Welcome to the latest wave of *Fika for Your Soul*!
*Fika for Your Soul* is about connecting with inspiration from everyday situations and conversations. It’s about discovery, reflection, leaning into, and stretching beyond…how we may see, understand, and express freedom, exploration, and leadership (among other things), all in the context of our daily lives.
A couple of weeks ago it was Midsummer’s Eve. In Sweden, if April 30th (Walpurgis Night or Valborgsmässoafton) is a celebration of Spring, then Midsummer (Midsommar) is when summer begins.
Midsommar is the most important holiday in Sweden all year. Even more so than Christmas and New Year. I may have moved away from Sweden in 2005, but I still feel a strong pull towards Midsommar and I suspect it’s the pagan in me that’s stirring the pot.
Having said that, I don’t know much about the origin of the modern day celebrations and practices, such as for example the dancing (read: jumping with both feet around a maypole that’s covered in leaves and flowers, singing ‘Little frogs…’!)
I’m only half joking. It’s true, we do do that as part of the celebrations. There’s of course more dancing and singing than just ‘Little frogs…’, but this one is firmly planted in the bizarre corner. 🙂 For those of you who want to learn more about some of the fun bizarreness (said with love), related to Swedish Midsummer, here’s a link to The Local, an online paper in English.
Memories of the romantic notion of school summer break (read: freedom) and the fact that you get to hang out with friends, play games, eat pickled herring, drink schnapps, and have strawberry cake, are evocative connections to this, the longest day of the year.
…To me, Midsommar is also the doorway to a season when we can rejuvenate by being more in nature and taking a break. It’s a time to reflect, to take stock. It’s like taking a ‘fika’ (a break) mid-year.
…It’s about creating some space for appreciating the first 6 months of the year that have been filled with lots of work, learning, progress, and evolution, all of it now having been added to our already rich life experience. Granted, not all of what’s happened may have been desired or received lovingly. Still, it’s part of our fabric now as we move forward.
Historically, Midsommar was connected to worshipping deities responsible for fertility and a rich harvest – a part of paganism. The dictionary says that ‘being pagan’ means belonging or relating to a religion that worships many gods, especially one that existed before the main world religions. I find this interesting, especially the ‘before the main world religions’. I don’t subscribe specifically to any world religion (but I can appreciate them), however, I very much subscribe to us all being part of the same ecosystem, that we are all connected, that we are affected by the world around us just as much as we affect it.
In the western world, in the old days, fertility and rich harvests were more directly linked to daily survival. If one harvest failed, it could immediately affect someone’s ability feed their family.
…When I reflect on my own symbolic rich harvest at this mid-point, I see an explosion of new learnings, new connections, new insights, and new inspirations. I feel significantly strengthened by the learnings and I’m encouraged to continue to take additional steps and actions in the second half of the year.
…do you have a solstice practice, and what stands out as the most influential thing in your life from the past 6 months?
…from my soul to yours,
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Photo by: Ylanite Koppens