How to Prepare for the Summer Solstice

It’s coming. The summer solstice. The day that brings summer, joy, possibility, and more hours of sunlight to the northern hemisphere than any other on our calendar. In anticipation and preparation of June 21, psychotherapist and psychological astrologer Jennifer Freed, Ph.D., M.F.T., offers predictions and guidance based on your sun sign. There is great historical and spiritual meaning to this day—approach it with deference, and of course, some sage advice.

(For more from Freed, a frequent goop contributor, see here.)

The Summer Solstice and Your Sun Sign

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and shortest night, signifying the psychological apex of extroverted attention and the beginning of growing introspection. Given the year of extremes many of us have had, this is an ideal time to marry our inner desires with our outer actions. This is a moment for blending the best of yin energies (tender, sensitive) with our highest expression of yang energies (bold and daring).

The summer solstice has been a sacred sun celebration for thousands of years. It’s served as an incentive for cohesive community gatherings and an opportunity for great revelry. At Stonehenge in England, summer solstice celebrations are thought to have taken place for thousands of years; many believe the sacred site was built by the Druids to worship the power of the sun at the solstices. Indigenous cultures around the world have traditionally enjoyed some form of sun worship. They understood that life would perish without the light and warmth of the sun and believed that they needed to honor this deity to sustain its life and their own.

Rituals around the world have included rising with the sun to commemorate the dawning of all new life, outside us and within us. Native American summer solstice traditions have included the Sun Dance, which emphasized the piercing of the warrior’s chest as a way to honor the pain we all suffer, the endurance required to prevail through such pain, and the renewal of spirit and light after unbearable agony. In many cultures throughout history, goddess and Gaia ceremonies have highlighted fullness and ripeness as the sun sits high in the sky.

The summer solstice emphasizes the regal essence of sunlight. And it’s imperative during this time that we optimize our own sun signs. The sun sign represents the “battery” of the self, the energy that drives us. When you embody the highest octave and application of your sun sign, you are optimally charismatic and radiant. Conversely, when people inhabit the shadow qualities of their sign, they become unskillful and unhelpful and perhaps even destructive to themselves and others.

As you prepare for the solstice, here are some tips and things to watch out for to help you rise, too.

ARIES: Rise on behalf of courage and compassion.

You will have the opportunity to increase your physical strength and powers of persuasion. This is a culmination of the practices of self-love and self-care, combined with voluntary sacrifices made to lift others up. Command an atmosphere of bold tenderness and resurrect your commitment to lead yourself and others with palpable kindness.

Caution! Stay away from steep cliffs of reactive anger and resentment. No one will harm you if you are loyal to your intrinsic values and refuse to make concessions to false agendas and absurd obligations. If you are enraged, get engaged—with an authentic expression of your true loves and joys.

TAURUS: Time to nestle into a groove of sensual adventure.

Follow your inner guidance as it says, “Slow down and enjoy every morsel.” Nothing is too small to appreciate. Find your superpower in contentment and gratitude.

Caution! You know you’re stuck when the wheels of your mind keep chunking out the same mud. Get out of the familiar ditch and walk away from any dead-end action. Only you can reroute your attention. Nothing is gained by driving down the same issues with the same responses. Try a new move.

GEMINI: Be nimble in your approach to learning and guiding others.

Allow your mind to be influenced in the most positive ways. Select conversations that inspire and motivate you. Use your considerable wit and charm to bring out the best in others and invite them to open up their horizons and dare to speak their truths.

Caution! In all the sunny possibilities, don’t forget to anchor your facts and edit your narration. Don’t allow variety to mess with your mojo by diluting too much of your focus. If you do not adhere to a clear structure of productivity and play, you’re likely to get distracted.

CANCER: This is a moment to know your inner divine mother—regardless of your gender.

Your compassion and attention to vulnerability have never been stronger, and you know how to tend to and nurture the souls of those closest to you. Most importantly, you can receive this reciprocally and enjoy the highest praise for all your generosity.

Caution! Too many guests and good things may exhaust you if you do not remember to take time alone to refuel. It is essential that you make time to rest and recover every day, as everyone wants a piece of you. Your default is to let people suck your energy out until you have nothing left. Try a little tenderness for yourself first—and last.

LEO: It’s your turn to toss the beach ball of vitality to everyone you know.

When the brightest lights shine, you are always one of the top reasons why. You possess infectious affection and have creative ways to keep playing. No one has the power you do to turn someone’s day into a celebration. Use it.

Caution! Enough about you! Please remember that entertainment is one core ingredient of play, but so is sharing. Share the spotlight; promote the unique expressions of others. Bright fires burn quickly, so see if you can tone it down and keep going for a long, long while.

VIRGO: It’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff—to see what matters most.

This light accents your abilities to discern the healthiest paths for you to take and who can best serve your highest good. Use this illumination to forgive imperfections in yourself and others, and remind yourself that the best tonic for growth is loving what you have more than wanting something you don’t have.

Caution! Just because others seem frivolous and messy does not mean they don’t care. You sometimes take small things too personally and then feel resentful that you are doing all the tiny lifting. If you get your pants in a snarl, just wear bigger ones. Bring more space to your inner judgments. Give them something persnickety and positive to do, like sorting the recycling or polishing all the shoes in the house.

LIBRA: Your grace is a beautiful gift.

You are in a harmonious zone. Epiphanies about your considerable balancing skills will manifest, much to your own and others’ benefit. What you offer can be a balm of comfort and clarity for those who live in extremes. Be the still space that reflects calmness.

Caution! Don’t drive over a ledge of sanity because others are so out of balance. You can be extremely disturbed by the lack of understanding in the world, but that will not help you. Instead, commit to understanding everything and everyone from a bird’s-eye vantage point, and don’t let anyone mess with your equanimity—it’s likely that folks will try.

SCORPIO: Digging into the heart of the matter is your superpower.

You have sophisticated emotional skills to work through entrenched negativity and bring light to bear on any challenge. Emphasize your herculean focus to foster the strengths and capacities of others. Show them that they, too, can undo dark forces and return all their attention to what is possible and what can be done.

Caution! Don’t be digging up the dead bodies just yet. And don’t be the dog who tears up the yard looking for the bone he’s buried. Be gentle in your inquisitions—and, most importantly, stay away from extreme risks and emotionally indulgent negativity.

SAGITTARIUS: Run free and find your friends near and wide.

This is your period to take off the harnesses and find out what thrills you and releases your greatest joy. Know that with each belief you expand, you become more valuable to your community. You can be the songbird who reaches every window of doubt and opens it to faith.

Caution! You don’t have to use a steak knife when a butter knife would work just fine. Precision and honesty are not excuses to preach to those who did not ask for your advice. Stay clear of cultish thinking, and remember that the most inspiring folks are the ones who empower the freedom of others to know their own mind in their own time.

CAPRICORN: You can climb that mountain you have been eyeing for such a long time.

The light is just right to show each foothold for your perseverance and eventual success. You have the steadiness and perspicacity. Build up your stamina for life-defining efforts.

Caution! Don’t mow others down because they stick out like weeds in your plan of action. Everyone has weaknesses that actually can help you build a road map that works for the masses and not just for you. Instead of sweating it out in a high-intensity bout on the Stairmaster, take a long, rambling walk and remind yourself that getting things done is not as important as the quality of your relationships.

AQUARIUS: All obstacles will be reduced to make way for your brilliant visions.

You can see the sky clearly now that the sun has come. You may get a contact high from the joy of anyone nearby. Saturate yourself in the glory of all creation and be ready for a truly exhilarating offer for this year.

Caution! Don’t walk on the daisies because you are so busy counting the birds in the sky. Feelings matter as much as big ideas, and no one will love to follow you if you treat them only as cogs in your big cosmic wheel of invention.

PISCES: Your imagination is soaring.

Let your hair down. Swing around some giant oaks while talking to your spirit guides, divine muses, or angels. There has never been a better time to daydream and do nothing. You’ll realize that when you are open, great energies are working through you to help you become a channel for great acts of selfless devotion.

Caution! No one said you had to be the host and the doormat. When your enormous empathy attracts the neediness of many whiners, please direct them to the best twelve-step program you know of or make one up for them. Stay out of the pity parties and graciously excuse yourself from any self-talk that ends with “Why me?” The best use of your immeasurable kindness is in creating firm and consistent boundaries that allow others to carry their own weight.

Jennifer Freed, Ph.D., M.F.T., is a psychological astrologer, a psychotherapist, and author. Her forthcoming book is Use Your Planets Wisely: A Psychological Approach to Personal Happiness. She has been teaching and consulting worldwide for thirty years and is the executive director of AHA!, which transforms schools and communities through peace-building peer-led initiatives.

Related: Astrology