Chilling the *Bleep* Out: Cultivating Calmness for the 2023 Summer Solstice
Summer’s here…it’s time to chill the *bleep* out! It’s been a stressful time over the past few years, and even this industrious Virgo is dreaming of long days spent doing absolutely nothing. So, to honor the indolent spirit of summer, I’m going to further break with tradition, and suggest we find creative inspiration in hues that soothes the spirit. While I’m not typically a fan of the more pastel spectrum of the colour wheel, I think we’ll find the calmness we seek in pale pinks, delicate violets, frosty greens, and ice-cold blues.
(I’ve also made an inspiration page over on Pinterest. Check it out here: https://www.pinterest.com/AuthorWillowCroft/summer-solstice-2023/)
Summer Solstice (Litha): June 21 (Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere)
Seasonal Symbolism: Meditation, Naps, Shady Forest Groves, Hidden Lagoons, Lakeside Cabins or Campsites, Lemonade Stands, Flower-Filled Meadows, Mysterious Swamps, Meandering Creeks, Board Games, Cozy Mysteries or Paranormal Romance Books, and Plant Guardians such as Basil, Mint, Catnip, Lemongrass, Cilantro, Thyme, Lavender, and Hibiscus.
Writing Prompt: Imagine a story told from the perspective of a plant or tree community. Add in a bit of horror as the community is suddenly invaded by the activities of people. How do the plants respond? Give them some agency, and show how the plant world would fight back.
Channeling the Spirit of Calmness
- Find some floaty sheer fabrics in shades of icy blue, silver, soft pink, pale yellow, or minty green, and drape them loosely over your altar.
- Hang ribbons or fabric strips, well, everywhere. Especially if they can twist and dance in the breeze—a constant visual reminder that you can be just as light and airy and carefree.
- Drying the herbs and flowers you’ve started to grow back in Spring. Hanging these in the vicinity of your altar can also create a sense of stillness and reflection.
- Instead of burning incense or candles, collect fallen petals and leaves to make potpourri bowls that will give off a gentle scent as you relax with a good book or a glass of iced tea.
- Add some found seashells, sea glass, or river-smoothed stones to your altar as reminiscent of the soothing movement of water. When the season is over, return them to the “source”—the place where you found them out in nature.
- Wind chimes or nature sounds playing softly in the background can help bring the quietude of nature indoors, especially if you live in a more urban environment.
- Let nature take its course—in terms of housework. It’s okay if things aren’t as sparkly clean as they usually are, and the world won’t end if you let dust gather in the corners for a week (or two!), or the dishes sit unwashed in the sink overnight. Consider making simple meals that don’t require a lot of plate- or silverware—sandwiches, chunky fruit or vegetable salads that you can eat with your fingers, or homemade popsicles. Dedicate the time you would have spent on household chores or meal prep in deep reflection—or even a nap or two!
Creating a Secret Sanctuary
- If you can’t venture out into nature on a regular basis, bring the nature indoors. Create an oasis on your porch, or even in an unused spare room. Create some container gardens filled with your favourite herbs and flowers. Hang plants with long tendrils that move gently in the air such as ferns or ivy. Hang a hammock so that you, too, can waft in the gentle breeze. Or turn a corner of your porch into a sleeping sofa with the cushiest pillows.
- Keep a side table nearby for all your writing tools, and invest in a lap desk just in case inspiration drifts into your consciousness as you lounge in your decadent summertime oasis. Have a special journal for all your summer-inspired insights.
- Consider investing in a spa retreat for yourself, or, if you want to stay closer to home, turn your bathroom into a spa experience by taking a cool dip into a herb-infused tub of water. While lavender is often the go-to for relaxation, choose scents that are comforting to you, whether it’s lemon, vanilla, coconut, or even watermelon!
- Summer’s the perfect time to make sun tea that can later be iced, or even homemade popsicles from your favorite herbal teas (mine would be hibiscus or blueberry teas, or prickly pear lemonade) or lemonade flavors. If you’re making popsicles, add in chunks of your favorite fruit, herbs like basil or mint, or swap out the water base for milk or nondairy milks like coconut.
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“Bringer of Nightmares and Storms.” Horror writer Willow Croft is usually lurking deep in the shadows of her writer cave, surrounded by formerly feral (but still fierce!) cats for company. Visit her here: http://willowcroft.blog, or check out her other services here: https://kirsten-lee-barger.mailchimpsites.com/.