What is the Summer Solstice, Litha and how can we celebrate it?
Honouring the sun, the warmth, light, creativity, fire, action and the spice of life.
This is the celebration of the longest day of the year, or the longest day of daylight in the year.
Since the Winter Solstice the nights have been getting shorter and the day time hours longer, and now we reach the pinnacle of the Suns glorious reign upon our lands as the darkness ever so slowly starts to creep back in.
The triple Goddess that represents this period is the Mother, she is full with pregnant belly having moved on from the Maiden aspect.
The Sun King is at his peak virility and life giving power and brings the energy of abundance, fertility, expansiveness and the celebration of achievements.
The Sun King is represented often by the Oak, who at this time will be giving way to his brother, the Holly King and so we can give thanks and representations to the Oak King for the blessings bestowed upon us at this time.
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. The chosen wood would often be Oak and aromatic herbs were scattered into the fire. People danced around the fires and leap through them. Blazing herbs from the sacred bonfire were used to bless the animals. Blazing torches were carried sunwise around homes and fields. Coals from the Midsummer fire were scattered on fields to ensure a good harvest.
An activity with the children that is wonderful or a partner is to make flower crowns.
Summer Solstice Activities
This is a joyful time to give thanks to the Sun King, for the abundance, a time of merrymaking, courtship and amongst other things to celebrate what has come to pass.
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.
Our lovely bees are now making honey. Midsummer full moon is known as the ‘Honey Moon’ for the mead made from honey now available. This is often part of handfastings performed at the Summer Solstice. Mead is regarded as the divine solar drink, with magical and life-restoring properties. Drink to celebrate and toast the life-giving abundance of the Sun.
Bathe in the light of the sun, watch the sun rise and the sun set, meditate and give thanks.
Decorating your altar
Think of honouring the sunshine and all that is represents for us. The warmth, creativity, life, fire and action.
We now move into the Mother aspect of the triple Goddess having moved from the Maiden in Spring.
Think of the sun, the colours that represent this and gather items that fit accordingly, going with your gut instincts.
Some ideas are:
- Artwork to represent the sun, make your own perhaps
- Golden items
- Flowers such as sunflowers
- Gold, orange, yellow and white candles
- Fruit and vegetables that are in season
- Sunstone, citrine, pyrite are great crystals for now
- Oak leaves
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