It’s that time of the year and the summer solstice is once again upon us. This has always been a special time for me, as a kid the presence of the faeries was so tangible and there was magic in the air. As I got older and went through my phase of shutting down my intuitive abilities, I had put those feelings down to my imagination, because I had been so convincingly told that Father Christmas was coming.
I now know different. And once more that bubbly feeling of excitement comes to the surface, as I feel the veil thin and the faeries make their presence known.
This time of the year hasn’t all been excitement though. As the years go by, I feel ever increasingly dragged down by the expectations of Christmas. Voicing this opinion, has this year gotten me labelled as a “Grinch”. But when I look around, I see consumerism gone mad. I see and experience stressed people as they fight themselves and others to consume everything for the “perfect” Christmas (as prescribed by advertisers). And the more I see people consume unnecessarily, the more I weep for Mother Earth.
I will admit, this Solstice season has made me quite reflective in a number of ways. Beyond being a solitary druid at Christmas time and wishing I could skip Christmas and escape to the forest. I have been thinking on the wheel of the year and what it means for us in the southern hemisphere. In Australia, the wheel of the year looks a lot different to its traditional roots back in the UK. And then depending on where you are in Australia, it is different again.
Where I am, the Gold Coast, there aren’t 4 distinct seasons. It’s warm most of the year round and our winter would be laughable to a lot of people. When I often read about the wheel from a northern hemisphere perspective, I often see the summer solstice as a time of great warmth and celebration, a respite from the darkness that is winter, a celebration of the sun before the days once again get shorter.
When I see the summer solstice come around, I know the days are only going to get hotter, unbearably so. It is as if the male aspect of the year gains momentum and as much strength as possible, to only go out with a bang at Lughnasadh, with February being our hottest month.
Being in the subtropics, it is also a time of storms. My friend and I got caught in one of the biggest storms I have ever experienced while hiking at the O’reilly’s end of Lamington National Park last weekend. Day gave way to night, the heavy rain began and then marble and golf ball sized hail pummeled us. Upon exiting the forest, we got a spectacular display of lightening which was not visible through the canopy. It is these moments that humble you to nature. And it is this time of the year where Mother Nature will display her power.
I will admit, I have spent many a year pining away for cooler weather, fantasising about heavy coats and fireplaces. But there was something in that experience last weekend. Two days later found me floating in one of the creeks that connects to the Ocean. From my vantage point, I could see where the still water met the mouth of the ocean, the great crashing waves, the contrast. I felt the coolness of the water and the heat of the sun and watched as a school of tiny fish swam around me. I reflected on my time in the storm and realised how unique the land I find myself living on is.
She is harsh, yet beautiful and I am filled with gratitude to be here.
Living by the wheel of the year is so humbling. It connects you to the now and to the rawness and realness of where you are. It is not about following books, it’s about adapting to your unique landscape. And perhaps that is something for us in the southern hemisphere to reflect on this time of year, as we walk through shopping centres and malls decorated in a winter theme in the height of summer.
~ Fox Robin