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Everything You Need to Know About the Summer Solstice

The skies are changing, and you might, too.

The summer solstice is upon us. June 21 marks the longest day of the year (already?!) in the Northern Hemisphere and more importantly: The first day of summer. While culturally in the United States, the summer is usually bookended by Memorial Day in May and Labor Day in the fall, there’s a lot more going on celestially.

During the solstice, the sun is at its highest point, meaning there are the most hours of daylight and least hours of darkness of any day in the year. Thankfully, the days have been slowly increasing since the winter solstice in December, which marks the shortest day of the year. While June 21 marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, it marks the shortest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, where winter is starting in countries south of the equator.

While there’s a lot going on astronomically, the solstice also brings a palpable shift in energy — a changing of the seasons that often brings more energy and levity. Here’s everything else you need to know about the summer solstice, including how to make the most of this cosmically rich time.

What does it mean astrologically?

June 21 marks the first day of Cancer season, which will leave you feeling more in touch with your emotions. Summer is already sentimental, and Cancer season only magnifies those feelings. Thankfully, we have more daylight to accompany us on this emotional journey. The summer equinox can also have a reset-effect from the first six months of the year. Astrologer Narayana Montúfar told Refinery29 that Cancer season holds a “very initiatory energy.” "While June 1 is typically thought to be the beginning of the second half of the year, in reality, June 21 is the real kick-off of the second part of 2022,” she said. “If our New Year’s resolutions didn’t work out (or most likely shifted), this day lends us a second chance." We’ll take all the resolution resets we can get!

How do people celebrate the solstice?

Solstice is celebrated with different traditions around the globe — including Sweden’s Midsommar celebration, the basis of A24’s hit 2019 horror film of the same name, which involves dancing around a maypole and drinking vodka. In Eastern Europe, the solstice is connected to Ivan Kupala Day, traditionally a time for people to fall in love. People are also known to flock Stonehenge, which modern day druids and pagan groups use as a place of worship.

Are there any manifesting rituals?

Yes! A change in season is always a good time to reset. Midsommer celebrations traditionally include bonfires, and you can bring fire into your manifestation rituals by lighting candles and reflecting on what you want to release in the new season. Astrologer Chani Nicholas also suggests building an altar to the sun, foraging seasonal flowers, and inviting the sun into your home.