Savant Spy looks at ways spa goers can celebrate the Summer Solstice
The Summer Solstice is when the sun is at its farthest point from the equator, stretching daylight hours to the max. It’s a great time of year for extended evening barbecues, late night lingering in gardens or wandering through cities (weather permitting). But the solstice has a rich history of folklore and magic.
Back in the Neolithic age, bonfires were lit to give the sun extra solar energy to see the crops through to harvest. Pagans liked to jump over said bonfires on Midsummer’s Eve (a few days after the solstice) to ward off demons and bring luck to lovers. Druids built stone circles that framed the sunset and sunrise in solstice.
Midsummer was also seen as a liminal, magical time – like Halloween – when the veils between the worlds are said to be thinnest, and pixies and fairies walked the earth. In Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, lovers, actors and fairy folk wander about the forest drinking potions, partying ‘til dawn and getting off with each other - one way to tap into the solstice vibe.
In Lithuania, the rising midsummer sun is greeted by washing the face with dew; in Finland, unmarried women put flowers under their pillows. In Iran, it’s spinach soup, dancing and poetry. Portugal go for it with fireworks, balloons and festivities, while in Brazil (where it’s actually midwinter) there’s a festival and a mock wedding. In the UK, the tradition is largely bonfire and booze related, with people still flocking to Stonehenge, as the stones are aligned with the sun’s positions, banging drums and dancing until dawn.
But if you don’t want to go with the crowds, there are many other, more subtle, sophisticated and spiritual ways to celebrate the solstice, at home or in a spa.
Go for Gold
One way to honour the sun is to reflect its colours and vibrancy in your outfits: gold eyeshadow and jewellery; bright yellow or deep red clothes. Decorate your home with bunches of yellow flowers or weave your own Solstice crown and make an altar to the sun god. If you’ve seen that (terrifying) movie Midsommar, you might want to go full Florence Pugh May Queen floral bonkers (but don’t have your friends murdered please; that’s not nice).
Even better, smother yourself in gold products at a spa knowing that a miracle facial usually works wonders. If it was good enough for Cleopatra…
Try the Golden Maharani Facial Treatment at Thai Square Spa, near Embankment, London, which includes a 24K collagen mask to plump and hydrate. Or go hardcore at The Door W4 with a 24K Gold Skin Peel performed by aesthetician and Refine SkinLab founder Victoria Vosey.
If that seems too intense, you can always immerse yourself in a gold-leaf vitality pool in The Bulgari Spa in Knightsbridge (pictured below) – but keep your swimwear on.
Light a Fire
The best way to celebrate the summer solstice is with a fire ritual. You may interpret this at will – fling some herbs upon your very own home fire-pit or light all your expensive candles and raise a glass to the setting sun.
Or you can tap into the solstice energy buzz. Witchy folk suggest a Solstice burning ceremony, either to rid yourself of past hurts or let go of things that no longer serve you: simply write them down and bung them in the flames. Manifesting is also a popular solstice ritual: close your eyes and dream you best life; your deepest desires, and will them into being. Or make the most of the longest day at a twilight spa with a fire feature.
The Spa at Lucknam Park in the New Forest has a spectacular flickering wall of fire running alongside its indoor pool that overlooks the spa garden (pictured below), best experienced at night.
Enjoy an evening twilight spa wallowing in a delicious vitality pool gazing at the flames of the outdoor fire atModdeshall Oaks. There’s also an outdoor Kelo sauna to maximise the midsummer heat.
Which spa has the best sunset? Possibly The Scarlet Spa with its views of the wild Atlantic from clifftop hot tubs, sea-facing rooms, candlelit spa treatment tents and Ayurvedic treatments.
If you’re feeling the spirit move you, try the Summer Solstice Retreat at The Yurt, Appledore, Kent – the Garden of England. The day will begin with sun salutation, gentle movement and meditation, flower crown-making, yoga and sound-healing, a cacao ceremony and finally some Ecstatic Fire Dancing.
Studley Castle in Warwickshire – home to the glamorous Stables Spa – is hosting a series of Summer Solstice Wellness Retreats, including sunrise yoga, earthing meditations, mindful gardening, star gazing and a Summer Solstice Gong Bath.
Beaverbrook’s, meanwhile, has a Summer Solstice Day Retreat on June 21st, which includes Earthing, Intention Setting, Cacao refreshments and full use of the Coach House Spa facilities.