Litha / Summer Solstice


Litha is a celebration of the Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer, occurring in the Northern Hemisphere on the 21st of June. It marks the longest day and shortest night of the year and this happens when the Earth’s pole reaches its maximum tilt toward the sun, making it the longest period of daylight.

Litha celebrated by pagans is the name given to the Wiccan Sabbat, marking the pinnacle of the Sun’s power to fuel the growing season. Litha is a celebration of the Sun King who is now in his Full Power and the Goddess of the Earth who is pregnant and bringing forth the greatest abundance of the year. The summer is at its peak of it’s life giving power, and their marriage is in full bloom, their love for each other grows stronger and life on earth is flourishing with fertility, beautiful new growth and vitality. This is a season of expansiveness and is a celebration of joy and achievements. 

This is a time to honour what blessings you have received this year, and enjoy the peak of summer before the days start to get shorter and the nights grow longer. Summer Solstice marks the turning point of the wheel once more, and with it the promise of abundant joy.

The energy surrounding summer solstice draws in abundance, growth, masculine energy, love and magic. Yet within this climatic point of solar energy, a reminder of the return of the dark half of the year. As light reaches its peak, this is also the moment where the sun begins to wane, as Earth embarks on its journey away from the sun. This is a transitional period between the light half of the year and the dark half of the year, until eventually we are greeted by Yule.


The Bonfire

In old Europe, the Summer Solstice, or Midsummer, was an important fire festival. Traditionally people stayed up all night on Midsummer's Eve to welcome and watch the sunrise. Bonfires were lit on tops of hills, by holy wells, at places held sacred, to honour the fullness of the Sun. At Litha the bonfire really represents a reflection of the Sun at the peak of its strength. It was also considered that lighting a bonfire would protect and watch over your home or village, by banishing evil spirits. People often lit torches and lit their home fires with it, to bring in good luck and good fortune. The chosen wood for the fire would often be Oak to honour the Oak King, and aromatic herbs were scattered into the fire. People danced around the fires and leaped over them. Blazing herbs from the sacred bonfire were used to bless the animals and their crops, and in some ancient traditions, villages would set wheels of straw or cartwheels smeared with pitch ablaze and then roll them down the hill to signify the suns decent. Farmers would bring their sheep and cattle down next to the sacred fire, walking around them three times, to harness blessings that would keep them healthy and productive for the coming year. Once a bonfire cooled, people ceremoniously gathered the ashes, these were then mixed with seeds before planting them in the fields to ensure a good harvest.

The Oak

Tree worship has always played a large role in Midsummer festivities and trees near wells and fountains were decorated with coloured cloths. The Oak King who has ruled the waxing of the year represents strength, courage and endurance, and the Oak has always been particularly significant at Litha. The Celtic name for Oak is 'Duir' which means 'doorway' - we are crossing the threshold, entering the doorway into the second, waning part of the year.

Setting up your Litha Altar
This Sabbat is all about the celebration of the sun, so when setting up your altar, think of solar colours. Yellows, oranges, fiery reds, gold, and greens can be used to decorate your altar. Using candles in these colours are an excellent way of drawing in that fire energy and honouring the Solstice. 
You can add solar images to your altar, ribbons and cloths all colours that represent the solar aspect of the season.
If you have the opportunity to do an outdoor altar, consider painting a piece of furniture, such as a table or cabinet, in bright colours to reflect the solar theme. Don't forget the lights—candles and solar powered fairy lights will add magic and bring that solar energy out even when it gets dark in the evening!
The Solstice is all about honouring the sun in its Full Power, it's about being thankful for your blessings and is a celebration of abundance, joy and fertility. Think about some of the other things that represent the sun to you. Think about what brings you life? What sparks joy within you? All these things can be placed on your Litha Altar. Think about what you want to bring into your life, if you're growing a garden, then maybe you could pluck a basket of fruit, or a bowl of vegetables, sun-warmed and fresh, to place upon your altar. If you are creative you can use watercolours to paint an image of the sun, flowers in a field, a beach, or other images that represent the sun's power and energy to you.
Adding flowers is a beautiful way to honour Litha and decorate your Altar. Orange and yellow flowers work particularly best, especially sun flowers!
Wearing the colours of Litha is a simple way of doing something to celebrate the Sabbat.

Little things you can do to welcome in the energies of Litha...

Watch the Sunrise and the Sunset to welcome in the Summer Solstice. Understanding the significance of the sun rising and setting on this special day is a great way to celebrate, taking a moment to look at the sky and honour the sun helps you draw in energies of vitality and gratitude.

Light a bonfire outside outside or burn a candle indoors, write on a piece of paper all the things you wish to let go of watch as the words disappear, imagine everything being released into the Universe, feel yourself become lighter. 

Meditating in nature during the Summer Solstice is a great way to connect to nature and to the sun, its a great way to bask in the energies and an opportunity to do some grounding work, which will allow you to let go of any unwanted energies from the last season.

Set intentions or prayers with the themes of change and transformation.

Gather wildflowers and adorn yourself and your home with them.

Swim in rivers, sea or lakes, or even cleanse yourself under waterfalls.

Attend a local ceremony at dawn.

Eating fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables is the perfect way to draw in the abundant energy of this season, especially if they have been planted by yourself in the spring!

Herbs & Plants - Mugwort, Thyme, Rose, Vervain, Chamomile, Oak, Lavender, St Johns Wort, Honeysuckle, Lily, Ivy, Fern, Daisy, Yarrow, Carnation.
Colours - Blue, green, gold, yellow, red, orange - all closely represent prosperity, abundance, fertility and solar energy.
Crystals - Jade, Emerald, Topaz, Tigers Eye, Tiger's Eye, Sunstone, Orange Aventurine, Amber, Onyx.
Animals - Snake, Robin, Bees, Butterflies, Wren.
Tree's - Oak, Holly, Elder, Beech, Laurel, Linden.
Deities - Aine, Freya, Flora, Habondia, Lugh, Greenman, Oak King, Bast, Brigit, Hathor
However you choose to celebrate the Solstice, what matters most of all is your intention and choosing what feels right for you.
You choose to do what resonates more with you, and you can make them as big or as small as you see fit, as long as it means something to you.
Happy Solstice & Litha Blessings to all! 

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