In ancient Chinese thought, summer was associated with the color red, the sound of laughing, the heart organ, the fire element and a red phoenix bird.
The 2011 June solstice takes place on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 17:16 UTC, or 12:16 p.m. Central Daylight Time in the U.S.
The Chinese were (and perhaps still are) great students of nature.
The summer season is associated with the direction south. It’s associated with the color red, the sound of laughing, the heart organ, the fire element, and a creature often referred to as a red phoenix. Summer is considered the most yang season. We all know that summer is the hottest, brightest and often driest season. That’s in contrast to winter – the most yin season – which is the coldest, darkest and often wettest time of year.
In the Chinese practice of qigong, hundreds if not thousands of different meditations, visualizations and physical exercises have been developed over the years related to the five phases of Chinese philosophy. Many of these practices have been passed down to our time. If you want to celebrate this solstice as the ancient Chinese philosophers did, you will be joining a tradition that is thousands of years old. It was part of the Chinese tradition to honor people, information and beliefs that are old, by the way. That’s in contrast to our western way of thinking, where youth most often carries the day.
The Chinese were also great believers in balance. So to celebrate the summer solstice as the Chinese philosophers did, you might …
Stand facing south, considered the direction of summer in ancient Chinese philosophy. Just stand for a few moments and honor the “southness” of summer.
Balance your fire element. Go swimming in a cold, dark pool or stream.
Laugh. In the Chinese tradition, there are sounds associated with the five phases, and the sound associated with this part of the cycle – summer – is laughter. Remember, as I said above, that this phase is also associated with the heart organ? More and more often, in western thought, you hear that “laughter is good for the heart.”
The ancient Chinese philosophers would agree.