Ushering in a seasonal change, the summer solstice is celebrated across the world and shrouded in myth. This year, the northern summer solstice falls on June 21 at 5:13 AM. EDT. South of the Equator, this same moment marks the unofficial beginning of winter.
Solstices occur at the same time around the world, but their local times vary with time zones. Traditionally, summer and winter solstices helped mark the changing of the seasons — along with their counterparts, the spring and autumnal equinoxes.
Astrologically, the summer solstice marks the beginning of Cancer Season, which is a time to bathe in awareness of family, lineage, where we’re from, and get a handle on the emotional realms and our approach to “home.”
Cultures all over the world have celebrated the summer solstice for its scientific and astrological significance. While the thoughts and meanings behind the event differ, the summer solstice is truly universal and rooted in each one of us as a sign of blissful change.
Let’s dive deeper into the summer solstice’s meaning, along with exploring Cancer Season horoscopes and venturing around the world to see how different cultures celebrate the event:
So What Is the Summer Solstice?
The summer solstice – also known as the longest day of the year – is upon us, but there’s more to it than just another extra-sunny day. It’s actually a precise moment in time that comes when the Northern Hemisphere is most tilted towards the Sun.
Earth’s rotational axis, which is the imaginary line through our planet’s center and the geographic north and south poles, isn’t exactly at a right angle to the planet’s orbital path around the Sun. Instead, it’s tilted at an angle of about 23.5 degrees from vertical.
As Earth orbits the Sun over the course of each year, its axis always points in the same direction in space. That means the Northern Hemisphere is angled toward the Sun for half the year and angled away from the Sun for the other half.
The moment when the North Pole is tilted toward the Sun is called the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere; the time of year when the North Pole tilts away from the Sun is called the winter solstice.
In the Southern Hemisphere, the solstices are reversed. The winter solstice there comes in late June and the summer solstice in late December. The exact dates of the solstices can vary by a day or two.
When the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun, sunlight falls at a steeper angle on it to cause summer. The farther north you live, the longer the hours of daylight around the time of the summer solstice. In the Arctic Circle, the Sun never sets at this time of year.
Astronomers count the summer solstice as the first day of summer; however, the hottest part of the year is still to come. It takes about a month for the climate of the Northern Hemisphere to warm up in the abundant sunlight — a phenomenon known as seasonal lag.
The Summer Solstice Kicks Off Cancer Season
June 21st brings the summer solstice and the Sun’s shift into Cancer Season, which in astrology, is known to offer a fresh start, positive vibes, and more time to celebrate the power of the Sun and the Earth. It’s also a potent time to manifest goals and set seasonal intentions.
“The summer solstice is pure positive energy,” Noush, an astrologer at Girl and Her Moon, says. “To prepare, I would say it’s important to be open to a new wave of energy that’s about to enter your life, or releasing something that’s built up over the winter.”
During the summer solstice, we’ll have a mix of opposite energies at play, and it’ll be important to harmonize them. “Spend time outside and by the water,” Noush recommends. “Find the way to take in the fire energy, but balance it with an activity that’s a little more grounding.”
Cancer Season is all about a soft, feminine feel. This is the ideal time to consider ways we can balance the masculine and feminine forces in our lives. Where could you use more gentle, receptive yin? Where could you add yang for a more action-oriented, decisive energy?
We all contain both energies intertwined within us, and in an age where gender is becoming more fluid and redefined than ever, the summer solstice is an awesome moment to widen our notions of what that means for us.
“Try spending time in a more peaceful state under the rays of the sun or nature. It’s a nice time to realign your energetic body to a more balanced state,” Noush adds. “This is also a great time to seize your zodiac’s extraordinary power.”
All in all, it’s a time of meaning and great significance for many, so it should come as no surprise that it can affect our horoscopes, too. To better learn how you can tap into the magical energy of Cancer Season during this summer solstice, here’s your June horoscope according to Reader’s Digest:
You’ll have a lot on your plate during this summer solstice and may find yourself at odds with the people closest to you. Professional psychic and astrologer Stina Garbis says fiery rams may feel a bit moody and wounded and have a hard time saying “I’m sorry.”
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The summer solstice may be a bit of a renaissance for Aries, a time to start something new, like a job or relationship. And for those moments when your mood is less sunny than the great outdoors, scroll through these summer memes to brighten your outlook.
The summer solstice is a good time for bulls to relax at home and spend time with loved ones, says Garbis, so carve out a few days to hang with your family and friends. You might also want to focus on creative pursuits and even express your creativity around the house.
Feeling a bit stuck? Don’t fret. “There may be something on your mind that you have a hard time getting over, but give it a little bit of time, and things will make sense,” she says. After all, the summer solstice is known to bring clarity.
With Mercury in the ninth house, this may be a good time to take a vacation — or even travel in your mind. It’s also a prime time for Geminis to engage in high ideals and get closer to their passions. “Perhaps get started on that book that you have been longing to write and set a deadline for it to be done by winter,” advises Garbis.
This is Cancer season, so it’s your time to shine. If you were born under the sign of the crab, you may want to get out of the house and try your hand at success. “This is a good time for popularity and fame, so perhaps head onto TikTok to make that viral video,” Garbis recommends. Indeed, June and July are the luckiest months for Cancers.
Garbis says that Leos, during the summer solstice, may want to squash a dispute and make up with someone they dearly love but had a problem with in the past. Perhaps it’s time to reunite with an old lover. Not sure how to start the reconciliation process? Try using the best compliment for their zodiac sign.
If your star sign is Virgo, it’s time to tidy up, finish what’s left undone, and prepare for the seasons to come. “If it’s Virgo’s downtime in the summer, then they might want to do some extra work around the house and practice their favorite pastime, getting organized,” says Garbis. Heads up, Virgo: Here’s how to organize your place, specifically for your zodiac sign.
During the summer solstice, Libra (aka the most polite zodiac sign) is in the first house, which is the house of new beginnings. “It’s a good time to start fresh,” says Garbis. So jump-start that new project you’ve been putting off, or head out into the world for new adventures.
Scorpio is on the cusp of the second house during this year’s summer solstice and is dominating the house’s energy, Garbis says. To know what that means for you, you first have to understand that the second house rules the body and physical assets. So you may enjoy taking on a new physical pastime, perhaps finding the best workout for your zodiac sign or practicing mind, body, and soul work.
When Sagittarians aren’t playing in the sun, they may want to pick up a book filled with adventure to get their minds off daily worries. “They can also phone a friend,” says Garbis. Ready to escape into literature? Find the best book for your zodiac sign.
Capricorn is on the cusp of the fourth house during this summer solstice, and Pluto is in the sign of Capricorn retrograde. Let’s break it down: Pluto is an underworld planet and tends to involve problems that need to come to the surface. The fourth house represents the home, environment, and family.
And when a planet is in retrograde, it means the energy is going within. All that points to problems regarding the house and family that need to be reconciled. Garbis notes that this is also the perfect time for Capricorns to clean out their basements. It may not be your favorite chore, but it’s the ideal time to unearth what you haven’t dealt with and donate it.
Get ready to let down your hair! If you were born under the sign of Aquarius, this year’s summer solstice is a time for play, says Garbis. If you’ve been too serious lately, this season is about fighting your urge to work all the time and reclaiming some “me” time. Find the best hobby for your zodiac sign, then let go.
You may be working during the summer solstice, but if you’re a Pisces, you should strive to add creativity to everything you do and add a little spice to those long and slow summer days. Garbis says fishes can journal, make work goals, and add a houseplant or water element to their workspaces.
The Summer Solstice Is Celebrated Around The Globe
Cultures from all over the world have held summer solstice celebrations for thousands of years, with many parts of the world calling the event “midsummer.” And before you ask, no, this is not celebrated Florence Pugh Midsommar style, but there are still flower crowns!
In ancient times, the date of the June solstice was used to organize calendars and as a marker to figure out when to plant and harvest crops, along with being celebrated for the return of light, life, and fertility.
Today, people around the world still celebrate the arrival of summer with outdoor feasts, singing, dancing, and bonfires. Let’s trek around the world to check out some of the most unique summer solstice celebrations:
Midsummer Festival, Sweden
Pictured: Men and women dancing around a maypole to celebrate Midsummer Source: Booking
The Midsummer (or Midsommar) Festival takes place across the country, but most individuals flee the city and head to the countryside to gather with loved ones during this time. The day is brimming with ancient agrarian symbolism, from walking barefoot in the morning dew for good health to ringing floral crowns around women’s hair to celebrate beauty and fertility.
Some even dance around the summer maypole, similar to the May Day poles in other European countries. During Midsummer, it’s common to indulge in unsweetened, flavoured schnapps, pickled herring served with delightful new potatoes, and strawberries topped with whipped cream for dessert.
Pictured: People hiking Mount Olympus Source: Much Better Adventures
In ancient Greece, the summer solstice was the most egalitarian day of the year. During the Greek festival of Kronia, social hierarchy was largely abandoned in favor of a level playing field for all classes. According to Britannica, slaves and lords celebrated side by side on the solstice, and certain legal and moral restrictions were lifted.
The day was meant to emulate the Golden Age of Kronos when no one had to labor for a living and all humanity was considered equal. A tenacious group of modern Greeks still follow one of the 2,500 year old traditions by hiking 9,573 feet to the peak of Mount Olympus on the summer solstice.
Chichén Itzá, Mexico
Pictured: A crowd awaits as the summer solstice shadow seemingly splits Chichén Itzá in half Source: Rove
The pyramids of Chichén Itzá on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula are a wonderful place to celebrate the longest day of the year. The precise construction and engineering of the pyramids create a visual display twice a year in which the central pyramid of El Castillo is bathed in pure sunlight on one side and full shadow on the other.
Thousands of spectators come from near and far to celebrate the summer solstice in view of this ethereal spectacle, in which the pyramid appears to be cut in two. It’s believed by many that Chichén Itzá was built around the summer solstice, which is why the ancient wonder is a popular destination for the solstice.
Vestalia, Ancient Rome
Pictured: Modern women celebrating Vestalia Source: Learn Religions
In the gentler climate of the Mediterranean, the Romans once celebrated Vesta, the goddess of the Earth, on the June solstice. During the ancient festival known as Vestalia, Roman women traditionally visited the Vestal Temple and made offerings to the goddess and to the Vestal Virgins.
During the week of Vestalia, only women were permitted to enter the temple, and a cake was baked using consecrated waters from a spring considered sacred. Modern Italians still embrace the solstice as a time of new beginnings, and the country comes alive with celebrations. It’s still observed with similar rites of water and fire as the ones performed in ancient times.
Pictured: The largest bonfire in Norway in celebration of Slinningsbålet Source: Design You Trust
Norwegians mark the period of Sankthansaften, or midsummer, with the same enthusiasm as their neighbors in Sweden. It’s celebrated on June 23 each year, when revelers across the country light bonfires, dance around a maypole, and engage in other festivities to mark the coming of the long-anticipated summer season.
The largest bonfire in the country is built in Alesund on the west coast. Mock weddings symbolize new life, and everyone indulges in plenty of herring, beer, and aquavit. The holiday of Slinningsbålet historically honors the birth of John the Baptist but currently is mostly a celebration of winter’s end.
Pictured: One of the gates Lithuanians walk through during Rasa Source: Jerulita
According to the Lithuania State Department of Tourism, dew drops were considered a sacred manifestation of life by worshipers in ancient Lithuania, and on the morning of the summer solstice, the dewdrops were thought to have mystical qualities. The solstice holiday of Rasa was traditionally celebrated by searching for a blooming fern in the forest and making wreaths.
Ancient Lithuanians had their own version of the maypole, a three-branched pole whose branches represented the Sun, Moon, and stars. Today, one of the best places in Lithuania to celebrate Rasa is at the State Cultural Reserve of Kernavė, a UNESCO World Heritage site where one still walks through a gate to symbolize rebirth in Lithuania’s sacred ancient capital.
Sunrise at Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England
Pictured: A crowd watches as the sunrise shines through Stonehenge Source: CNN
One of the most coveted seats in the world for the summer solstice is on the grounds of the Neolithic structures at Stonehenge in the U.K. Ingeniously designed to showcase the ascending light of the solstice, the sunrise on this occasion aligns perfectly with a circle carved in stone at the site.
Theories of Stonehenge’s origin vary, but both mystical seekers and history buffs convene here on the solstice to witness an architectural wonder built, some say, to worship deities of the Earth and the Sun. Stonehenge is one of the ancient mysteries researchers still can’t explain, making it even more intriguing.
The HBM Invites You to Embrace Yourself This Summer Solstice
The Human Beauty Movement believes that the most important kind of love is self-love, but so many of us have a hard time feeling confident with ourselves. This is why the HBM is hosting a powerful IRL event on the summer solstice for rising female leaders.
The Pleasure Portal Divine Feminine Sisterhood Mastermind Retreat is a safe space where you’ll learn to love and embrace all parts of yourself more wholly. With care and support, you’ll be guided through multiple workshops where you’ll find true, unwavering happiness within yourself.
The event is being facilitated by one-half of the Inner Outer Beauty queens, Amy Hui, along with Skylar Singer, an angelic guide, DaShira, a manifestation art creator, Hannah, a true modern-day priestess and pole dancing goddess, along with an array of other special guests.
Due to the intimacy of this IRL event, space is limited, so claim your spot here. Along with your ticket, you’ll receive $1,500 worth of gifts as a bonus, which includes accommodations for two nights at the Faerie House in Idyllwild, CA, five delicious meals, and so much more.
To learn more about the retreat and the extra high-vibe experiences you’ll be able to participate in during your stay, click here. We can’t wait to see you!