Litha, Midsummer, or the Summer Solstice honors the longest day of the year. It is the day of the Sun God. The crops are in full growth at this time and wild herbs are fully mature by now. Harvest time is just around the corner.
On this Sabbat, the Sun is glorified. That’s why Fire element plays a starring role in this festival. It is an element of transformation. It has the power to destroy and the power to create.
Those who celebrate Midsummer always mark it in some manner. There are rituals reserved especially for Midsummer. During the ancient times, the Summer Solstice was a very important festival of fire. People burned balefires to strengthen the sun. They had torchlight processions and they set tar barrels and straw wheels on fire and rolled them down steep hills.
The Norse would have lengthy processions that paraded through the countryside. Together with their animals and families, they would light torches as they made their way to the celebration site.
The Celts would light balefires and leave them burning from the night before Midsummer until sunset the next day. And as these fires burned, their festivities would take place.
The Element of Fire
The element of fire has the power to drive out evil and illness. The people back then would carry blazing fires around their cattle to drive away misfortune. The people would leap through flames and dance around the balefires to purify and strengthen themselves.
Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Litha, but the focus is nearly always on celebrating the power of the sun. It's the time of year when the crops are growing heartily and the earth has warmed up. we can spend long sunny afternoons enjoying the outdoors, and getting back to nature under the long daylight hours.
Decorating Your Litha Altar
Since Litha is the time to celebrate the sun and the crops, it is best to set up your Midsummer altar outside. If you can't, pick a spot near a window where the sun’s rays will reach it.
- Vegetables of the season
- Sun dried foods (sun dried tomatoes, tea, sunflower seeds)
- Fruit salads
- Fruit breads
- Smoked fish
Herbs and Flowers:
- Midsummer flowers, fruits and vegetables from your garden
- Sunflowers, roses
- Oak trees and acorns
- Lapis Lazuli
- Round-shaped objects
- Equal-armed crosses
Solitary Litha Rituals
Litha is the peak of the Sun’s power and the start of its decline. It is when the Oak King and the Goddess as Mother preside over the seasons.
What you will need:
- A clear quartz crystal with a hole in the center(lead crystal or cut glass will do)
- A 24 inch string to pass through the hole and knot
- An athame
Preparations should go here:
What you should do:
- Cleanse the crystal.
- Take up the Athamé. Facing the East, take a moment to center yourself.
- Cast a Circle. Visualize a white light coming from the tip of the athame.
- Holding your arms straight out, point the blade outwards.
- Slowly turn clockwise and let the light follow you.
- When you get back in your original position, hold the athame close to you and say:
- Visualize the light surrounding you forming a sphere.
- Take the crystal and hold it in the light of the Sun.
- Let the crystal absorb the sun’s rays. Visualize it absorbing the sun’s energy.
- When you feel the crystal getting warm, that means it’s charged.
- Hang the crystal by the window, to let it catch more of the sun's rays.
- Give thanks to the God and Goddess in your own personal way.
- Close the Circle and ground the excess energy back into the Earth.
Notes: If there comes a time when you are in need of energy, take your crystal down and carry it with you or wear it around your neck.
Group Litha Ritual
You can do this ritual as a group or as a solitary practitioner. It is also best to perform this outside, basking in the sun’s rays.
What you will need:
- A larger candle to represent the Sun
- An smaller individual candle for each member of the group to hold
Preparations should go here:
What you should do:
- Cast a circle.
- Take a moment to ground and center yourself.
- Feel the warmth of the rays of the sun on your face.
- Let the head person stand at the altar and say:
“We are here today to celebrate the power and energy of the sun. The sun is the source of warmth and light around the world. Today, at Litha, the summer solstice, we mark the longest day of the year. From Yule until this day, the sun has been moving ever closer to the earth. Flowers are blooming, crops are growing, and life has returned once more. Today we honor the gods and goddesses of the sun.”
- Let the head person light the sun candle on the altar and say:
“The sun is the ultimate source of fire and light. Like all sources of light, the sun shines brightly and spreads around the world. Even as it gives its light and power to each of us, it is never diminished by the sharing of that energy. The sun passes over us each day, in the never-ending circle of light. Today, we share that light with each other, passing it around the circle, forming a ring of light.”
- With the sun candle, let the head person light his or her own candle.
- Then he or she should turn to the next person in the circle to light that person’s candle, while saying:
“May you be warmed and rejuvenated by the light of the sun.”
- The second person turns to the third person to light their candle, and says the same thing.
- Continue doing this until all candles have been lit.
- Once done, it is time to celebrate. Dance, clap, and play music. Whatever you do, just enjoy the power of the sun.
- As each person in the group holds their lit candle, the leader calls upon the Gods and Goddesses of the sun while saying:
“Gods who bring us light, we honor you!”
- And all members respond with:
- Everyone say:
“We call upon you today, thanking you for your blessings, accepting your gifts. We draw upon your strength, your energy, your healing light, and your life giving power! We call upon you today, thanking you for your blessings, accepting your gifts. We draw upon your strength, your energy, your healing light, and your life giving power! Hail to you, mighty gods and goddesses of the sun!”
- Each member should place their candle on the altar, forming a circle around the sun candle. The head of the group says:
“The sun radiates out, never dying, never fading. The light and warmth of today will stay with us, even as the days begin to grow shorter, and the nights grow cold once more. Hail, gods of the sun!”
- This marks the end of the ritual. You may now close the circle.
- Bask in the warmth of the sun and continue with your celebration.
Whatever ritual you perform on Litha, just remember to keep the Sun Gods and Goddess in mind. However you may wish to honor and give thanks to them for what they have brought to you is up to you. The Sun Gods and Goddesses will appreciate your efforts all the same.
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