June 21st is nearly upon us, which means we are about to arrive at the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Wiccan calendar, Summer Solstice is celebrated as one of the “Lesser Sabbats”, and is often referred to as Litha. In Pagan spirituality, this is the time when the Oak King sits comfortable on his throne, far from his counterpart the Holly King, Lord of Winter.
There is much to celebrate at Litha or Midsummer. The days are long, bringing us many hours of glorious light to spend out in nature, or celebrating with our family and friends. Summer Solstice was also traditionally a time of harvest, when the plentiful sun shone down on crops and helped them to thrive. There’s always a feeling of joy in the air during High Summer, as people make the most of the warm, light-filled days.
So how will you be celebrating Litha this year? We’ve put together some suggestions about how you can honour this sunny Sabbat, and pay your respects to the sun and Mother Nature.
As Litha is about honouring the sun, fire is the element for this time of year. Pagans would traditionally light ceremonial fires to celebrate the sun, and this ritual carries through to present day. Gather your loved ones for a party, light a big fire, and share gifts, food and stories. If you can’t light a fire where you live, then make do with candles, lanterns, or even sparklers.
Pagan culture is all about respecting the cycles of nature and the natural harvests that come with it. So what better way to celebrate high summer than making a delicious feast for your loved ones using traditional summery foods? Try vegetables like cucumber, corn, peppers and carrots; and fruits like strawberry, peaches, melons and citrus fruits. Make the most of the warm weather with fresh salads, cold juices, iced fruits and more. Use the gifts that Mother Nature generously grants in summer to bring family and friends together.
If you have an altar, you’re probably used to decorating it with different symbols and materials to honour the seasons. At Summer Solstice, bedeck your altar with seasonal plants (daisies, yarrow, foxglove, sage, marigold), and ritual summer colours like yellow, orange and gold. Crystals like carnelian, amber, and sunstone are also perfect for your Litha altar.
There’s no better time than High Summer to perform rituals that involve bathing in water. Head to the lake, the ocean, the river or swimming pool, and let the cool water be both a reprieve and complement to the summer sun. Sabbats are always a good time for cleansing and renewing, and water as an element is perfect for this purpose. Gathering dew on Midsummer morning and drinking it is also a powerful way to draw strength from water during the Solstice.
If you’re familiar with chakras, you’ll know that your solar plexus is the chakra that exists in the upper area of your stomach, near where your diaphragm rests. This chakra is normally depicted as yellow in colour, and as its name suggests, it’s related to the ‘solar’ energy of the sun. This makes Summer Solstice the perfect time to focus on and energise your solar plexus. The solar plexus is related to personal power, responsibility, discipline and decision-making. Perform a chakra healing or meditation, and focus on harnessing this energy to guide your year ahead.
June 21st is also National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. A day to celebrate the culture and heritage of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, this date was specifically chosen because it coincides with the Summer Solstice. You can learn more about this celebratory day here, and find events near you to attend.
Even if you don’t have the time or resources to celebrate in the above ways, Summer Solstice is the perfect opportunity to simply get outside—whether it’s for a few hours or a few minutes— and enjoy the fresh air and the light of the sun. Take a few moments to be grateful for the natural cycle of the year, the seasons, Mother Nature, and everything you’ve accomplished so far in the year.
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