What is a solstice?

If you focus on Latin etymology, the word solstice stems from “sol”, the word for the Sun, and “sistere”, which means to stand still. As such, the solstice is a very specific position of the Sun as seen from the Earth. This inclination has a direct influence over the length of the days, and more generally over the seasons.


Summer solstice and winter solstice

There are two solstices each year: one in summer, the other in winter. Each of the solstices heralds the start of its season. The solstice is a very specific position of the Earth with respect to the Sun. This phenomenon is known in astronomy. Indeed, every day, sunlight reaches our planet on a slightly different inclination.

The summer solstice is the longest day

You need to know that every day, the Sun stands higher or lower in the sky. This is why the length of the day can vary, most notably according to the seasons. As such, in the northern hemisphere, December 21st is the date of the winter solstice and is also the shortest day, and consequently the longest night. Indeed, on that day, the Sun at noon stands at its lowest point in the entire year. Conversely, on June 21st, the day of the summer solstice is also the longest day and so the shortest night. The position of the Sun at noon is at its highest point in the entire year. In the southern hemisphere, the principle and the dates stay the same. But since the seasons are inverted, the summer solstice happens on December 21st and the winter solstice on June 21st. In most countries with a temperate climate, the dates of the solstices, like those of the equinoxes, mark the start of a season. It must be said that these dates may slightly vary from one year to the next due to the evolution of the Earth’s inclination.

Spring equinox and fall equinox

The equinoxes are the days when the Sun rises in the East almost at the same time as it sets in the West. In the northern hemisphere, the spring equinox is the time when the days start getting longer, while they get shorter after the fall equinox. Just like with the solstices, the phenomenon is inverted in the southern hemisphere. Akin to the solstices, the equinoxes can slightly change their dates from one year to the next. The spring equinox usually happens between March 19th and 21st. And the most of the time happens between September 21st and 23rd.

What are the differences between a solstice and an equinox?

The solstices happen when the rays of the Sun have the widest inclination with respect to the plane of Earth’s Equator. As for the equinoxes, they happen when the sunrays are perpendicular to the Equator. As regards the length of day, solstices specifically have the longest day in summer, and the shortest day in winter. Conversely, both equinoxes happen when the day and the night have the same duration.

Solstices and equinoxes make the 4 seasons

Solstices and equinoxes thus punctuate the year, month after month. These astral phenomena indeed correspond to specific positions of the Earth with respect to our star, the Sun.

The dates and times of these remarkable positions thus match the 4 seasons of the northern hemisphere:

  • Spring,from March 21st to June 20th
  • Summer, from June 21st to September 22nd
  • Fall, from September 23rd to December 20th
  • Winter, from December 21st to March 20th

In the southern hemisphere, these dates and times are approximately the same, the only difference being that the seasons are the opposite of those in the northern hemisphere.

As explained before, these dates can vary from one year to the next, but the beginnings of the seasons will roughly match these days overall.

Summer solstice magic

The sacred forces of the summer solstice

From an occult standpoint, the summer solstice is usually a time when great things can happen. Occult circles often use that time for rituals and ceremonials aiming to summon positive cosmic forces and the sacred vibrations that are maximized on the day of the solstice. Such positive energy also makes mediumnic contacts easier. In broader terms, the vibrations traveling on the day of the summer solstice are genuine waves of luck. As such, they enhance the potential for wealth and success on that very special day of the summer solstice. That date is thus auspicious for money gains and the arrival of good news on a professional, romantic, or even social level. A date with a hint of magic inside, it can sound like the promise of happiness.

Author: Michel Mas

"The royal art of the stars” has been a passion of mine since I was a child. I started to study astrology about fifteen years ago. I found astrology to be a very efficient and astonishingly lively instrument to provide us with understanding of the core dynamics of human beings. After offering personalized consultations in my practice for 10 long years, today I write horoscopes and online articles.

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  1. Very cool information about this topic. Thanks

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    • You are welcome Jack!

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