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Why This Year's Summer Solstice Is Extra Special + How To Spend It

Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen, the co-author of "The Spirit Almanac," and the author of "Return to Nature" (Spring 2022).
Woman in a Bathing Suit

Midsummer, Litha, Alban Hefin—whatever you know it as, the summer solstice is almost here. At 11:32 p.m. EDT this Sunday, June 20, the sun will reach its highest point in the sky, closing out the longest day of the year and signaling the official start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

The solstice is always an occasion to reflect and project, and this year is no exception. In fact, a few coalescing forces could make it feel all the mightier. Here's what to know.

What makes the 2021 solstice unique.

As the point in the year with the most daylight, the solstice pushes us to consider the sun's themes: fire, activity, and masculine energy. The fact that Sunday is also Father's Day makes this weekend an even more powerful time to explore the masculine forces in our lives.

The divine masculine (which we all possess, regardless of our sex or gender identity) is considered assertive, disciplined, and confident compared to the divine feminine, which is more reflective, intuitive, and gentle.

Which forces come through stronger in your life? Is the masculine overpowering the feminine, or do they sit in balance? These are some of the questions this solstice asks us to consider.

The longest day of the year is also, of course, a great time to get outside, socialize, and explore the world around you. An adventurous spirit hits during summertime after the more quiet and insular winter has passed. This feels especially true this year, as parts of the world are emerging from isolating COVID restrictions.

But one funny thing about the outward energy of the summer solstice is that it always corresponds with the first day of cancer season, one of the zodiac's homebodies. This is a sign that loves to nest, but it falls during a season that's all about flying the coop.

Again, now is the time to think about how these opposing forces—of work and rest, logic and intuition—are playing out for you and where you need to pivot. Once you do, don't rush to make any sudden moves.

As astrology buffs will know, this special solstice also falls during mercury retrograde—a celestial event known to cross signals and throw off plans. Take a cue from mbg's resident astrologers, The AstroTwins, and take things slow this weekend: Breathe deep, stay flexible, and give yourself time to process any new discoveries.

"With Sunday being the longest, lightest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, this is a powerful moment of personal illumination," they write in this week's horoscope. "Tender emotions that have been buried beneath our shells are ready to be examined—with journals, supportive friends, a therapist, and a box of tissues."

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How to spend it.

Given these themes of contemplation and expression, here are some activities that would make up the dream solstice itinerary:

  • Journal on how masculine and feminine forces play out in your life.
  • Create a summer altar with relics from nature.
  • Write a summer to-do list that balances active activities with restful ones.
  • (Safely) surround yourself with people you love.
  • Daydream in nature while gardening, hiking, etc.

Meet you on the other side of the longest day of the year.

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