Spring has passed us by, now summer skies of blue and wisps of faint white clouds appear. It is the time of harvests of garden vegetables and languid afternoons with the occasional refreshing storm. Hopefully it is a time of finding the correct balance between work and relaxation. Having time to relax of course, gives us the opportunity to reflect upon both the symbolic and physical meanings of summer and it’s effects upon our spiritual consciousness.
During summer, the sun is full and high in the sky and our perceptions become sharper, our eyesight more easily discerning the outlines of physical reality. The world becomes a little bit more black and white, unlike the misted, slightly darkened forms of winter. This became very apparent to me recently during a trip in English summertime, where the sun sits lower in the sky and everything appears hazier without the defined forms that we experience here in Australia. The higher the sun in the sky the more physical reality is impressed upon us. Our attention is more externalised to the outside world. Summer is a time of doing and the ancient Egyptians believed that Ra was the sun god who created the world. The sun rose for daily chores and then set, only to complete the infinite cycle of life the next day in rising again. The rising sun was for them a potent symbol of creation.
During winter, the sun sits lower in the sky and its rays must travel further through more atmosphere to reach us, giving everything more of a hazy, fuzzy appearance. We connect more easily at this time with the inner realms, it is a time of being and hibernating. Together with summer these two seasons particularly represent the balance of life and the union of opposites. Both are valid and equal expressions of the Divine. One cannot exist without the other.
Our visual experience of the definition of form (whether it is clear-cut or fuzzy) is affected by the amount and strength of sunlight that also influences how we feel. During winter months, some people are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); feeling down and depressed. During summer, when we have longer and stronger daylight, our bodies produce more of the feel good hormone serotonin helping us to remain correspondingly active and productive. There is also some scientific evidence to suggest that you can “stock up” on serotonin for the winter months. The theory is that if you expose yourself regularly to morning sun during summer, when winter hits, there will be sufficient serotonin reserves in your body to carry you through without the wintertime blues.
Summer sunlight leads us outdoors more often than other times of the year. It is when we are at our most “Yang” or masculine, going after what we want, socialising more and allowing our egos greater reign. As our awareness evolves, our true selves are increasingly expressed through the ego, the most apparent part of the personality. Solar consciousness has arrived and we are better able to sharply discern what is actually happening in our lives. We see and we act more forcefully at this time of the year and our vitality is high. Solar consciousness encourages “Spirit In Action” and contributes substantially to the unique development of one’s identity and personality. We are no longer part of the collective; we exist as individual and unique, set apart from family and culture.
The path to enlightenment is through the blending and integration of solar consciousness with all aspects of ourselves. The path of each particular person moving toward higher consciousness is symbolised by the Sun’s daily path across the sky, disappearing into night and then rising triumphantly the next day, as the Egyptians so intelligently noted. Finally, the Sun’s unique movement through the cosmos further symbolises our unique journey of self discovery in an ever changing universe.
Summertime lazy afternoons laying in the sun, enjoying a cool drink gives us food for thought contemplating mysteries of the universe and our place within that universal scheme of life. Through summertime relaxation, we can appreciate fully the wonders of the season and the bounty that summer brings us.