that the constant movement shifts my focus away from "me" and on to the vast variety of other things in my life. The result is that I don't have a chance to honor my own needs. And I need to, because it is essential for not only my own well-being, but the well-being of my crew.

I've come to some important realizations during this time that I've been alone. I have begun to recognize with tremendous force the things that I want to change, and what I want, what I really want for myself and ultimately for my family. For a long time I've known what I don't like (about my job, or my house, or my physical environment) but I haven't really been able to identify what it is that I do want. When I start to feel frustrated with my workplace, I immediately counter it with: "But... I have a lot of flexibility, and a good income, and a lot of creative license, and access to amazing technology.....I wouldn't get this anywhere else, I need to just focus on that." Well, that's not bad, to focus on the upside of things. But after a while, it starts to shift from being optimistic to simply not honoring the messages that my heart and soul are trying to get me to pay attention to.
Swedish forest/J. Destrades
What do I really want?

This morning my husband sent me a dozen photos of a farmhouse where he's spent the last few days. Deep green forests, the sun rising over a lake, children playing freely outside, a dirt path forking off in different directions. As I reviewed the photos a deep, visceral desire surged forth from my belly, and all I wanted in that moment was to shed this skin and live in that place. To stop living according to what limitations I perceive, and to reach out and pull myself into a new, fresh landscape of life. To release every aspect of my current environment that is not nourishing me, that I'm not satisfied with, and to free myself to be who and what I am; to give that gift to my children. To experience that with my husband. For months I have been pulling the 8 of Cups, Judgment and Death, and I see these cards as a reflection of what was already developing under the surface of my psyche before I could even place a finger on it; that helped me to slowly become more aware of the changes brewing within, and the rebirth that is taking place.
Field of flowers in Sweden/J. Destrades
I asked the cards to highlight the way in which I can bring more light into my life, and they responded loudly, and very clearly. Take care of yourself. Take care of those you love by being true to your desires and your needs.

My Solstice task for today is to sit down with a notepad and a pen and make a list of everything I know that I don't want any longer, and to make a list of everything that I know that I do want.

After all, the first step to manifestation is to have a clear, concrete, focused intention!

May the light of the sun illuminate your soul on this longest day of the year!


  1. This is a very loud wake up call not only for you but I think for a lot of us. During our lifetime we are so inclined to compromise and let go our needs and desires. As long as we are not clear about what we want we will never achieve it. Making such a list is a magical act. Writing everything down without thinking if is possible; no limitations, no compromising. You will probable know what I am going to do tonight !!!!
    Hugs and thanks!

    1. Olivia DestradesJune 21, 2015 at 4:33 PM

      Haha! Yes! You're so right, that the process of making a list is totally a magical act. It's a way to clarify, even to ourselves, our own intentions. Thank you, Ellen!