“What is to give light must first endure the burning” -Viktor Frankl
In sacred texts and traditions throughout the world, there are a multitude of references that speak of spiritual reverence for the sun, as it relates to the source of life itself.
The year-long voyage of the sun as it journeyed toward the solstice, was viewed by the ancients as a symbol of the trek towards enlightenment. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna describes the summer solstice as the gateway of ascent from this world, into the world of spirit.
In the yogic tradition, the sun is related to the element of fire, or Agni, as it’s called in the Sanskrit language.
Agni is viewed as the governing principle of transformation, and is considered to be the elemental messenger between humans and the divine. As such, our hopes, dreams, desires and visions, are carried by the fire from the physical realm of earth, to the ethereal realms of the divine.
Summer solstice offers us a unique opportunity to honor the spark of the divine that resides within, by paying homage to the sun and connecting with the element of fire.
Communing with the element of fire in a ceremonial fashion, is a powerful way to harness and activate the energy of the summer solstice.
This fire ceremony can be done just about anywhere in 7 simple steps:
1). Create a comfortable, relaxing, peaceful space, in which you can drop into a sense of stillness. Kindle a fire either outdoors in a fire pit, indoors in a fireplace, or if neither of those are available to you, simply use a candle for your ceremony. If using a candle, be sure to place it in a fireproof vessel (such as a stainless steel, pyrex or ceramic bowl). If inside, make sure the room is well ventilated.
Once your space is ready and your fire lit, call in the energy of spirit in a way that feels good to you, and ask to be guided and supported in your ceremonial journey.
2). Sit in front of your fire, and on a piece of paper (use more than 1 sheet if you need to), write down everything you wish to release from your life – all that is holding you back, weighing you down, or keeping you stuck – including people, situations, places, belief systems, thought/behavioral patterns, and material possessions.
3). When finished writing, roll your piece of paper into a tube and hold it to your heart. With hands upon your heart, connect with the fire by gazing into it. Once you feel fully engaged with the fire, close your eyes and visualize a flame flickering in your heart center, that’s about the size of your thumb.
Sense that the flame pulses, expands, and contracts with each inhale and each exhale. Feel that your heart flame is dynamic and alive. Make a mental note of any physical sensations that arise in the body, as you meditate on what it is you wish to release.
4). Now that you have established a connection with the external fire, the internal flame, and your deeper Self, summon the feeling(s) you wish to transform – in particular, pay attention to the places in your body in which you feel physical sensations arising. Hold the paper tube up to your mouth, and blow those feelings and sensations through the tube to release them by way of the breath.
5). When you feel complete in releasing feelings and sensations, approach the fire to make your offering. Kneel down before it, and hold your paper to your heart once more. Ask your higher power for support in the process of letting go. When you’re ready, carefully touch your paper to the flame to ignite it. Once lit, drop your offering into the fire (or bowl, if you’re using a candle).
6). As your offering burns, use your hands to gather the smoke, and pull it into the part(s) of your body where you felt the physical sensations arise. This will help to purify, transmute, and heal those places within, that want to release all that needs to be let go of.
7). When your paper has burned completely, and the smoke has subsided, fold your hands at the heart. Close your eyes, and silently offer your gratitude to the fire, thanking it for the gift of transformation. If you burned your paper in a bowl, once it’s safe to handle, scatter the ashes into the earth. By doing this, you give to Gaia, material to be composted and used as nourishment to create new life.
Optional: Reflect upon, and journal about your interaction with the element of fire, so that in a year’s time, you can look back and celebrate the progress you’ve made during your last journey around the sun.