The June solstice—occurring this year on the 20th—marks the day when the Sun is at its northernmost or southernmost arc along the celestial equator. In the North, it is known as midsummer, the longest day of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is midwinter—the shortest day and longest night, and the beginning of a new year in the sacred calendar.
The solstice was one of Inca’s most sacred events, when they paid tribute to the sun, Inti, who blessed them with light and abundant crops. In 1572 the ritual was deemed pagan and banned by the Conquistadores, remaining all-but-forgotten until 1944, when it was revived and became a symbol of Andean pride.
Inti festivals are still held in Andean villages where prayers to the sun, such as this one, are said:
O Father Inti
Lord of all creation,
Of all the men, women and creatures that walk your earth
Of the birds that fly across your heavens
Of the stars that cover your celestial spaces…
Hear the words of your son
And bless this day dedicated to your greatness
Bless this earth with the goodness and warmth of your light
So that we may have one more year of life and prosperity.
A solstice celebration is not complete without a fire ceremony. The beauty of a fire ceremony—held outdoors around a bonfire or indoors with a candle—is that there are no rules to define it, although opening and closing sacred space with an invocation to the four directions is customary. You can follow along with my invocation here. No matter when or where you hold it, the fire ceremony is an opportunity to express gratitude for your blessings, ask your ancestors or the universe for assistance, and unburden yourself of unnecessary emotional baggage.
I invite you to join me and Marcela in a virtual fire ceremony on the 20th of June. Please sign up here and come with a candle and toothpicks or incense as we gather with shamans around the world to pray, give thanks, and dream a new world into being.
Wishing you many blessings this solstice and always,
Alberto Villoldo, PhD