Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Solstice ~ Litha ~ Midsummer June 21st 2011

A solstice only happens twice in a year, December 21st and June 21st.  The upcoming solstice is the Summer Solstice;  the day is the longest and the night the shortest.  The sun is also at its northern most point during this day because of the tilt of the earth on its axis.

The summer solstice is also known as Midsummer and Litha.  Midsummer's Day is June 24th.  This is one of the four solar celebrations, the others being Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, and Autumn Equinox. 

The celebration of Midsummer's Eve was from ancient times linked to the summer solstice. Some people believed that mid-summer plants, especially Calendula, had miraculous healing powers and they therefore picked them on this night. Bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits which were believed to roam freely when the sun was turning southwards again. In later years, witches were also thought to be on their way to meetings with other powerful beings.

Litha is a time to celebrate fertility, abundance and nature in full bloom.  It is a time when the Oak King is killed and the Holly King take his throne until the return of the Oak King at Winter Solstice.  During the celebrations, children and adults play games.  Craft activities that are perfect for this sabbat are; creating amulets with herbs of Rue and Rowan, create protection pouches from white cotton and Rue, whole wheat bread, salt, and star anise seeds, make a Solar Wheel, make a Witch's Ladder.

Rituals held during this sabbat can be for honoring Mother Earth, celebrating life and growth.  This is also a perfect time for dedications and re-dedications.

Solstice Correspondences:

Deities: Amaterasu (Shinto), Aten (Egypt), Apollo (Greek), Hestia (Greek), Horus (Egyptian), Huitzilopochtli (Aztec), Juno (Roman), Lugh (Celtic), Sulis Minerva (Celtic, Roman), Sunna or Sol (Germanic)

Symbols and Decorations: summer flowers; images of the sun; statues of earth goddesses, faeries, earth gods; sun wheels; seashells; yellow, red or orange candles; blades; daisy chains; stone circles

Traditional colors: blue, green, orange, red, yellow, gold

Flowers: daisy, honeysuckle, marigold, red roses, sunflowers, foxglove, buttercups

Herbs: Chamomile, cinquefoil, fennel, lavender, mugwort, thyme, oak, hemp, St. John's wort, dill, marjoram, rue, rosemary, fern, sage, pine, garlic

Foods: citrus, curries,  peppers, onions, strawberries, summer squashes, tomatoes, honey,  green salads, roasted or grilled pork, blueberries, any sun-shaped, round foods (bread, tortillas, pizzas, etc.)

Drinks: sun tea, herbed teas, ale, mead

Animals: bee, butterfly, robins, snakes, wrens

Mythical creatures: faeries, fire birds, thunderbirds

Stones: amber, tiger's eye, jade

Direction: South

Time of Day: Noon

Have a blessed Litha.

Be sure to check out our store for all your Litha supplies.

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