Friday, June 21, 2019

A Summer Solstice Reflection

In celebration of the Summer Solstice today, I share an excerpt from Angeles Arrien's contribution to the book The Circle of Life: The Heart's Journey Through the Seasons by Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr. In this particular piece, Arrien introduces summer as "the season when nature comes into its fullness." She also explores the "striking similarities between this season of fruitfulness and our inner life." Enjoy . . . and Happy Summer Solstice!


Summer inherits spring's passionate urge for growth. Spring nurtures the seeds of new life, and summer energizes them. It is a season of fullness and productivity. The long days of summer's light encourage anything that has enough moisture to stretch its utmost toward the sun. In the early growth of spring, many shades and textures of green wake up smiling. As summer steals the show, the vegetation matures into a deeper green and grows thick and sturdy. Blossoms readily fill out into fruits and vegetables.

The abundance of produce signals the beauty and bounty of this rich period, for summer is the season of ripening and abundance. Thick fields of grain wave their green and golden stems. Farmers markets, verdant vineyards, productive gardens, lush flower beds, and fruit-laden orchards all give witness to the power of light and growth in this season.

. . . There are striking similarities between this season of fruitfulness and our inner life. Our interior summer is also full of light and growth. These two features are essential elements of our spiritual transformation, just as they are necessary for nature's growth and development. When we are "in the light" we are moved by an energy that assures us of our self-worth and our potential for growth. This assurance leads us into a period of energetic productivity where we develop our talents and gifts with enthusiasm. During this time, we are especially drawn toward activity that gives meaning to our life.

It is in our spiritual summer that we see glimpses of truth that have been hidden from us. Discoveries we would doubt or quickly pass by in another season are revealed and accepted. The light of our mind provides clarity and perception so we can more easily find direction for our journey. There is less confusion and hesitancy in our thought and decision-making, fewer tensions and turmoil in our emotional space, more resonance between our inner and outer experiences.

During our inner summer, we know we are growing. There's a robust surge of spiritual vitality. We long to be faithful to our truest self. The desire to become more healed and whole grows stronger in us. During this time, we often sense the presence of divinity within ourselves and others. Sometimes an immense passion for the holy surges through our spirit. We feel as though we could give our all for deeper communion with this Beloved One, confident of a divine light within us that will never go out.

Life has less struggle when we are in our spirit's summer season. We are likely to experience playfulness and lightness of heart. An easy gratitude fills us because our work and relationships move along well. We feel productive and fulfilled as we recognize how we are contributing to the betterment of our world.

. . . The shadow side of our spiritual summertime is that we can get overly involved in using our gifts and talents and begin to burn ourselves out just as the hot sun burns the green foliage and withers it. If our thrust into activity and productivity is not balanced with leisure and play, our productivity will soon limp and our ability to maintain high energy will dwindle and collapse.

For the most part, however, summer is a very positive and encouraging time for our spiritual journey. It is a fulfilling and productive moment on the road of life that we want to hold on to forever. Like all seasons, however, this one will not last. It will move into the season of autumn where we will be challenged to let go of the fullness of summer. We will be asked to leave behind some of the joy, light, and enthusiasm we have cherished in our precious summer passageway. Like each of the four seasons, summer will return again to our hearts when it is time, for every season's entrance and departure is part of the ever-turning circle of life.

– Angeles Arrien
Excerpted from "Summer Is the Season
When Nature Comes Into Its Fullness"
in The Circle of Life: The Heart's Journey Through the Seasons
by Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr
(Sorin Books, 2005)

Related Off-site Links:
Hello, Summer 2019! Today's Solstice Marks Season's Beginning – Joe Rao (Space, June 21, 2019).
Today's Summer Solstice Marks the Longest Day of the Year – Here's Everything You Need to Know – Madison Roberts (People, June 21, 2019).
Summer Solstice 2019: How the Longest Day Is Celebrated Around the World – David Hughes (I News, June 21, 2019).
A Summer BlessingThe Leveret (June 21, 2019).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Celebrating the Summer Solstice
June, the "Time of Perfect Young Summer"
In Summer Light
Summer Blooms
Summer Boy
Shards of Summer
A Song of Summer
The Source Is Within You

Photography: Michael J. Bayly.

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