This week was the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s a sacred day, the longest day and shortest night of the Year. In Celtic lore, this was the night when the Holly King and the Oak King battle for supremacy as the Wheel of the Year turns. At midsummer, the Holly King defeats the Oak King, portending the start of the descent into Winter. Come midwinter, the Oak King battles the Holly King and wins the throne again.
Midsummer has traditionally been the most powerful day in the Wheel of the Year, and as a celebration linked closely to the Sun, it is a celebration of all things fire – symbolising transformation, creativity, change, fertility. The Summer Solstice is a time to celebrate the bounty of the earth, it is a time to celebrate the fire and power within and to expand and brighten our lives. It is a time to reflect on the things growing, to have patience for the fruits of our labours not yet ready to harvest and to show gratitude for all that we have.
I’ve always been partial to following the Wheel of the Year, finding comfort in the changing seasons, and rhythm of the land. I find it easier here in the north to ease into the earth’s rhythm, finding my own energies ebbing and flowing with the seasons. So as midsummer came and went, I meditated a lot on the last 6 months.
It’s hard to believe how far I’ve come and how much I’ve changed. I’d always been a bit of a ‘good-girl’ for the most part. I got good grades in school, I volunteered a lot, I took educated and informed ‘risks’ such as buying a house at 23. I tried to follow the expected path society layed out for me – get a good education, get a good job, find a good partner, buy a house, settle down.
I managed to do most of that. I’d always been the cautious one, following a ready-made path about where life should take me. That’s where happiness lies, right? At least that’s what they make you think in the movies. In reality, I was the walking dead, a secondary character in the stage play of my own life. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom for you to wake up. And that’s where I found myself not that long ago. On the surface my life was fine, good even, but one thing I’ve learned is, if I’m not living my truth, nothing superficial can fill up the emptiness.
It takes a lot of courage to own your own truth and to follow your path. It’s terrifying taking ownership of your life, and knowing that any mistakes you make are yours alone. It’s so much easier blaming others for your crappy job, failed relationship, one-sided friendships. Moving to Edinburgh forced me out of my comfort-zone, and forced me away from the easy touch-points I’d grown accustomed to relying on to fill the emptiness.
When I moved here, I had to take stock of a few things. What was it that I really wanted to do with my life? What was it that truly made my soul sing? Who did I want to be, and where did I want to go? When you have only your own company and counsel you start to listen more to that inner voice that’s always there, but not always heard. And the more you listen, the better the decisions you seem to make, then more your life seems to open up.
Life has, in no uncertain terms, opened up for me. I’ve made new friends, learned more about myself and found more inner resilience than I ever thought I’d need.
Looking back on the last 6 months, I’m grateful that I took the leap of faith, despite all the uncertainties at the time. I didn’t know if I’d be successful in finding a job here, or if I’d like the lifestyle. Blindly stepping forward into the unknown, showing faith and surrender, has never been something that has come easily. The more I have surrendered the bigger details, the hows, and whens, the more things have been working out though.
So, as we begin to descend into the harvest season, as the Wheel continues to turn, I look back in gratitude and look forward in trust that the seeds I planted are thriving and will, in time, be ready for the harvest.