June 2022 WATERritual: Praise the Sun for Summer Solstice

June 2022 WATERritual

Praise the Sun for Summer Solstice

By Diann L. Neu

Watch the June 2022 WATERritual.


Preparation: Light a fire. Put red,  yellow, and orange flowers on a table. Have nearby a glass of lemonade or ice tea and ingredients for “s’mores:” marshmallows, chocolate squares, and graham crackers.



Welcome to tonight’s celebration of the Summer Solstice, June 21, the time of greatest light. The heat of the day is a reminder that summer is around the corner. Give yourself a moment to transition into summer. Pause

To create our circle, let’s speak into our own space while muted and say, “I honor the sun on this Summer Solstice.”


Song: “Lachen,” Traditional German round, found in A Circle Is Cast by Libana, ©1986. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd4-4XWZuDk&ab_channel=Libana-Topic

Lachen, lachen, lachen, lachen,

kommt der Sommer uber das Feld,

uber das Feld kommt der Sommer,

ha ha ha, lachen uber das Feld.

Laughing, laughing, laughing, laughing,

Comes the summer over the field,

Over the field comes the summer,

Ha Ha Ha, Laughing over the field.


Call to Gather

The Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer’s Night, is the longest day and the shortest night of the year. On this night, Earth reaches midpoint on her journey around the sun. In the Northern Hemisphere, we anticipate the coming of summer, as our friends in the Southern Hemisphere prepare for the winter season.

Red, yellow, and orange are the colors for summer solstice: the red of passion, the yellow of the sun, and the orange of the summer bonfire. Red, yellow, and orange flowers and candles enhance our celebration. This evening may our wishes be fulfilled!

In ancient agricultural rites, fires were lit at summer solstice to renew the sun’s energy. Indigenous Europeans built sun shrines: Stonehenge, Woodhenge, and New Grange. The Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas of Central America, the Chinese, and the Egyptians all built sun shrines. In many of the Native American traditions, this time of year is celebrated as part of a vision cycle, and dances are performed to renew the energy of the sun, the vegetation, and the people. On this day, the Hopi Indians of the Southwest celebrate Niman Kachina when the kachinas, the tribal spirit guides, return to their underground homes until the winter solstice.

In Brazil, people set flower wreaths on fire and float them on the waves to honor the Yoruba sea goddess, Iemanjá. In the Christian tradition, summer solstice, or St. John’s Eve, marks the birth of John the Baptist, who told of the coming of Christ, the Light. Even today, St. John’s fires are lit in the mountains in Europe. The flames of sun and fire remind us of the early Christian community’s Pentecost experience of empowerment by the Spirit. In the goddess traditions, summer solstice was known as Litha, the name of a northern European and North African goddess of fertility, power, and abundance.

In feminist circles around the world, the Summer Solstice is being welcomed as a time to renew passions, continue resistance, give thanks for the abundant gifts of Earth, and promise to work for climate justice to protect all things under the sun.


 Lighting Summer Solstice Fires

Generation to generation people honor the light and call forth injustices in the world. This evening we spark five fires to welcome compassion, resilience, and justice into spaces that are both dry and barren, bountiful and fertile.

We greet the fire of the North to honor those who bring the enduring spark of the Summer Solstice in a time of historic injustice: immigrants, Muslims, Jews, communities of color, sexual and gender minorities, all of us gathered tonight.

Praise the Sun for Summer Solstice.

We greet the fire of the South to remember those in South America, Africa, and Australia as they celebrate the Winter Solstice.

Praise the Sun for Winter Solstice.

We greet the fire of the East in solidarity with those in Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe, especially the people in Ukraine, mothers and children in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iraq who are in fear and trembling, dying in the streets.

Praise the Sun for Summer Solstice.

We greet the fire of the West for the indigenous women who fight for their sacred spaces and the right for their voices to be heard. We light this candle to thank our friends on the front lines of climate change who have shown grace, courage, and resiliency in the face of destructive environmental policies.

Praise the Sun for Summer Solstice.

We greet the fire of the Center with gratitude for those this season who bring us laughter, lift up our spirits, and warm our souls.
Praise the Sun for Summer Solstice.

 “Rise with the Fire” by Starhawk

(Clap, use drums, rattles, and percussion instruments.)

We can rise with the fire of freedom, truth is a fire that burns our chains.
We can stop the fire of destruction, healing is the fire running through our veins.

“The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver, from Devotions. New York: Penguin Press, ©2017.


Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

Song: “May I Suggest” by Susan Werner, from New Non-Fiction © 2001 Susan Werner, https://youtu.be/eW1DDSQnEYo

May I suggest

May I suggest to you

May I suggest this is the best part of your life

May I suggest

This time is blessed for you

This time is blessed and shining almost blinding bright

Just turn your head

And you’ll begin to see

The thousand reasons that were just beyond your sight

The reasons why

Why I suggest to you

Why I suggest this is the best part of your life

There is a world

That’s been addressed to you

Addressed to you, intended only for your eyes

There’s a secret world

Like a treasure chest to you

Of private scenes and brilliant dreams that mesmerize

A tender lover’s smile

A tiny baby’s hands

The million stars that fill the turning sky at night

And I suggest

Yes I suggest to you

Yes I suggest this is the best part of your life

There is a hope

That’s been expressed in you

The hope of seven generations, maybe more

And this is the faith

That they invest in you

That you’ll do one better than was done before

And inside you know

Inside you understand

Inside you know what’s yours to finally set right

And I suggest

Yes I suggest to you

Yes I suggest this is the best part of your life

This is a song

Comes from the west to you

Comes from the west, comes from the slowly setting sun

This is a song

With a request of you

To see how very short the endless days will run

And when they’re gone

And when the dark descends

Oh we’d give anything for one more hour of light

And I suggest this is the best part of your life

Reflection | Sharing

“This is the best part of your life,” sings Susan Werner. And Mary Oliver asks,

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Let us take a few moments to reflect on these questions:

What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? What fulfillment, passion, and creativity do you wish for yourself and for Earth this Summer Solstice?

Let’s take time in small groups to share a glimpse of our reflections. Sharing

Remembering Those Who Need Healing

On this Solstice night, we call forth the Summer Solstice fires once again to honor and remember those who need healing.

Let us remember those suffering from violence around the world:

  • The victims of war and terror.
  • The victims of hate, homophobia, and racism.

Let us lift up those affected by the destructive capabilities of sun and fire:

  • The victims of fires and war.
  • Those plagued by drought and famine, and those who lack access to food and clean water.

Let us honor those who are most affected by climate change:

  • Indigenous communities worldwide.
  • Low-income, coastal communities facing the threat of rising sea levels.

Let us pray for those in need of healing this night.


Together, let us respond in our own spaces:

            Spark of the Summer Solstice fires,

Give us the courage to act for justice.

Give us the wisdom to work together–East to West, North to South—

in our common struggle for liberation.

Give us the compassion to care for all of Earth’s goodness on this Solstice night.

Blessing Summer Solstice Food and Drink

Summer reminds us of lemonade, mint tea, melons, bonfires, toasting marshmallows, and eating s’mores. Toast a marshmallow, or imagine you are, put it on a graham cracker with a piece of chocolate, and make a delicious sandwich like Girl Scouts do. Raise a glass of lemonade or mint tea and pray:

Blessed are you, Holy Ones of the Summer Solstice, for giving us this food and drink to deepen our passions, fulfill our wishes, and sustain our fires. As we eat and drink, may we be nourished to spark energy for justice.


Greeting and Solstice Leap 

We came together tonight to honor the Sun, the Earth, and each other. Let us put our hands together and bow to each other to honor on another.

To bring closure to our Solstice celebration let us take the Solstice leap. It is traditional on the Summer Solstice to leap over fire. Those who wish can leap over your candle, or just stand up and jump. Be careful!

For protection in the coming year… for the courage to take risks and follow your one wild and precious life… for believing this is the best part of your life… and for the fun of feeling foolish again…  jump over the fire…

Take another leap for the protection of all things under the Sun and on the Earth. Leap over the fire.


Take Action

Let us put our prayers into action. Here are some possible ways.

~ Watch the sunrise or sunset.

~ Take a walk in a park or forest. Kneel in the grass.

~ Notice lightning bugs dotting a summer night.

~ Read research about climate change. As record high temperatures are being reached all over the world, let us remember that climate change is bringing summer weather unlike any we have experienced. Let the warmth of summer remind us to be considerate of Earth and of our commitments to work for climate justice.

~ Share summer crafts with children.

~ Read a poem in a hammock.


Sending Forth

Let us go forth mindful of the life-giving power of the Sun,

Conscious of the power of our collective spirit,

And aware of the work still to be done on this Earth.


Learn More from These Resources

~ Read about Stonehenge, the monument to celebrate the Summer Solstice.

~ Oliver, Mary. Devotions. New York, NY: Penguin Press, 2017.

~ Pfeffer, Wendy. The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice. New York, NY: Puffin Books, 2015.

2022 Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, adapted from Stirring WATERS: Feminist Liturgies for Justice