Summer Solstice is the height of summer, the longest day of the year, and the time when the sun is the highest in the sky. It is the zenith of yang energy and the beginning of the end of summer. After the solstice yang begins it’s decline as yin is birthed as we head towards autumn and the days get shorter. In the winter, when yang is born inside of yin, we celebrate the time with candles, twinkling lights, and stories from various religions about the coming of the light. Rarely, do we celebrate the birth of the dark at summer solstice. However, doing so would help us calibrate to the qi of the season and aid yang in making way for yin to gradually dominate.
If you would like more details there is a 30 min podcast link at the bottom of this blog. This work is largely based on the teachings of Liu Ming.
By nature yin is responsive where yang, on the other hand, is non-responsive making it’s potential for harm much greater. It takes a conscious letting go of yang’s influences to stay in attunement with the cycles.
With healthy yang dominating in the late spring and early summer there is a sense one can do anything -multi-task, complete projects, concentrate, invent new ideas, or even re-invent oneself. There is a feeing of great accomplishment and competence. The key here, after summer solstice, is to let the yang energy roll rather than push this flowing river. Yang is intelligent when it is discerning, as opposed to the immature yang of early spring that has the qualities of a rebellious teenager.
Yin and yangs intelligence relies on each other. Yin’s intelligence is dreamy and spacey and belongs to the ancestral realms. It is a wintery, dark, spiritual, and visionary intelligence. If, at the end of winter, yin does not at some point yang up it is simply spaced out spiritual visions. Similarly, if yang, at the end of summer, does not yin up it becomes violent, out of control, and dominating.
At summer solstice yang ideally begins to sink down, be anchored, and let yin take over. Not letting this happen is symptomatic of so much of what is out of control in our patriarchal environment. Below are some tips to allowing yin to develop over late summer in a healthy way.
Exercise and Timing
At summer solstice the qi is at it’s height at noon. This is the time of day when it is best to do our practices wether that is qi kung, nei jing, yoga, or meditation. It is better to not exercise to the point of profuse sweating as this will deplete the infantile yin that has just been birthed.
In general, the council is to do less. Where late spring and early summer our healthy yang could take on new projects, multi task, and pretty much complete all kinds of enormous happenings, now the council is to not push the river of ambition and accomplishment, but let yang flow. Likewise, it is important to not take on energy of competitiveness or comparing. Rather mind your own business and stick to what is in front of you.
Express your feelings
This is a great time of year to express ones feelings, slow down, spend time in nature, and listen to music. Expressing ones feelings does not mean yelling or making wierd posts on social media, it is more an opportunity to make the time to tune into your inner world, let go of all of the activity of late spring and early summer, and distill projects down to essentials.
Gift giving can help to harmonize the season’s yin and yang as well as ancestral energy. The summer is abundant with ripe, juicy, yin filled fruit. We can further accentuate this abundance by literally giving ripe fruit to friends and allies, as well as to people we may have a tricker relationship with.
Go on Vacation
In order to step out of our yang-doing-productive-mode we may need to go outside of our every day routine. Going on vacation to a place where no one knows you, where they are unconcerned with the importance of your job, and where the to do list fades for a bit, can be very beneficial for recalibrating the qi and gaining perspective of your life journey.
Spend time outdoors
Nothing is quite like time in nature in helping us to calibrate to the seasons. Spend time walking in the forrest, listening to the rivers, and bathing in the natural world. Find a sit spot and return there daily to see what has shifted, which animals have stirred and which birds are coming and going.
With the dynamic contrast of yin and yang this time of year a wind is born. It is this wind that migrating birds feel to know when to leave for their summer home. In fact, many of them migrate on this wind. It is wise to be in nature but not be over exposed to the wind or sun. Wear scarves around your neck, long sleeves, and a sun hat. Participate in practical ways in enjoying nature. If we fail to do this it can lead to more febrile diseases in the winter time, and more common colds in the autumn.
Enjoy the yin calibrating foods of the farmer's market such as melons, stone fruit, and cucumbers. Eat foods that are simple, fresh, and that do not require storage. Eating smaller meals through out the day is advised rather than larger, harder to digest meals. In particular, it is important to not eat a big dinner or to eat late at night, especially after dark.