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    Celebrating the Summer Solstice

    June 19, 2019 by Beth Bogdewiecz

    Throughout history, people have celebrated the magic of the changing of seasons, and with good reason. Seasonal changes have shaped the evolution and sustained the life of all living things inhabiting our lovely Earth. The sun’s slowly shifting arc across the sky is a daily miracle that retains the power to fill us with awe.

    “If you want to help yourself realize your own dreams, you must work with a crystal that has been rounded into the shape of the Earth or the sun. Then the crystal will become like the sun and radiate its energy into your aura and touch every part of your being.”

    —From Wisdom of the Gemstone Guardians,
    by Gemisphere founder Michael Katz

    Here at Gemisphere, we feel a special kinship with the sun and Earth—the mother and provider of our beautiful healing gems. Each year it’s our joy to honor the Summer Solstice, as it reminds us of our profound connection to these precious sources of light and life.

    In 2019, in the Northern Hemisphere, the Earth and sun will align for the year’s longest daylight hours on June 21. Also known as Midsummer, this first day of summer is rich with history and tradition, including a host of fun ways to celebrate it (more on that later).

    The Science Behind the Summer Solstice

    Billions of years ago, as Earth was being formed, it collided with another large object, causing it to tilt on its axis. As the Earth orbits around the sun, this tilt causes a gradual shift in the length of our days, giving each hemisphere different exposures to sunlight and creating our four beautiful seasons. On the Summer Solstice, the sun travels its longest path through the sky, giving that day the most daylight.

    The Historical Significance of the Summer Solstice

    • Stonehenge, built some 5,000 years ago, is believed to have been built, in part, to mark solstices and equinoxes. On the Summer Solstice, the sun rises over the Heel Stone to align precisely above the center Altar Stone.

    • The Sphinx and two of the Great Pyramids in Egypt also align with the Summer Solstice. On that day, when standing at The Sphinx, you can see the sun set directly between the two pyramids. Ancient Egyptians even built a temple to Osiris, the god of life and death, to be illuminated by the setting solstice sun.

    • The Mayans constructed many buildings to line up perfectly with the Summer Solstice light, to honor the season’s significance in the food cycle.

    • Pagans in Europe celebrated Midsummer with bonfires, which they believed had magical abilities to harness the sun’s energy to increase future harvests, banish evil spirits, and bring luck in love.

      How to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

      Many cultures still enjoy solstice celebrations with bonfires, flower garlands, outdoor feasts, and dancing. Here are a few of the many ways to join the festivities this season.

      • Visit farms
        Take a drive to a nearby farm to see what they are growing this time of year. Stop to pick your own berries or pet the baby animals. Local farmers’ markets usually begin around this time of year, so start shopping around for fresh seasonal produce.

      • Host a picnic party
        Gather your friends and family for a summer-themed picnic. Have everyone bring something to share, and spend the day eating, connecting, and playing games in the sunshine.

      • Have a bonfire
        Research a local area where you can safely hold your own bonfire. Invite friends and family to bring guitars and drums. Sing and dance the night away.

      • Get the kids involved with outdoor crafts
        For your party (or just for fun) lead your kids on a nature walk to pick wildflowers and weave flower crowns. Collect ribbons and string them from a dowel rod to make a festive wand that catches the breeze. Find old glass bottles, prisms, and beads to make a summer sun catcher and cast colored sunlight around your home. 
      • Yoga or meditation
        It’s the perfect day to perform sun salutations. Rejuvenate your body and mind with meditation and deep, restorative stretching.

      • Gemstone healing
        The Summer Solstice is a wonderful time to practice healing with your gems, and bring light-filled therapeutic energy to your body, mind, and emotions.

      • Reevaluate goals
        The change in seasons is ideal for reflecting on where you’ve been and where you want to go in the coming year. Begin journaling and let your writing flow into innovative ideas of change.

      • Rise early
        On June 21, use every moment of the day to practice gratitude. Watch the sun rise, fill the day with outdoor projects and the other solstice activities, and finish the day by appreciating the long and vibrant sunset. Give your thanks and appreciation for all that you have and all that is to come.
      Gemstone Meditation

        Our Special Solstice Celebration

        At Gemisphere, we support your health, healing, and happiness with our annual Solstice Sale. Enjoy 30% off all therapeutic gemstone necklaces through Sunday, June 23, 2019.

        Wishing you a happy and healthy Summer Solstice!

        __________________________________________________

        [Source: Resnick, Brian and Plumer, Brad. “The summer solstice is here: 6 things to know about the longest day of the year.” Vox.]
        [Source: “Summer Solstice.” History.com]
        [Source: “Summer Solstice Celebration Ideas.” Rhythms of Play.]

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