Today is the Summer Solstice. The sun has traveled as far to the north as it will this year. The days are long, and the warmth grows stronger. The field is awash in wildflowers, and the garden rich with greens.
The land is alive now. Actually, it is always alive, although we are most aware of this during the growing season. In the shaman’s world, even geological features are awake and aware. Underneath the rhythms of wind, water, and land may be felt or heard the heartbeat of Mother Earth. Her heartbeat resonates in our chests and finds its way into the resonance of the drum.
When we listen carefully we are transported. Sorrow and rage fall away, and we are filled with peace and joy. Even self-hatred retreats in the face of such beauty. Our brief histories stretch their boundaries, and we discover our connectedness to the far future and the distant past. This lifetime, the briefest of galactic moments, becomes a gift of unimaginable worth and beauty.
There is much that is healing in awakening to joy and the moment, even after the instant of knowing and transcendence, the fleeing time of awareness, is gone. Suddenly we are here, in this place, with the work of our lives to done. Yet the healing remains. Sometimes just one healing moment is all that is needed. Other times, deep and lasting tranquility develops slowly, over time, assuming an almost glacial pace, and thickening. The accumulation of moments that eventually, almost against our wills, brings surprise and joy.
I imagine C.S. Lewis would not take offense if we were to borrow his thoughts about the slow and quick workings of Christianity. I believe he would understand the overarching humanity of his phrase, “Surprised by joy.” He would intuitively comprehend and embrace the Inuit shaman’s dancing and singing, “Joy! Joy! Joy!’ He would open his heart wide and wish healing to each and all.
The Solstice is traditionally a time of gathering, of putting down conflicts and being moved by the healing heartbeat of Mother Earth. It is a time of remembering that we are born into Her welcoming arms, and pass from this life into new places of spirit. At the Solstice we are encouraged to remember those instructions given us by the Creator and the Grandmothers, and the agreements we made, the tasks we chose or accepted.
So we have gathered, in person or in spirit. May you find peace and joy at this dancing, spinning, turning of the year.