Summer Solstice |  A Collective Post From the Evolutionary Herbalism Team

Stepping into some of the warmest and longest days of the year here in the northern hemisphere, we’re arriving now at the Summer Solstice which marks the first days of summer. The Sun’s warmth penetrates not only our spirits and uplifts our moods, but also infiltrates the plants and forests around us igniting new growth and bringing an abundance of life, food, and medicine to supply us for the coming year ahead. 

To celebrate this energizing time, we’ve decided to come together as a team and each share a little snippet about what inspires us individually here around the Summer Solstice. Together, we’ve created a diverse post that talks about what rituals or plants we each celebrate around the summer solstice and how we engage with this energizing archetypal force. 

We hope that this post ignites your attention to the plants that surround you and perhaps inspires you to take a few moments to sit quietly amongst them and connect in whatever form feels most authentic and true for you at this time of year.

Table of Contents

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) | Photo by Elisha Storey

Savoring the Sun with St. John’s Wort ~ By Elisha Storey 

There’s a mighty little plant that bears the significance of the Summer Solstice called St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum). Flowering around this time, this is a plant I often work with as its medicine fills my bones with the archetypal force of the Sun when I most need it later in the coming winter months. St. John’s Wort is a warming remedy with a volatile, balsamic flavour and warming energetics. It is a remedy for melancholy, depression, and seasonal affective disorder, and it helps ease my anxiety. Matthew Becker states, “It brings a lot of the energy and warmth of the sun into your own body… and it actually can warm your psyche”. 

In the delight of growing a little patch, I pick a few flowering tops for a tincture and infuse them for one month. I was taught that it can make some of the strongest medicines of the year, as it is infused with solar energy, so I love doing this so I can use it to carry me through the darker months with a little more endurance and feel the warmth of the summer days of when I made it.

To me, St. John’s Wort represents the core of who I am. And the Sun is all about coming into contact with the essential self, being strong in that, and learning to shine my truth out into the world in a way that is of service and benefit to the whole. So when I pick these flowers, I reflect on this and on what I need to strengthen within—so that I can infuse the medicine with this intention in an effort to harness it throughout the changing seasons ahead.

Bundle of Clematis (Clematis viticella), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and Rose (Rosa ssp.). Photo by Christine Young

Finding Joy Through Ritual ~ By Christine Young 

The summer solstice has often been a personal reminder to take a pause and check in with myself both on an inward and outward level throughout the years. There are times when I have a full ritual planned and other times when I send a quick gesture to the significance of the day.

Rituals can be such a personal practice and at the same time communal, cultural, and social. The summer solstice specifically reminds me of the peak of yang movement, a lot of outward energy permeating the plants and people. The energy of the plants is moving up and outward from the ground toward the sun, and we find ourselves busy with summer activities. Everything is in full bloom. 

My shamanic ancestors in Korea first celebrated Dano, the peak of yang energy on the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar, typically in June when they would celebrate the sky deity after sowing seeds for the season, particularly rice. The theme of this celebration was joy, like the yellow of the sun or the joy a plant like lemon balm can bring. The rituals would include dancing and enjoying food and drink with community members. Haji is the summer solstice celebration and if there had been no rain by this time, there would be a rainmaking ritual since times of drought can be common.

While I don’t necessarily perform rituals or celebrate in the same way as my ancestors, there are two ways I like to celebrate the summer solstice. In past years I have gone out into my yard at the peak of day and collected flowers to make flower essences and flower bundles.  Usually around that time my Roses, Clematis, and Yarrow are blooming. While I lay my flowers out in the sun in a jar of spring water, I’ll burn a bundle of the flowers with Yarrow stalks and give thanks to my ancestors and the earth for providing.

Some years it can be as simple as sipping a tea that brings me joy and sticking my bare feet in the ground. I particularly enjoy Lemon Balm as an uplifting and joyful reminder of what nature has to offer and our role as stewards of the land. To pause. To listen. I think however we decide to celebrate or perform a ritual whether simple or grand, the key element here is to pause in a moment of joy. 

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Shining Light on the Herbs Around You ~ By Madeline de la Serna 

For a summer solstice ritual, I like to pay close attention and utilize any herbs growing right around me. I also like to keep things simple and ideally do something light-hearted and fun so my toddler can join in. 

We like to go out in the garden and choose a flower. Right now, our Calendula is just beginning to bloom. You can honor the plant in whichever way you feel called, maybe offering some water or a song, perhaps picking the flower and bringing it into your home, either in a vase, by brewing some tea, or by adding it to a bath. 

Another simple ritual I have is also acknowledging and “shining light on”, so to speak, a dried herb or tincture that’s been tucked away in my medicine cabinet. It can be so easy to keep all of our medicines tucked away for so long that some are forgotten about, so I like to select one and use its medicine on these special days of the year, such as the solstices and equinoxes. 

Maybe you look through your cabinet of tinctures and dried herbs and select a single remedy that feels like the medicine you really could use right now, create a simple formula, or perhaps even pick a bottle at random and see what you get. 

These are just a couple of very simple ways to honor this day and realize the bounty of medicine we have right at our fingertips and just outside our doorsteps.

Linden (Tilia spp.) | Photo by Jocelyn Perez

For the Love of Linden ~ By Jocelyn Perez

As the Summer Solstice approaches, and I take in all the fascinating flora and fauna erupting around me, my eyes always zero in on the local Linden trees, eagerly awaiting their blooms to emerge. The smell of Linden flowers has to be one of my favorite scents, evoking memories of childhood, and watching my mother prepare tea made of the tree’s flowers, bracts, and leaves. ‘Tilo’, as it was referred to in our home, was and remains a staple in our kitchen—the go-to herb whenever we had a cold, a stressful school assignment, or just a long day.

Now, as an adult, the scent of these blooms carried by the breeze has become the best indicator that summer is just around the corner. Being that these tend to flower in late May to mid-June, it has become a cherished ritual to collect them to place a few on my altar and to prepare some as a flower essence to enjoy on the Solstice, to bring on a calm state of mind during that pivotal time. It also serves to remind me to let the light in and collect energy from a summer full of experiences, before hunkering down in the fall, faced with the introspection of winter. 

If you would like to make some for yourself this Solstice and have them growing near, you can follow these steps:

  1. Collect fresh flowers in the morning, before the noon sun, and after the dew has dried from the petals.
  2. Place blooms in a glass bowl with spring water, and position them beneath the sun for 6-8 hours.
  3. Once finished, strain the blooms out and transfer this infusion into a dark-colored bottle with a dropper filling 75% of the vessel, then add some brandy (remaining 25%) as a preservative.
The Mediterranean Sea | Photo by Ayelet Mintz

Summer Solstice Water ~ By Ayelet Mintz

The summer solstice is all about embracing the day of the year when the spiritual and literal force of light is at its strongest. My practice involves water, a spiritual Element across many cultures and a significant cleansing aspect in my Jewish culture. 

On the summer solstice, I walk to the beach, step upon the soft, warm sand, and dunk beneath the waves of the Mediterranean Sea several times. With each dunk, I visualize myself shedding my burdens and feel myself growing lighter. Then, I swim out as far as I feel comfortable, feeling the warm sun above me and the gentle waves sweep past my body. When I return to the shore, I collect a jar of the water, which has been glittering in the solstice sun all day long. 

I use this water throughout the year whenever I feel winter’s lethargy build in my home over the dark months. You can sprinkle it in the corners of your rooms or even dab some on your skin to soak up the warmth from this powerful day. 

Rosemary is a lovely aromatic herb that grows natively in my area, so I like to pick some, make an infusion, and mix it with some soapy water and a small amount of the solstice seawater to create a floor-cleaning solution that revitalizes the energy in my home. A side bonus is that your home will smell amazing!

Sun Tea with Violas, Cornflowers, Rose Petals, Wild Thyme, Yarrow and St. John’s Wort | Photo by Emily Doyle

Solstice Sun Tea ~ By Emily Doyle 

Every year at this time the Sun and its wild generosity captures my heart. I’m in awe at how gracefully and unconditionally it offers its gift of light to the world; a gift that nourishes each and every being. I often find myself pondering “How, too, can I embody the generosity that the sun, water, air, and plants offer so completely?” 

To honour the wild generosity of the Sun, on the morning of the Summer Solstice, I’ll rise before dawn to go witness the first light dance across the land and garden. In these special first few hours of the day, I’ll open a simple ceremony where I’ll brew a large jar of Sun Tea infused with gratitude and prayer.

To begin, I’ll gently, and with the utmost reverence, collect medicinals from the land such as Wild Thyme, Mugwort, Calendula, Chamomile, Peppermint, Violas, Lemon Balm, and Roses to place into a large jar of spring water. Once I’ve added all the herbs and flowers I will take a moment to infuse in any prayers or intentions I’m working with. I may even make a prayer out of the question I posed above: “May I be as graceful and generous as the sun, air, earth, and water. May my own gifts and light shine out into the world as a blessing to each being.”

All day the herbs and flowers will infuse in the magnificent rays of the Summer Solstice sun. As the sun gently begins to set, I’ll first offer some of the tea to my garden, and then pour myself a cup as I sit in prayerful stillness, reverently sipping the prayers and intentions I infused, steeping in heartfelt thanks as the light slowly fades to dark.

Oak (Quercus spp.)

A Solstice Ritual with Oak Tree Magic ~ By Natalie Garcia

The summer solstice is a time to celebrate the longest day of the year and to be out in Nature enjoying the sunshine. During the Summer Solstice portal, I will be doing a plant spirit journey with the Oak Tree flower essence in honor of Mother Earth and The Green Man. The essence of Oak Tree offers us safety and security when we feel confused, overwhelmed, or when we are lacking inner strength. Oak essence gives us the resiliency we need to face anything while enhancing inner peace. 

For the ritual, I find a quiet space in nature, and then ground and center using my breath. I call in my spirit guides and the spirit of Oak Tree to aid me in the ritual. Then I take one drop of the Oak Tree flower essence under my tongue. After I take the essence, I drop into a meditative state and begin drumming using my special ceremonial drum. I journey in this state for about 30 minutes or longer and allow my consciousness to play and explore while holding my intention of communing with the Oak Tree spirit. When I feel like the journey is complete, and I received the messages that I needed to receive, I take a moment to journal my experience and any reflections I may have. 

To close the ritual, I thank the Oak Tree and any other spirit guides that were present, and I leave an offering of gratitude such as loving reiki, a crystal, or some blessed water. This ritual is a wonderful way to connect to any plant spirit ally! I hope you enjoy it. Solstice blessings!

Seasonal Blessings

This Summer Solstice, we wish each and every one of you the blessings of the season and give thanks to the plant world for not only offering us medicine and healing, but also for showing the indicators of the turning of the seasons, connecting us to rituals and traditions from around the world and always being with us as allies.  

Much warmth and sunshine from the Evolutionary Herbalism Team!

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