Litha: Summer Solstice – 21st/22nd June
In ancient times, the Summer Solstice was a very important fire-festival. It was often marked with torchlight processions, flaming tar barrels or by wheels bound with straw which were set alight and rolled down steep hillsides. The Norse folk especially loved lengthy processions and would gather together their animals, families with lighted torches parade through the countryside to the celebration site.
Fires, were also used to drive out evil and to bring fertility and prosperity to men, crops and herds. Blazing gorse or furze was carried around cattle to prevent disease and misfortune; while people would dance around the balefires or leap through the flames for purifying or for a strengthening rite. The balefires where lit from sunset the night before Midsummer until sunset the next day, its where the festivities would take place.
In Cornwall up to the mid 18th century the number and appearance of fires seen from any given point was used as a form of divination and used to read the future.
Astronomically, it is the longest day of the year, representing the Sun God at full power. Although the hottest days of the summer are still to come, from this point onward we enter the waning year, and each day the Sun will recede from the skies a little earlier, until Yule, when the days begin to become longer again.
Agriculturally, the crops are almost full grown soon reaching maturity and coming closer to the harvest time. Most wild herbs are ready by Midsummer and this is the time for gathering magical and medicinal plants to dry and store for winter use. In Wales, Midsummer is called Gathering Day in honour of this practice.
Since this sabbat revolves around the sun, a candle should be lit for the entire day, especially if it is cloudy or raining. The fire represents the sun and is a constant daily reminder of the power of the Sun God, rituals should be performed at noon, when the sun is highest in the sky.
Many Pagans choose to make protective amulets during the week before the Sabbat, which are later empowered over the Midsummer balefire. Some witches choose to bury their protective amulets each Midsummer’s eve and make new ones. Rue, rowan and basil, tied together in a white or gold cloth, is a good protective trio that can be carried in your pocket year round.
Midsummer is the time to formalize any relationship and couples that have been together a year and a day since the previous Beltane can make their marriage final. This is also an excellent time to re-new wedding vows, for finding love and bringing in more romance to your relationship.
Sage, mint, basil, Saint John’s Wort, sunflower, mistletoe (specifically the berries which represent semen), oak, rowan, and fir.
Decorations: Dried herbs, potpourri, seashells, summer flowers, and fruits.
Colours: blue, green, yellow and anything bright
Suggested activities for Litha:
*Divination related to romance and love
* Readings for relationships or finding new love
*Light a white candle in front of a mirror and say your own wish, then allow the candle to burn out.
*Float paper boats with blessings on a river/stream to bring luck and love to whatever may find it, or to the land.
*Singing and dancing around a bonfire
*Outdoor picnic or a bbq
*Making crowns out of flowers
(Aspects taken from the internet you can find more info on the white goddess website.)
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