Moon Wisdom: Sagittarian Full Moon + Summer Solstice Magic
Ready for the summer solstice? On Wednesday, June 21, it’s the longest day of the year and first day of summer for the Northern Hemisphere. With the Earth’s axial tilt maxed out, on the summer solstice the sun reaches its highest position with its most direct rays at noon.
The equinoxes and solstices mark the seasons and four cardinal points of the year, and entry into the cardinal signs and four elements. On the summer solstice, the sun enters Cancer (reaching the latitude of the Tropic of Cancer), the cardinal water sign. Summer begins!
But first, the last full moon of spring arrives this Friday, June 9. The moon reaches peak, plump roundness in the morning. The best nights for viewing the moonrise with sunset color are now through Friday. Since mid-June brings the year’s earliest sunrises, get up early to view the moonset on the western horizon through the weekend. The June full moon is called the “strawberry moon” because it occurs during the yummy berry season. It’s the year’s smallest full moon, the opposite of what’s called a supermoon.
Look for the full moon traveling near Saturn. The moon and Saturn are conjunct and stay fairly close to the southern horizon. To their right, can you see the three-starred crown of Scorpius with its bright heart star, Antares (anti-Ares), the ruddy rival of Mars? You know it’s Saturn, because the sky object is relatively bright, hangs out with the moon all night on Friday, and doesn’t twinkle.
Saturn rises at dusk. After the ringed planet reaches its annual solar opposition in mid-June, Saturn is visible all night through the summer. If you have dark, clear, southern skies, see Saturn positioned near the bulge of the glowing Milky Way, close to the galactic center.
Next week, on the mornings before the solstice sunrise, look for the waning crescent moon traveling near Venus. Through dawn, the moon and Venus, “the morning star,” shine together low on the eastern horizon.
The winter solstice is called midwinter (familiar from the “In the Bleak Midwinter” Christmas carol). Similarly the summer solstice is called midsummer. Midsummer is celebrated in Shakespeare’s charming rom-com with confused lovers, fairies, and dreamy mischief under the stars. You may know about the celebrations at Stonehenge. Other solstice festivals, rituals, and yoga malas will be shared in the Yoga Wellness section of Wonderful Moon that posts in a few days.
Summer twilight is touched with pixie dust. Fireflies, moths, bats, owls, and other crepuscular and nocturnal creatures become active with the “undark.” Those are our fairies. They inhabit the night, along with insects and frogs that hum in the background. By day, colorful and scented flowers and curling vines, fluttering hummingbirds, dragonflies, butterflies, and chattering birds join nature sprites. Woodland imps hide behind trees. Water laps onto beaches, splashes down waterfalls, and burbles in brooks, reflecting moonlight after dark. Iridescent seashells wash ashore, sometimes bearing pearls, a June birthstone. A shimmering gift of mermaids?
Solar blessings provide life-giving nourishment that lasts through the year. Sun showers bring rainbows and sometimes lingering yet fickle sunrises and sunsets. Soft morning mist is followed by sparkling sunshine with crisp shadows. The luminous Milky Way arches above through the warm summer nights, punctuated by shooting stars. These manifestations of natural magic have captured the imagination throughout human existence.
The “solstice” – meaning, sun stands still – may be spent in quiet reflection, observing stillness. Or get moving. Hike. Swim. Explore. Soak up the sun. If you practice yoga, do sun salutations. Join in revelry, including (safe) bonfires and dancing around a maypole. Share meals with fresh food plucked from the garden. After dark, spend time outdoors, enjoying the warm, not yet sultry, evening breeze and wonders of the night sky.
June is named for the feisty goddess of marriage Juno, consort of Jupiter, represented as the fairy king and queen in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s the month of weddings, seen at the play’s conclusion and associated with Mendelssohn’s famous “Wedding March,” composed for the play. In June, we gather for love and peaceful union. We smile.
Around the world, people mix and mingle at ethnic festivals, sidewalk exhibits, farmers markets, and street fairs. Travelers visit locations that heighten the senses and broaden cultural understanding. Yogis celebrate International Day of Yoga and, to honor their teachers, Guru Purnima on the full moon that follows the solstice. Meditations will be streamed, connecting people across the planet. What are your solstice plans?
Astrological Influences + Considerations
The full moon is in Sagittarius. Like Gemini, the sun sign, Sagittarius is one of the three dual mutable and liminal signs, as discussed in the last Wonderful Moon. Famous individuals with this doubled combination include Naomi Campbell, Judy Garland, Neil Patrick Harris, Nicole Kidman, and Donald Trump. A highly impulsive and high-strung combination, these Gemini-Sagittarius natives constantly shape-shift.
Expansive Sagittarius loves to take off on adventures, and Gemini is naturally inquisitive. Sagittarius corresponds with the jolly year-end holidays. Between the fairies of midsummer and the elves of midwinter, it’s no wonder that the combination is so delightful and mischievous. The Sagittarian centaur, half-human and half-horse, is an instinctual healer, wise yet inclined to roam. An expert archer, the centaur knows exactly where to strike when empathetic or provoked or both.
This is the second half of the last spring lunation. With the summer solstice, the arc of the first half of the solar year concludes, as brought out in the last Wonderful Moon. Plus, as brought out above, in mid-June Saturn reaches its annual opposition to the sun, which provides an undercurrent of seriousness. And the moon conjuncts tough-love Saturn for the full moon.
Enjoy the summer fun, but don’t lose sight of your responsibilities. Think of how January sobriety follows midwinter festivities. It’s a similar vibe for midsummer. Work and routine follow vacation spontaneity. Splash of cold water: It’s not just about the journey – the destination matters too. What do you have to show for your time off?
Thinking and feeling are highlighted, thankfully with accord. The inner life enjoys harmony. Thinking holds great appeal with Mercury conjunct the sun on either side of the solstice, and Mercury rules facile Gemini. Stay rational, stay calm, and still your mind. Emotionally, Venus is happily at home in earthy Taurus. Plus aggressive Mars, while not naturally at home in mushy Cancer, feels cozy and protective, close to its feminine side. This June favors courtship and cuddling, being in touch with your warm nurturing heart.
On Wonderful Moon
For a longer, more detailed version of this post, see last week’s Moonday. For the next Wonderful Moon, Moon Wisdom, that posts in approximately two weeks, the new moon in Cancer will be discussed. It’s the first new moon of summer and super lunar, since the moon rules Cancer. The sun and moon will be joined by Mercury and Mars in Cancer.
The Yoga Wellness section posts within a few days. It shares information on the U.N.’s third annual International Day of Yoga and on other solstice activities. Not for yogis only! Check out my new weekly Moon Memes, published on Instagram before the moon phases, starting this Friday for the full moon.
Wonderful Moon is published in two parts before the new and full moons. The focus is on viewing and experiencing the moon with lore, advice, and yoga-oriented body awareness that meshes with the phase, season, and astrological influences. The complementary bimonthly posts are separated into Moon Wisdom and Yoga Wellness.
Photography: “Palm Sunrise” (April 26, 2016) is by noted lunar and landscape photographer Greg Diesel Walck, from his Facebook album Fine Art Photography. The photo captures that fleeting moment when the big round sun rises above the horizon. Framed between palm trees in the foreground, with the sleeping city of Miami in the middle distance, the sun is poised between shimmering water below and scallop-edged clouds above. With its basic shapes and bright colors, the photo has the simplicity of a child’s drawing. But the “child” has an astute photographer’s eye.