It’s that magical time of the year again in the Northern Hemisphere. Midsummer. Juhannus. If you go even further North, past the Arctic Circle, will yourself to stay up all night, so that you can track the sun as it skims juuust about even with the horizon before starting its ascent back up, marking a new calendar day.
For all the grim monotony of long, dark winter days, the polar opposite more than makes up for it, culminating in remarkable and spectacular days and nights of endless sunshine. It’s no wonder that sun worship has been so central to civilizations since the dawn of the ages. The giver of life and health, the purifier, the illuminator.
How lucky for us then, in our eighth year at Melderstein, that we start our retreat this week. The mansion and grounds at Melderstein Herrgård are at maximum capacity and that’s not even counting the steady stream of local yogis coming to practice in the morning from neighbouring towns like Luleå and Kalix.What’s more, we have Fredrik and Lava, vegan chefs extraordinaire, working their magic in the kitchen once again this year!
I can already feel the soothing and healing atmosphere that comes when surrounded in gentle, mild surroundings, the babble of a brook playfully telling a story against the smooth rocks; the grass, rich and plush, strikes a contrast with the grey and silver clouds, seemingly rolling on endlessly; occasional punctuations of the sky a shocking, vivid blue. And the sun…that massive star in the sky, that blazing crown jewel… never was your mala, your trail, so worthy of reflection.
I don’t have phone service here so I will be taking a social media break….Gasp! No way! Aaaaah! Not a strict fast per se, but a distinct trimming down. There’s walking about in nature to be done after all! However, lest I leave you in the dark (not likely in these parts), here are some pictures from Mari, who attended the retreat last year. By now, it’s become a family affair, with lots of familiar faces here for the third or fourth time. We have the puzzle gang ready to strike, this time with a 1,500 piece jumble. If you are in the area, do stop by. We’ll throw another log on the juhannuskokko for ya!
The wooden A-frame shala/church. When not a space for yogis to practice mysore-style Ashtanga yoga, this warm room has blessed the union of many a wedding couple!
Some of the wholesome activities to participate in after yoga practice: Nature walks; Midsummer celebration in Old Town Luleå; Puzzle Mania; Midsummer sauna and bonfire.
Besides the hymn books, the only other religious reference in the small church is a cross in a field, directly outside. This shot was taken during an afternoon meditation session. It was a meditation on light and we were able to feel the sun on our faces…bliss!
Stay blessed and walk on the sunny side of the road. Om Sūrya Namaha!
*featured image (courtesy of)