The Summer Solstice, or Litha, is celebrated on Wednesday June 20th, 2012 this year. Litha means a stopping or standing still of the sun. It is the longest day of the year and the time when the sun is at its maximum elevation. With the solstice just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about just what we are celebrating and beginning to prepare for Litha's festivities! As we get closer to the sabbat, I will be posting some Litha specific activities and an example of a ritual that you may use or adapt. Be sure to check back to the Magical Musings blog to get the latest information on the upcoming sabbat and ways that you can celebrate this bountiful time of year.
As the sun spirals its longest dance,
As nature shows bounty and fertility
Let all things live with loving intent
And to fulfill their truest destinyWiccan blessing for Summer
This date has had spiritual significance for thousands of years as humans have been amazed by the great power of the sun. The Celts celebrated with bonfires that would add to the sun's energy, Christians placed the feast of St John the Baptist towards the end of June and it is also the festival of Li, the Chinese Goddess of light.
Like other religious groups, Pagans are in awe of the incredible strength of the sun and the divine powers that create life. For Pagans this spoke in the Wheel of the Year is a significant point. The Goddess took over the earth from the horned God at the beginning of spring and she is now at the height of her power and fertility. For some Pagans the Summer Solstice marks the marriage of the God and Goddess and see their union as the force that creates the harvest's fruits.
This is a time to celebrate growth and life but for Pagans, who see balance in the world and are deeply aware of the ongoing shifting of the seasons it is also time to acknowledge that the sun will now begin to decline once more towards winter.
Summer Solstice rituals
When celebrating midsummer, Pagans draw on diverse traditions. In England thousands of Pagans and non-Pagans go to places of ancient religious sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury to see the sun rising on the first morning of summer.
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge
Revelers typically gather at Stonehenge, the ancient stone circle in Wiltshire, to see the sun rise. The Heel Stone and Slaughter Stone, set outside the main circle, align with the rising sun.
In addition to the large events at major sites such as Stonehenge, many more Pagans hold small ceremonies in open spaces, everywhere from gardens to woodlands.
Getting Ready for Litha Ritual - Be sure to stock up on your herbs, oils and incense
As we get closer to Litha, I will be adding a more detailed blog with activities, rituals and Litha specific ways to celebrate the time of year, but I wanted to give everyone a chance to get in the spirit of the season by starting some fun projects - like making incense!
Herbs To Be Used During Litha:
Incense you can make for the midsummer sabbat:
2 parts sandalwood
1 part mugwort
1 part chamomile
1 part gardenia petals
a few drops of rose oil
a few drops of lavendar oil
a few drops yarrow oil
This is a second incense for the sabbat and happens to be my favorite!3 parts frankincense
2 parts benzoin
1 part dragon's blood
1 part thyme
1 part rosemary
1 pinch vervain
a drop or two of red wine
Included is a song that celebrates this special day from artist Lisa Thiel, the song is called 'Litha (Summer Solstice Song)'. This is a great song to be added to your own ritual on the solstice.
As we get closer to the sabbat, I will be posting some Litha activities and an example of a ritual that you may use or adapt. Be sure to check back to the Magical Musings blog to get the latest information on the upcoming sabbat.