Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice, Sunning Stones

It is the first day of summer. Gardens are growing, blackberry blossoms are opening, and strawberries are ripe in the fields. The green is unfurling into splendor and its heraldry is prompted by the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice. The natural world around us still holds that yellow-green hue of energy and growth.
In my childhood, summer meant the arrival of my Great-Grandma Elsie, who we called Grandma-from-Florida. She spent every summer with us, sleeping in the small spare room with the white chenille bedspread. I have memories of sitting in her room in the morning while she dressed, running hands over the raised pattern of the bedspread that only she used. Summer for us meant Great-Grandma’s sweater sets and culottes. I remember my fascination over how she put on her knee-high stockings every day before slipping on her sandals.
Elsie was born on June 21, 1904. If she was alive she’d be 107. The way her face lit up when we enjoyed the first fresh strawberry shortcake of her visit was a joy that could outshine the sun itself. Every strawberry I eat in-season tastes like that memory. It tastes like Elsie’s joy.
Summer was family time and the warmth that comes with it. Summer was the wild abandon of playing fantastical games with neighborhood friends for days on end, called to enjoy the heat while we could. We were like moths dancing around the sun.
The ancestor work that I do is as much about the living and the now as it is about the ones who came before me. Those layers of memories that I am lucky to have of what family means, with both my blood family and the chosen family I build around me, are the energy source that propels my genealogical research into uncovering the ones who came before. And I do it all so that the ones who come after will know the names and the stories.
Family matters. It’s not always easy or painless. We’re not all lucky enough to have it in our formative years. But finding it, creating it, birthing it, is at the core of what we do and how we survive.
When I think of that feeling, that energy, I think of the futhark runes Cen (aka ken or kenaz) and Sigel (aka sowilo or sol). Cen is the internal warmth and fire. Sigel is the sun, the outer heat. Cen is the heat of the hug that you give and receive when you are truly happy to see someone. It is the inner sun. The inner warmth. Moving from your internal hearth fire outward. Solstice is the perfect time to recharge your inner joy, using the heat of the sun above us, at its height as an energy source.
Make yourself a simple talisman for carrying that energy into the waning days of the year. Place a stone outside, where it will catch the rays of the day. It can be a special stone that has other meaning for you or it can be a stone you find in your yard or at the park. Charge it under the full height of the noon light and leave it outside until dusk finally sets in. As Solstice officially begins at 7:00 pm today, I will be setting my stone out tomorrow.
 Keep the stone inside your house during the year, in whatever room becomes your hearth, your nesting space. My stone becomes my talisman through the winter, through the other solstice with its longest night. When I have need, I hold it in my hands.
Beneath the cool exterior lies a flicker of heat. I can close my eyes and feel the warmth of the summer sun caressing my skin. I can hear the laughter of children at play. I can taste the juice of fresh, ripe strawberries. I can see the joy on Elsie’s face and I know she walks with me still. I know the ancestors stand with her and I know they stand with me from longest day to longest night and back again, turning on the wheel as the living world moves forward.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.