The event we call the Summer Solstice in the Northern hemisphere is the moment when the earth’s axis tilts this hemisphere closest to the Sun. In the Southern hemisphere, which is simultaneously at its most distant tilt from the Sun, the same event is called the Winter Solstice. This event occurs every year around June 20th or 21st, and is sometimes called the longest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere (being the day with the most hours of daylight) or the shortest day in the Southern hemisphere.
Solstices are not to be confused with Equinoxes – just as there are two Solstices each year, one in June and one in December, so there are two Equinoxes each year, one in March and one in September. However, during an Equinox, the Sun lies directly above the equator and the length of day and night is roughly equal across the world.
Throughout history, humankind has celebrated the Summer Solstice, because the magical daylight and the warm strength of the Summer Sun symbolize light, life and abundance on the longest day of the year. It marks a peak of light, in fact, and symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness. For the natural world around us, it’s the high point of activity and energy during the year. Things seem ripe, full and completely fulfilling of their potential.
By its very nature, however, the Summer Solstice is also a turning point in the year because, from this point onwards, days will become shorter and nights will become longer, until the Winter Solstice. So even at the height of the light period, we must start to prepare for the coming darkness. Spiritually, the Summer Solstice represents a moment when we can step into our true being – all of our natural gifts can be expressed at this point, and it is these which will give us the strength to see through the darker days which lie ahead.
The Winter Solstice has also been celebrated throughout human history, marking as it does an awakening from darkness and sleep. From this point onwards, the days begin to warm and lengthen, and life starts to gradually return in the nature all around us. As we prepare for spring, we must nurture our own inner seed, so that it’s ready to unfurl our full potential.
Astrologically, no matter where you are in the world, and whether it is your Summer or Winter Solstice, the June Solstice marks the arrival of the Sun in Cancer on June 20th or 21st. Over the coming months, as the Sun moves through Cancer, and then Leo, and then Virgo, we will be maximizing our natural-born gifts, expressing them to their fullest and finally learning how to use them in service of humankind. This is a part of the soul’s journey through the zodiac – we each pass through many Solstices, of course, during our lifetimes, but in each Solstice you are learning something new.
You are by nature a go-getter, Aries, but sometimes your inner warrior crowds out your inner parent. During the June solstice period, you are being invited to step into your more compassionate and nurturing gifts, as without these you can occasionally be too forceful or too aggressive. Essentially, this is an opportunity to get in touch with your softer side -go on, you know you want to!
You are often the strong, silent type, Taurus, but during the June solstice period you are being invited to express yourself more fully. This is a period when communication matters more than ever before, so find your ideal method of communication and talk to the world – whether that’s verbally, in writing or through poetry, art or music. It’s also a good time to work on your telepathic or clairvoyant skills.
Mercury Retrograde in Gemini for a Gemini (Gemini dates: May 21 – June 20)
The June solstice brings you many sensual blessings, Gemini, and invites you to get up close and personal with some touchy-feely expressions of love and value. You can be rather abstract at times, focused more on ideas and concepts than practicalities, so the solstice energy is helpful in grounding you and helping you to understand how your ideas and ideals can work in everyday life.
Mercury Retrograde in Gemini for a Cancer (Cancer dates: June 21 – July 21)
The June solstice is a mini birthday for you, Cancer, and reminds you that you are perfect, just as you are. Your eternal quest for self-improvement can take a break, just for a little while. Symbolic of your birth itself, the solstice underlines to you that you don’t have to change. You are enough. You are good. You are doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Simply enjoy being you.
Mercury Retrograde in Gemini for a Leo (Leo dates: July 22 – August 21)
There’s a very spiritual angle to the June solstice for you, Leo, and it reminds you that you are, at your core, a spiritual being. This is a good time to investigate more about your spiritual gifts and talents, and to embrace the unknown and the unknowable. You like to be the center of attention, but the solstice gifts you experiences of true awe and wonder, where you will uncover your connection to the cosmos itself.
Mercury Retrograde in Gemini for a Virgo (Virgo dates: August 22 – September 21)
A connection with humanity is deeply important to you during the June solstice period. You typically prefer to work alone and behind the scenes, but there’s a tribal sense of belonging here, and you’ll discover that you’re much more powerful when you’re willing to be part of a team. Whether in your professional or personal life, working with like-minded souls now gets easier – and more essential.
Mercury Retrograde in Gemini for a Libra (Libra dates: September 22 – October 22)
You’re not the pushy type, normally, but the June solstice does shine a warm light onto your ambitions, Libra, and it pushes you to strive for success and recognition. During this period, you should be rightly proud of your accomplishments and talents. You could also work as a mentor for someone now, on a voluntary basis, spreading the benefits of all that you have learned.
Mercury Retrograde in Gemini for a Scorpio (Scorpio dates: October 23 – November 21)
Your sign is one of the most misunderstood in the zodiac, but during the June solstice period you feel more at ease and more ‘at home’ in your current life situation. You’re learning here that you don’t have to be pigeon-holed or put into boxes by other people, and that being a misfit is totally okay. This powerful influence can greatly aid you in stepping into and owning your own identity.
Mercury Retrograde in Gemini for a Sagittarius (Sagittarius dates: November 22 – December 20)
Trust and intimacy are key issues addressed by the June solstice in your chart, Sagittarius. You may have suffered – or carried out – betrayal before, and you almost certainly have known great hurt in one way or another. The solstice energies empower you to forgive, if not to forget. By taking this step, you are freeing yourself to move forwards. You are no longer tied to the demons of the past.
Mercury Retrograde in Gemini for a Capricorn (Capricorn dates: December 21 – January 18)
The June solstice occurs in your love zone and shines a warm and loving light onto your closest relationships. It’s a lovely moment for an engagement or a wedding, but it does remind you that being in a happy relationship involves some element of compromise or self-sacrifice. Nobody gets it all their own way, at least not in a sincere partnership. Be prepared to give as much as you receive.
Mercury Retrograde in Gemini for an Aquarius (Aquarius dates: January 19 – February 17)
Your true calling has always been to serve humanity, but during the June solstice, you start to gain insight into how, exactly, you can do this. This process will probably take many years before you finally understand what to do, but as each solstice passes, your underlying commitment to the world gets stronger and stronger. You are a way-shower, so keep the faith during difficult times.
Mercury Retrograde in Gemini for a Pisces (Pisces dates: February 18 – March 19)
The June solstice calls to your inner child and asks that you honor him or her. This is about being free to play, to laugh, to create and to simply have fun. The solstice energy reminds you that a life that is entirely serious is no life at all and, in practical terms, this energy also empowers you to ask for the help you need if you’re feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities. You must make time for bringing joy into your life, because when you are joyful, you can create joy for others too.
If you want to learn more facts about focusing on the soul’s journey, check out this article: The December Solstice.