Coming into the Light - Approaching Summer Solstice (and a tarot spread!)

The Sun, from the Morgan Greer Tarot. Is it just me, or is it a relief not to have that smug, fat little baby riding on a horse on this card?! I never liked that guy!

Summer Solstice is only a couple of weeks away down here in the Southern Hemisphere. I've written previously about wanting to overcome cognitive dissonance and forge a personal connection to the wheel of the year in my part of the world, so in recent weeks, I've tried to turn my attention to the seasons - both inner and outer - as much as possible. The jacarandas have bloomed, the koels are serenading their lady friends, and the television is saturated with ads for sunscreen. Solstice and Christmas are on the way!

In terms of the actual weather, Sydney is a funny old place. Of course, we have seasons in the broader sense, but day to day, the temperature and conditions are quite changeable, and extreme temperatures (only on the hotter end of the scale, we don't get what snowier parts of the world would consider extreme cold) generally only last for a week at most before the change comes, which itself then departs again after a day or two. For example, in the last month, there have been several days when the mercury has topped 30 degrees (celsius, natch), and even a day that was over 40, but today we're sitting on a pleasantly cool high of 23, and I'm wearing socks around the house for my chilly toes. 

Of course, we're not the only part of the world to experience weather patterns like this, and I'm sure even places that are consistently covered in snow for months at at time experience nuanced daily changes in temperature and conditions. What I'm learning, though, is that when you actually pay attention, seasons don't always feel like you expect them to! It's December, so summer has officially begun, and yet, chilly toes and socks persist. No doubt I'll be steeping in sock nostalgia when next week brings its forecast of hot, steamy days, complete with thunderstorm.

Each year, I speculate whether it'll be a boiling hot Christmas or a cool and rainy one (or that horrible third kind of Sydney Christmas, a hot and rainy one - by now you may gather I'm no fan of our sporadically tropical weather), and I'm sure I've never guessed correctly. As a child, I could've sworn that sun and rain alternated, but I doubt meteorological records would support that. No doubt a hot Christmas sounds odd to those in the Northern Hemisphere (after almost ten years of living here, my English boyfriend still can't quite come to terms with it!). While Christmas in summer feels natural to me, there is a level of perverseness to it, as we sing about white Christmases and watch wintery movies in shorts and tshirts with the fan blasting - or not, if it's a more temperate one. Strangeness aside though, the most important part of this process is simply attuning to what's going on, not trying to anticipate or compare it to anything, and witnessing my patch of mother earth doing its thing day to day, whatever that may be. 

The weather might be playing games with my assumptions, but where the wheel truly makes itself felt is in the mood. Just as the sunshine draws us out of our caves and onto the beach, so too do the social atmosphere and frantic holiday preparations turn our attention away from our inner lives and towards outwardly energetic pursuits. There's a lot of talk in the blogosphere about reflecting on the year gone by, and finding stillness and quiet during the holidays, candles and quiet, dark nights, and I must say, that is not where I'm at at all! This week has been work work work followed by Christmas parties followed by social catch ups followed by more work and a bit of late night karaoke. Not a lot of time for turning inwards! What I'm realising, though, is that is perfectly natural. Down here in this part of the world, we're heading towards a peak in externally focused energy, the Summer Solstice, so it's not surprising I desire karaoke over meditation. Recognising that and attuning myself to it means I find myself in flow with the atmosphere and the season, not at odds with them. Fellow Australian mystics, I recommend it!

I know I just said there's no time for reflection, but even at the busiest time of year, there's always time for tarot. Pulling a few cards is a great way to examine our relationship with that's going on around us at any time of the year!

Summer Solstice Alignment Spread

This simple three- or four-card spread is designed to help us Southern Hemispherians (or in six months' time, you folks up North) channel that building and brewing Summer Solstice energy, and connect with this active, social, and outwardly directed time of year.

Card 1: CONTEXT. What part of my life would most benefit from receiving the outwardly directed energy of this season?

Card 2: ACTION. What steps can I take in order to best put this energy to use in that part of my life?

CARD 3: REFLECTION. During this time of high energy, where are my opportunities for growth?*

Card 4: SELF-CARE. How can I regulate and replenish my energy stores during this intense period, so that I can stay happily in the flow of this season?

*Note that Card 3: Reflection is totally optional - trust your feelings, and if you don't have time because you have to run out the door to yet another fabulous holiday party, skip it! However, Self-Care is compulsory, no matter what the season, so Card 4 is non-negotiable ;)

I think this post has already gone on long enough, so I'll post my own findings next week. Stay tuned!

If you're feeling in need of a little Solstice support, please do give this spread a go! I'd love to know how you went in the comments. If you're so inclined, please do share your findings on your blog or instagram, or your preferred online hang zone (and don't forget to send me a link so I can check it out!).