How to Place Solstice Stones in Your Garden

Overview

Placing solstice stones in a garden creates a sacred space that encourages quiet contemplation and provides a place for celebration and renewal. Properly positioning solstice stones in your garden is a one- to two-year commitment. In effect, a solstice stone circle is a sundial, with the shadow cast by a stone instead of a gnomon, the vertical part of a sundial. Placement of solstice stones is a community celebration for pagans and others who practice nature-based faiths.

Step 1

Determine which day of the year the ecliptic, which is the path of the sun around the Earth, will result in more hours of daylight than darkness as seen at the Earth's equator. This is the summer solstice. Do the same for the winter solstice, when there will be more hours of darkness than daylight. According to Michelle B. Larson, Montana State University solar researcher, "... the winter solstice ... is the day when the sun is the lowest in the southern sky." The sun will be highest in the southern sky at summer solstice. This differs from the spring and fall equinoxes, when day and night are equal.

Step 2

Assemble with family, friends and interested community members before sunrise on the winter solstice day. Hold a post or stake to mark the position of the sun as it rises over the horizon while another person hammers a second stake into the ground at that same position at least two feet deep. If the ground is too hard to permit staking, mark the spot with a cinder block placed on end until the ground thaws. Use two stakes because hammering on the stake can cause it to move out of the correct position as it is being driven into the ground.

Step 3

Mark the occasion with appropriate celebration and ritual blessings.

Step 4

Assemble with family, friends and interested community members before sunrise on the summer solstice day. Once again, use a post or stake to mark the position of the sun as it rises over the horizon while another person hammers a second stake into the ground at that same position, at least two feet deep. At this time, replace the cinder block marking the winter solstice solar position with a stake as well, if you have not already done so.

Step 5

Again, mark the occasion with appropriate ritual blessings and celebration. This can include a dance, dinner, bonfire, drum circle or other community activity.

Step 6

Gather at winter and summer solstices the following year for placement of the stones. Position the stones on end so that the suns rays touch the top of the stone as it crosses the horizon at sunrise. Create a circular path around the stones and leading back out of your garden. Plant your garden as desired. Plant your favorite herbs inside the solstice stone circle. Plant flowers such as yarrow, mullein, marigold and hibiscus along the path leading to and from the stones.

Things You'll Need

  • Posts or stakes
  • Cinder blocks
  • Sledge hammer
  • Large, preferably hand-quarried, rectangular stones
  • Garden seeds and plants
  • Firewood
  • Food and drink
  • Handmade musical instruments

References

  • Montana State University Solar Physics: My Sundial: The Sundial Primer
  • Solar Path at Summer and Winter Solstice
  • Rev. Gene Rowand, DD; elder of the pagan community, master numerologist/astrologer; Akron, OH

Who Can Help

  • National Geographic: Vernal Equinox 2010 - Facts About the First Day of Spring
  • NASA Langley Atmospheric Science Data Center: CERES Satellite Images at Solstice
  • University of Michigan Corporation for Atmospheric Research: Summer Solstice
  • NASA ISTP Goddard Space Flight Center: Stargazers to Starships-Seasons
Keywords: solstice stone placement, pagan sacred spaces, sacred gardens, meditation gardens

About this Author

Jane Smith received her Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995. She provided educational supports for 11 years, served people with multiple challenges for 26 years, rescued animals for five years, designed and repaired household items for 31 years and is currently an apprentice metalworker. Her e-book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in March 2008.