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Litha is coming. With the warming of the Earth and the blooming of flowers comes the reminder that we rely on the Sun for all that we do. Now is the time to give thanks to Sun gods for their protection and energy.
Why do pagans and Wiccans celebrate Litha? Also known as Midsummer, Litha is celebrated on the longest day of the year. It’s a fire festival where we both celebrate the Sun while also remembering that darker days are coming. The days will be getting steadily darker, and we must be mindful to reap what we sow and enjoy our harvests as they come to us.
I love this time of year. I know that we are coming to the time of harvest festivals, and then the dark of winter, but now everything is warm and sunny. It’s a time of peace, in my experience.
This is also a time that I associate with family gatherings. Barbecues, fireworks, going to the beach or piling into a boat. I remember eating hot dogs and potato chips while my whole extended family watched the sun fall below the horizon.
Litha is probably one of my favorite holidays for this reason. My goal this year, if we are out of the woods with the coronavirus and the stay at home orders, is to start new traditions with my son for Midsummer.
I want to introduce him to the Sun as a symbol of different deities, as well as a symbol of abundance. My hope is for him to revere the Sun.
One of the ways I plan to do this is by teaching him the Sun Salutation in yoga. He’s already enjoying a kids version of the Sun Salutation, and in time I hope he will learn the whole movement and do it with me in the morning.
If you plan to add new traditions and want to learn more about this mudsummer festival, then continue reading. I will cover Litha symbolism, tell you simple ways to celebrate midsummer, and more.
Learn about the pagan holiday Litha. Why do we celebrate this holiday?
When Is Litha?
Litha happens at the summer solstice, when the day is longest and the night shortest. This changes every year, but you can find the dates for this year and the next few years below.
|When is Litha 2020?||June 20|
|When is Litha 2021?||June 20|
|When is Litha 2022?||June 21|
|When is Litha 2023?||June 21|
|When is Litha 2024?||June 20|
What Does Litha Mean?
Litha is a time of celebration, even though we know the darkness is coming. The Sun God is His most fertile now, and the natural world is full of abundance and energy.
We celebrate Litha because we must embrace the good days before the darker days arrive. If we don’t celebrate our abundance, our fertility, and our success, then the darker days become even more bleak and unbearable.
From this point on, the Sun will begin to set a little bit earlier every night until Yule. We give thanks now for its warmth and we are in awe of its power. The season of harvest is coming soon, and the hard work of caring for our young gardens is now past, but now we pause to enjoy our hard work.
Now is also a time to recognize and commune with wild gods, like Cernunnos or the Horned God. Animals that our ancestors relied on for their meat are becoming fatter and enjoying the bounty of the Sun as well. We give thanks to gods of the wild for caring for these animals, keeping them healthy for those that rely on their meat even to this day.
What Are The Symbols And Traditions Of Litha?
Ancient pagans celebrated the summer solstice in a few different ways. Some had torchlight processions and bonfires. The purpose of these rituals was to lend strength to the Sun. These ancient pagans relied on the energy from the Sun, or the guiding hand of the Sun God, to grow a bountiful harvest.
Because the Sun could scorch the Earth and cause a drought, some traditions sought to balance fire and water with their rituals. For that reason, large wheels were set on fire and then rolled downhill into a water source.
We see here the obvious tie to fire as a symbol of Litha and of the Sun.
Midsummer is also the time of gathering herbs, many of which will bolt and become bitter during the hotter weather and thus they should be gathered at this time. Herbs are powerful allies in both witchcraft and medicine, and this is a wonderful time to begin your path as an herbalist.
Fires represent the Sun on Earth. Ancient pagans believed that bonfires could strengthen solar deities and thus would ensure a good harvest.
The oak tree is important at this time because of its association with the Oak King and the Holly King.
This is the day when the Oak King is his strongest, but the Holly King will become more powerful over time from this point on in the year.
Most herbs are ready to be harvested at this point in the year. What do you have growing in your garden? Take a few moments during Litha to enjoy the sites and smells of the greenery around you.
Among the many herbs you can harvest and use today, these are herbs that are most special during this pagan holiday.
- Bay leaves
- Orange blossoms
- St. John’s Wort
Throwing these herbs into a bonfire or burning them as incense (when safe) is your best way to use herbs in your Litha celebrations.
Any flowers you can get your hands on right now will make beautiful decorations (or fodder for your sacred fire) for Litha. Gather them yourself, from the wild or from your own garden, or a more personal offering to the gods.
Bees seem so cheerful as they bob around the flowers and plants at this time of year. Bees are associated with the Sun, in part because they use the Sun to help navigate!
Wear bee jewelry, plant some more flowers to feed the bees, set up homes for carpenter bees, or donate to a bee charity at this time of year.
With bees comes honey. Adding honey to your sun tea or baking bread with honey to give as an offering to the gods is a great option for Litha celebrations.
As Journey said, “The wheel in the sky keeps on turning“! Wheels are an ancient symbol of the Sun. Decorate with wheels, draw sigils that include wheels, or make wheel-shaped baked goods.
Fruits store the Sun’s energy to feed the next generation of that plant. For that reason, fruits are a wonderful symbol of the Sun’s fertility and a great choice of an offering.
This is the time of year to go to the beach. If you are a sea witch, placing sea shells on your altar will help you to connect with the ocean.
Colors For Litha
There are many colors associated with midsummer, including yellow for the Sun and green for the greenery that the Sun allows to grow.
Here are other colors and ideas on how to use them for Litha.
|White||Wear white clothes to celebrate Litha. Make decorations from white flowers.|
|RedWear red jewelry for midsummer. White clothes can be embroidered with red thread. Eat red fruits.|
|Maize yellow||Cook corn on the cob for your summer solstice barbecue.|
|Gold yellow||Wear gold jewelry for Litha. Make crafts with gold foil.|
|Green||Harvest green herbs for midsummer. Wear green clothes. Spend time in the natural greenery of your neighborhood.|
|Blue||Spend time gazing at the blue sky during the summer solstice. Add blue decor to your home. Wear lapis lazuli jewelry.|
|Tan||Make crafts with wood for Litha. Wear tan khaki pants. Get a tan out in the Sun.|
Crystals For Midsummer
Yellow and green crystals will be your most essential crystals for connecting to this season.
Place citrine, cat’s eye, yellow topaz, yellow tourmaline, gold, and other yellow or gold crystals on your altar. Carrying them with you can act as a constant connection to the Sun.
Other stones to consider include:
- Herkimer diamond
- Clear quartz
Simple Ways To Celebrate Midsummer
If you are looking for ways to celebrate the summer solstice, there are a few ancient rituals that you can recreate even today. There are also a variety of ways you can make your own traditions.
Don’t forget to make something delicious to share with the gods! Homemade food is always a pleasure for our deities and other supernatural entities.
Celebrate With Litha Rituals
One of the easiest and most common Litha activities is to jump over a bonfire. You could jump over a cauldron or candle instead, of course.
Make your own small stonehenges to honor the larger ones.
Litha is when you burn Yule wreaths. This is also when you should display any Sun Wheels you might have made at Imbolc.
Catch fireflies with your children (but make sure to let them go at the end of the night!)
This is the time for gathering plants in the wild. Make sure they don’t touch the ground after they are cut, or their magical energy might drain into the earth!
Head to the beach to watch the sunset while you gather stones, twigs, driftwood, and seashells. These can be used to make new witch tools or decorate your seasonal altar.
Perform herbal magic during Litha.
If you need to make wands, Litha is when the Teutons would gather ash sticks for that purpose.
June is wedding or handfasting season. Litha is a magical time to come together as a couple.
Decorate Your Altar For Midsummer
Your altar should usually be decorated with seasonal objects to remind you to stay focused on our present moment in the wheel of the year. With that said, here are some pagan altar decor ideas for Litha:
- Make dried citrus ornaments
- Fake clouds made from cotton
- Art and decor with the Sun or Sun symbolism
- Gold and yellow crystals
- Green crystals
Create A Sun Jar For Midsummer
Capture the beautiful power of the Sun to be used during the darker parts of the year. Making this witchy craft is simple.
- 1 small selenite crystal
- Mortar and pestle
- 1 jar
- A handful of dandelion heads (still yellow)
- 1 clear quartz crystal
- Put your selenite crystal into the mortar and grind it up with the pestle.
- Add the selenite to the jar.
- Add the dandelion heads to the jar.
- Add the clear quartz to the jar.
- Leave the jar out, without the lid, for 3 days. Put the lid on and bring the jar inside before the Sun sets.
- Once it has been charged for 3 days, the jar will be filled with the Sun’s energy. Simply meditate while holding the jar to regain some of that warmth during the winter.
Perform The Sun Salutation In The Morning
Sun Salutation is one of the best ways to start your morning. It is a simple but spiritually rewarding set of yoga poses. Each pose flows into the next, creating a perfect loop that can be repeated as needed.
Below is one of many videos that you can use to learn the Sun Salutation.
Do A Midsummer Sun Meditation
You can choose to do a guided meditation, or simply sit outside under the warm morning Sun and meditate in your own way.
When you meditate beneath the Sun, allow yourself to commune with that celestial body and the gods that are associated with it. Let its positivity, power, and energy flow into you and around you.
Make Litha Recipes
Recipes that include citrus juices, fruit, honey, and herbs are perfect for this season. Here are a few great options.
Make Your Own Litha Traditions
- Any fire used on this day is sacred and holy. Litha is a fire festival that celebrates the glorious heat of the life-sustaining Sun.
- Connect with the Sun. Allow the Sun to impart some of its energy into different objects, or use the Sun in a spell.
- Spend time outside with loved ones. This is the perfect time to take a hike, go for a long walk, or otherwise spend time outside in the Sun. Spend some time to thank the Sun for its heat and the energy it gives to all of the plants.
- Consider donating to a solar energy charity or adding solar panels for your own home at this time of year. This is a great way to take care of the Earth while honoring the Sun.
- One easy and affordable way to do this is to buy garden lights and decor that use solar panels to power their lights. You can even find these at Dollar Tree!
- Focus on abundance! This time of year is a time of overflowing abundance and fertility. What can you start during this season that will grow into something beautiful by the end of the year?
- Start a new business
- If you and your partner have been considering it, this is a good time to try to become pregnant
- Begin a new hobby
- Start a savings account
- Invest your money