June 21, 2010

Sweet Summer & Litha

Posted in Litha, Wiccan Things tagged , , , at 10:00 pm by Babs

In June– usually around June 21 or 22 – the sun reaches its zenith in the sky. It is the longest day of the year, and the point at which the sun seems to just hang there without moving – in fact, the word “solstice” is from the Latin word solstitium, which literally translates to “sun stands still.”  In addition to the polarity between land and sky, Litha is a time to find a balance between fire and water.  This may be due to water countering the effects of the sun’s heat either in cooling the skin or drenching the fields during drought.

In some traditions, Litha is a time at which there is a battle between light and dark. The Oak King is seen as the ruler of the year between winter solstice and summer solstice, and the Holly King from summer to winter. At each solstice they battle for power, and while the Oak King may be in charge of things at the beginning of June, by the end of Midsummer he is defeated by the Holly King.

Some contention follows this holiday as it is not known if the ancients celebrated this sabbath.  For me, Litha is a great time to celebrate outdoors. Go for a swim or just turn on the sprinkler to run through, and then have a bonfire or barbeque at the end of the day. Stay up late to say goodnight to the sun, and celebrate nightfall with sparklers, storytelling, and music. This is an ideal Sabbat to do some love magic or celebrate a handfasting since June is the month of marriages and family.

June 24, 2008

Happy Litha!

Posted in Litha, Wiccan Things tagged , , , at 8:15 pm by Babs

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=85917366Midsummer may simply refer to the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, but more often refers to specific European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place on the 24th of June and the preceding evening.  European midsummer-related holidays, traditions and celebrations are pre-Christian in origin and have been superficially Christianized.  They converted this day of Jack-in-the Green to the Feast of Saint John festivals, often portraying him in rustic attire, sometimes with horns and cloven feet (like the Greek Demi-God Pan). 

Midsummer is also sometimes referred to by neo-pagans (like me) and others as Litha, stemming from Bede’s De temporum ratione in which he gave the Anglo-Saxon names for the months roughly corresponding to June and July as the early Litha month and the later Litha month respectively. 

Midsummer Night’s Eve is also special for adherents of the Faerie faith.  the alternative fixed calendar date of June 25 (Old Litha) is sometimes employed by Covens.  The name Beltane is sometimes incorrectly assigned to this holiday by some modern traditions of Wicca, even though Beltain is the Gaelic word for May.

Traditional Foods: Garden fresh fruits and vegetables are made into a variety of dishes and eaten by pagan’s who choose to celebrate this day.

Herbs and Flowers: Mugwart, Vervain, Chamomile, Rose, Honeysuckle, Lily, Oak, Lavender, Ivy, Yarrow, Fern, Elder, Wild Thyme, Daisy, Carnation.

Incense: Lemon, Myrrh, Pine, Rose, Wisteria.

Woods Burned: Oak

Sacred Gemstone: Emerald

Special Activities: An ideal time to reaffirm your vows to the Lord and Lady or your dedication to following the old traditions.

%d bloggers like this: