June 2023 WATERritual

Summer Solstice 

Tuesday, June 20, 7.30 pm ET

You can watch the recording of this WATERritual here on YouTube.

Preparation: Place red, yellow, orange items like a cloth, scarf, hat, necklace, orange fruit, candle, flowers, near you.  

Welcome, Land Acknowledgment, Call to Gather

Happy Midsummer and Summer Solstice to you in the Northern Hemisphere! Happy Winter Solstice to you in the Southern Hemisphere. We begin our celebration by acknowledging the land on which we sit. Here in the Washington, DC area the Piscataway and Anacostan peoples have celebrated the Summer Solstice for generations. We follow in their footsteps, grateful to live as a guest on this land. Type in the chat the names of the indigenous peoples of the land where you are to honor them.

The Summer Solstice (June 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, December 21 in the Southern) is the absolute peak of solar power. Sol + stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning “sun” + “to stand still.” As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky when it is at its apex while at its turning point. This is the longest day and shortest night of the year. Nature is at the summit of its sumptuousness, as light and as ripe as it can possibly get. It signals that changes in light and weather are coming.

Summer Solstice is a magical time when wishes are made and can come true. Earth is transparent and its underground riches can be seen. It is a significant turning point in the Wheel of the Year.

Summer Solstice festivals worldwide celebrate the sun and renew the community’s ties to Earth. Red and yellow are the colors for Summer Solstice: the red of passion, the yellow of the sun, and the red of the summer bonfire. Red and yellow enhance our celebration. Let’s show our symbols. Take a look around the screen. (Pause) This day may our wishes be fulfilled!

Song: “Song of Summer Solstice” by Jonna Jinton, with kulning (ancient Swedish herding call) together with the beautiful ancient instrument Nyckelharpa



Invoking the Goddesses of Fire

Let us call upon the female divinities, the goddesses of fire, to be with us to celebrate this  Summer Solstice.

Goddesses of Fire,

Sparking, glowing, searing powers,

Strong Ones who dance,

Passionate Ones who move the ever-turning wheel of creation,

We welcome you.

Pele of Polynesia, Hawaiian Goddess of fire and volcanos

  • You created the Hawaiian Islands and live inside the Kilauea Volcano, the most active volcano in the world.
  • Your name means “she who shapes the sacred land.”
  • You represent the cycle of creation and destruction, life and death.

Pele, be with us.

Oshun of West Africa, Diety of the Yoruba people

  • You are the first female Goddess and responsible for bringing life to Earth.
  • You are the Goddess of fertility, love, and fresh water.
  • You fiercely protect the sacred city of Osogbo, Nigeria.

Oshun, be with us.

Song: “Over My Head,” traditional African American Spiritual, adapted.

In my soul I feel wisdom in the air, (3x)

There must be a Goddess somewhere.

Sun Woman of Australia, Light-bringer to the Tiwi people of Northern Australia

  • You carry the sun on a torch made from a eucalyptus tree, and when that day ends, you douse the torch in the ocean.
  • You create the colors of the sky at dawn and dusk with the ochre body paint you put on.
  • At night you journey through darkness to return to us again.

Sun Woman, be with us.

Gaia of Greece, Mother of the sky, mountains, and sea

  • You are the personification of Earth, and ancestral mother of all life.
  • You have been worshipped for thousands of years, and continue to be

Gaia, be with us.

Song: “Over My Head,” traditional African American Spiritual, adapted.

In my soul I feel wisdom in the air, (3x)

There must be a Goddess somewhere.



Spider Woman of the American Southwest, Protector of humanity

  • You are a constant helper to the Navajo Tribe.
  • You taught humans the arts of weaving and agriculture so that we could survive winter.
  • You live at Spider Rock in Arizona, among the canyons.

Spider Woman, be with us.

Amaterasu of Japan, Spiritual leader of Shintoism

  • You are the Goddess of the sun, the most important symbol of Japanese mythology.
  • You light up the world and provide nourishment for all living
  • You represent order, purity, and creation.

Amaterasu, be with us.

Yemaya of West Africa, Queenly mermaid of Santeria

  • You are worshiped around the world, enduring in Black cultures across oceans.
  • You are the healing mother who sooths emotional damage and trauma.
  • You have a lively spirit that inspires female power.

Yemaya, be with us.

Song: “Over My Head,” traditional African American Spiritual, adapted.

In my soul I feel wisdom in the air, (3x)

There must be a Goddess somewhere.



Summer Solstice Festivities Worldwide

Here are examples of Summer Solstice festivals from all over the world.

Dragon Boat Festival in China

This traditional Chinese holiday takes place close to the Summer Solstice to commemorate Qu Yuan, one of the greatest poets of ancient China and the earliest known by name. It is celebrated by holding dragon boat races and eating zongzi (sticky rice dumplings).


Midwinter in Antarctica

During the Summer Solstice celebration in the Northern Hemisphere, researchers celebrate Midwinter in Antarctica. It is their primary holiday, typically celebrated with special meals, films, and gifts.  


Litha in Australia

Litha is the Summer Solstice celebration in the Southern Hemisphere. It marks the time when mother nature is at its strongest along with the sun.





Indigenous Festival in Canada

This is a festival celebrated in Ottawa, Canada on the traditional territories of the Algonquin people. It showcases Indigenous music, art, food, and more.


Chichén Itzá in Mexico

The pyramids of Chichén Itzá in Mexico are buildings of ancient architecture where a visual display is created twice a year to celebrate. During the Summer Solstice, the central pyramid of El Castillo is bathed in pure light in the company of many visitors.

Mayan Solstice in Guatemala

The Summer Solstice in Guatemala is full of spiritual rituals from the past. During sunrise and sunset Mayan priests light incense and offer prayers to showcase the light of the solstice.

Midsummer Festival in Sweden

It is common to flee to the countryside, walk barefoot, and wear a floral crown on the longest day of the year. Another tradition is dancing around the summer maypole.

Song:  “Over My Head,” traditional African American Spiritual, adapted.

Over my head I see summer in the air, (3x)

There must be a festival somewhere.


Reading:  “I’ll Tell You How the Sun Rose,” Emily Dickinson

I’ll tell you how the Sun rose –

A Ribbon at a time –

The Steeples swam in Amethyst –

The news, like Squirrels, ran –

The Hills untied their Bonnets –

The Bobolinks – begun –

Then I said softly to myself –

“That must have been the Sun”!

But how (s)he set – I know not –

There seemed a purple stile

That little Yellow boys and girls

Were climbing all the while –

Till when they reached the other side –

A Dominie in Gray –

Put gently up the evening Bars –

And led the flock away –

Song: “Over My Head”

Over my head I hear music in the air, (3x)

There must be Sun somewhere.

Reading: “The Summer Day” read by Mary Oliver


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?


What blessing from the Summer Solstice do you need?

Greet one another in your group with “Happy Solstice, Name!


Take Action

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

~ Watch the sunrise or sunset and bathe in the Light of the Sun.

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

~ Notice lightning bugs dotting a summer night.

~ Share summer crafts with children and adults.

~ As record temperatures are being reached all over the United States and elsewhere, let us remember that climate change is bringing summers unlike any we have experienced. So let the warmth of summer remind us to be considerate of Earth and of our commitments to work for climate justice.

~ Join a global tradition; for example, craft a Flower Crown.

Remembering Those Who Need Blessings

There are many who need our prayers this day. Let us speak the needs and answer with “May the warm sun bless you.”

Song: “Lachen,” Traditional German round, sung by Libana


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.

Sending Forth

Let us go forth conscious of the sun’s position throughout the rest of tonight and tomorrow.

Let us honor tomorrow’s sunrise and commune with the rising sun when we wake up. Remain conscious of the sun throughout the day and honor the sunset with your complete attention. After sunset, forgo electric lights when you can. Burn candles or a bonfire, as the ancients did, to feed the sun as it turns to darkness.

Enjoy the Summer Solstice.

© 2023 Diann L. Neu, dneu@hers.com, with Techika Rhodes, Patrice Rupp, and Brooke Andrews