The Spiritual Meaning of the Summer Solstice

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This article is an extract taken from the eBook called The Path of the Spiritual Sun, which you can download free here.

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800px-Stonehenge_(sun) photo copyright  flickr user Simon Wakefield 2008

(photo copyright flickr user Simon Wakefield 2008)

The summer solstice is a time to celebrate the light of consciousness within ourselves and within each and every person, and to reflect upon the potential for consciousness to awaken.

The progress of the sun throughout the year symbolizes the process of attaining enlightenment, and the summer solstice is the final climax of this journey as the day of most light in the year. It symbolizes the ascension found in many great spiritual teachings. At the spring equinox, the resurrection and return of the Son/sun to the Mother goddess is celebrated. Following this, the summer solstice symbolizes the return/ascension to the Great Father Spirit. It is a time to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness in the individual, and the return to wholeness in which the Son, Mother Goddess, and Father God become one great unified consciousness—a complete, whole, and powerful light that enlightens the individual.

The Druids, ancient Egyptians, Mayans, Essenes, Romans, and many others have aligned their sacred sites to the summer solstice and conducted ceremonies on this day. At the Great Pyramids of Egypt the summer solstice sun crowns the head of the Sphinx; the Druids celebrated the marriage of heaven and earth and the defeat of the dark god of the year just as the Egyptians celebrated the defeat of the dark god Seth by Horus, the sun; and in Rome the festival of Vestalia continued a Druid tradition of guarding the sacred fire.

Light is spiritual in its nature, and so the sun and stars have a spiritual significance that has its root in higher dimensions—in many ancient teachings they are described as the source of creation. The summer solstice is therefore a highly spiritual time. The summer solstice is described as the gate of ascent out of this world into the realm of spirit by both Krishna, in the famous text The Bhavagad Gita, and in the designs of the secret caves of Mithras.

The Spiritual Sun

Egyptian_TotenbuchIn sacred texts and traditions around the world there are references to an ancient spiritual veneration of the sun – it can be found in Egypt, Mesoamerica, the beliefs of the Druids, in the esoteric texts of Christianity, the Eleusinian mysteries of ancient Greece, the esoteric schools of Mithraism originating in Persia and found underground in Rome, and in many other places around the world.

This is because the annual journey of the sun is symbolic of the journey of enlightenment. Ancient peoples expressed this wisdom according to their time and culture, yet their sacred teachings and symbols share many similarities because they are based on universal principles common to all life. This is why the Christ, the divine Son, or solar hero, was born at the winter solstice, and died and resurrected at the spring equinox in sacred myths throughout the world. This resurrection is followed by the ascension, which is represented by the summer solstice.

The summer solstice is described as the gate of ascent out of this world into the realm of spirit by both Krishna, in the famous text The Bhavagad Gita,

Now I will tell thee, O Arjuna, of the times which, if the mystics go forth, they do not return, and at which they go forth only to return. If knowing the Supreme Spirit the sage goes forth with fire and light, in the daytime, in the fortnight of the waxing moon and in the six months before the Northern summer solstice, he will attain the Supreme. But if he departs in gloom, at night, during the fortnight of the waning moon and in the six months before the Southern solstice [winter solstice], then he reaches but lunar light and he will be born again. These bright and dark paths out of the world have always existed. Whoso takes the former, returns not; he who chooses the latter, returns. The sage who knows this passes beyond all merit that comes from the study of the scriptures, from sacrifice, from austerities and charity, and reaches the Supreme Primeval Abode.
~ Krishna, The Bhavagad Gita

and in the designs of the secret caves of Mithras:

“But this cave was adorned with the signs of the zodiac, Cancer and Capricorn. The summer and winter solstices were chiefly conspicuous, as the gates of souls descending into this life, or passing out of it in their ascent to the Gods; Cancer being the gate of descent, and Capricorn of ascent. These are the two avenues of the immortals passing up and down from earth to heaven, and from heaven to earth.”
~ John P. Lundy, Monumental Christianity

Mother, Father, Son and the Feathered Serpent

Garuda_Vahan_Vishnu_from_the_Ravi_Varma_studio,_c.1910s_Source-_ebay,_Oct._2009

Throughout ancient teachings there are incredible similarities—a divine Son, born to a virgin Mother Goddess and great hidden Father, goes through a series of trials before being betrayed and then resurrecting. The events in the life of this divine Son and savior nearly always correspond to the solar year and other astrological events.

These famous trinities of Father, Mother, and Son actually symbolize the fundamental energies and forces that exist within creation—found in atoms, the basic building blocks of all matter, as the three forces of positive, negative, and neutral. Paracelsus, the great alchemist of the Middle Ages, saw the cosmos as being fashioned from three spiritual substances or principles called a tria prima, which the alchemical substances of salt, sulphur, and mercury signified—salt as substance and solidity, mercury as that which is transformative and fusible, and sulphur as binding these two.

As what is above relates to what is below, these three primary forces of the universe are also central to the awakening of consciousness and why the stories of Mother Goddess, Great Father, and divine Son also contained messages about the process of an individual reaching enlightenment. The Mother, Father, and Son are not only universal forces, but are also higher parts of each individual’s consciousness that exist in more spiritual dimensions and which someone reunites with in the process of enlightenment.

To achieve full self-realization an initiate must return to the source of creation, the Absolute, where all is one. To do that the different parts of the Being that were divided in creation must unite to form one whole, as it is not possible to enter the Absolute divided; we must return as one as we left, but with self-consciousness from the experience of existence in matter. When the three forces of creation—Father, Mother, and Son—are one and have returned to the divine source, the initiate has gone through the process of creation in reverse and re-absorbed the principles of life and divinity.

“It is by love, that the Heavenly Father and the Earthly Mother and the Son of Man become one. For the spirit of the Son of Man was created from the spirit of the Heavenly Father, and his body from the body of the Earthly Mother. Become, therefore, perfect as the spirit of your Heavenly Father and the body of your Earthly Mother are perfect.”
~ The Essene Gospel of Peace

This fusion of Mother, Father, and Son has been symbolized as the feathered serpent—and can be found as the Mayan and Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the Persian and Roman God Mithras, and prolifically throughout Egypt. The god Quetzalcoatl, Mithras, and Horus is the Son; the serpent is a symbol of the Mother; and the feathers symbolic of the Father—it is from the union of Father, Mother, and Son that Quetzalcoatl/Mithras/Horus becomes the feathered serpent.

From left to right—Mithras is depicted in the center of the zodiac with the sun atop his head, a serpent wrapped around his body, and wings on his back; Quetzalcoatl looks out from within a serpent that is covered in feathers; and the sun god in Egypt has the symbol of the sun atop his head and holds out the wings of a feathered serpent. (From left to right—1st century AD Roman white marble relief from the Estense Museum in Modena, Italy; photo of Quetzalcoatl by Katherine Komaroff, Sky Gods: The Sun and Moon in Art and Myth, 1974; Egyptian illustration of “the 11th hour” from a tomb in the Valley of the Kings photo copyright wiki user Hajor, 2002)

From left to right—Mithras is depicted in the center of the zodiac with the sun atop his head, a serpent wrapped around his body, and wings on his back; Quetzalcoatl looks out from within a serpent that is covered in feathers; and the sun god in Egypt has the symbol of the sun atop his head and holds out the wings of a feathered serpent. (From left to right—1st century AD Roman white marble relief from the Estense Museum in Modena, Italy; photo of Quetzalcoatl by Katherine Komaroff, Sky Gods: The Sun and Moon in Art and Myth, 1974; Egyptian illustration of “the 11th hour” from a tomb in the Valley of the Kings photo copyright wiki user Hajor, 2002)

The serpent is a symbol of the earthly Mother, as it is an animal that is at all times in contact with the earth with its entire body. The feathers are those of an eagle, which is a symbol of the heavenly Father, as the eagle is an animal that flies and lives above all others and is thus associated with higher realms. The Son is the miraculous re-conciliatory being that is both personal and cosmic, a force that acts to unite and integrate the earthly human with divinity, joining the serpent with the feathers, and thus why the Son has been referred to as the light and saviour of the world in so many different cultures.

Jesus said, “If the flesh came into being because of spirit, it is a wonder. But if spirit came into being because of the body, it is a wonder of wonders.”
~ The Gospel of Thomas

Creation in Reverse

Paradiso Canto 31

The 3 rings of the Absolute were depicted in this illustration by Gustave Dore, which depicts the vision Dante describes of the supreme creator of the universe.

Enlightenment is the process of creation in reverse, as it is the return of the individual to the divine source. In creation myths, a divine androgynous being emerges from the great unmanifest and unknowable source. This being divides into male and female in order to create and gives birth to a son, and the rest of

creation.

To follow this process in reverse the Son must be born within (symbolized at the winter solstice), then the Son returns to and fuses with the Mother (symbolized at the spring equinox, and as the Son being swallowed by the serpent), then the Son-Mother returns to and fuses with the Father (symbolized at the summer solstice, and as the serpent being swallowed by an eagle). The feathered serpent—the three forces of creation, as Mother, Father, and Son—a unified self-realized androgynous being, which is now whole, then returns on the wings of spirit from earth to the spiritual realm, the divine source of creation called the Absolute.

3 concentric rings discovered in the cosmic microwave background, the ubiquitous microwave glow left over from the Big Bang. The circular features indicate that the cosmos itself circles through epochs of endings and beginnings (study done by Penrose and Gurzadyan)

3 concentric rings discovered in the cosmic microwave background, the ubiquitous microwave glow left over from the creation of the universe? Scientists believe the circular features indicate that the cosmos itself circles through epochs of endings and beginnings (study done by Penrose and Gurzadyan)

The symbol of the Absolute consists of three concentric rings. The outer ring is reached when someone merges with the force of the Son, the second inner ring when they merge with the Mother, the third most inner ring when they merge with the Father. From there a person’s consciousness has become whole again and they can enter the unmanifest source of creation.

“In that abyss of radiance, clear and lofty, seemed, methought, three orbs of triple hue, clipt in one bound: And, from another, one reflected seemed, as rainbow is from rainbow: and the third seemed fire, breathed equally from both.”
~ Dante, The Divine Comedy, paradiso canto 33

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In the ancient Vedic texts of India, the mantra Om is said to represent the Absolute (called Brahman). When a recording of this ancient Sanskrit mantra (which was made inside the chamber of the Great Pyramid of Egypt) was played using a cymascope (by John Stuart Reid and Erik Larson) it created the three ring symbol of the Absolute (as shown in the video above). This field of study is called Cymatics, which demonstrates the visual effects of sound upon matter and the geometric shapes and patterns it creates.

At the winter solstice, the divine Son is born within a spiritually prepared person. At the spring equinox, this Son dies, becomes one with the Great Mother of the universe and resurrects. At the summer solstice the Mother and Son “ascend” to the Father, so that the forces of Son, Mother and Father become one.

Copyright © Belsebuub & Angela Pritchard 2013

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This is about 1/4 of the article on the meaning of the summer solstice. Keep reading in the free eBook The Path of the Spiritual Sun.

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More on the solstice and equinox

General
The Significance of the Solstice and Equinox in Spirituality
A Guide to Celebrating the Solstice and Equinox

Winter Solstice
The Spiritual Meaning of the Winter Solstice
Ancient Sacred Sites Aligned to the Winter Solstice
Mantras to Celebrate the Winter Solstice
A Ceremony to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

Spring Equinox
The Spiritual Meaning of the Spring Equinox
Ancient Sacred Sites Aligned to the Spring Equinox
A Ceremony to Celebrate the Spring Equinox

Summer Solstice
The Spiritual Meaning of the Summer Solstice
Ancient Sacred Sites Aligned to the Summer Solstice
A Ceremony to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Autumn Equinox
The Spiritual Meaning of the Autumn Equinox
Ancient Sacred Sites Aligned to the Autumn Equinox
A Ceremony to Celebrate the Autumn Equinox

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