By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Happy Litha, my friends! How are you celebrating this year? I am, as usual, keeping my Litha celebration to my usual minimum of fuss… but that’s me, Mrs Minimalist, herself. It doesn’t matter, does it? We each keep the Sabbats in our own way and that is as it should be.
Midsummer is a joyous time…. The kiddies are out of school on their summer hols; in northern parts of the world where it can stay cold through May and sometimes early June, we begin to get a good glimmer of what the summer is all about. I myself even shrug off my witchy weeds and can be seen in a pair of shorts or a floaty sundress from time to time.
For those of you whom are new to the Litha sabbat / Midsummer or Summer Solstice occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt toward the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere. For that hemisphere, the Summer Solstice is when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky and is the day with the longest period of light. If you are living in the Southern Hemisphere, say, in Australia, you are celebrating Yule, or close to it. The Litha sabbat doesn’t always occur on the same day as the Northern Hemisphere’s Summer Solstice / Midsummer. The Yule sabbat occurs on or around the same day as the Winter Solstice down under, but not always on the day. Likewise, as the Northern Hemisphere is celebrating Yule and the Winter Solstice, the Southern Hemisphere will be celebrating Litha / Summer Solstice / Midsummer. And of course, respectively, the Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year because of the fact the sun will set at the latest it has done all year and the Winter Solstice will be the longest night of the year. Summer Solstice is, for UK and Europe, on the 21st of June; more specifically, the northern European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice or take place on a day between June 19 and June 25 and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between different cultures. Do bear in mind that Litha is on 25th June. Therefore, although people use the names interchangeably a lot, Litha is a sabbat, Summer Solstice / Midsummer is a solar event due to the lengthening of the daylight hours.
The celebrating of Litha, as mentioned above, can take on many faces. Almost every witch I know will make a veritable Chelsea Flower Show out of his or her altar, adorning it with beautiful flowers, herbs, and lovely fruits for offerings. My very Druid father liked to leave a punnet [small basket for fruits] of strawberries in offering to the faeries for a good harvest in the centre of his strawberry patch. Mind, that was not always the best idea until I reached an age to understand why he left them for I would summarily rid the entire punnet of its delicious cargo, post haste. Maybe he knew this….
Litha is a fabulous time for outdoor pursuits. You may enjoy having friends and relatives over for a meal cooked out of doors, a BBQ. You may prefer a day of quiet reflection alone. If you, like myself, prefer the day of quiet reflection, it would be a wonderful time to do this out of doors, rather than your normal indoor spot. If you live near a wooded area, take a walk through the beautiful nature of the wood. Sit for a while and enjoy its serenity and beauty. Take the earth in your hands, smell it, really feel it. Watch small bugs do their bit for biodiversity… marvel in the sights of small flowers or other plant species you have never noticed until now… smell the pureness of the air and listen to what Mother Earth asks of you. Litha is as much about love as anything else for we can love many things and other beings. And if you love someone or something you will always want to do your very best for them or it. At this time, I think we are all called to stop and really connect back to the earth and the sea which both gave us life all those billions of years ago. You may even want to, alone or with your coven, or just some friends and / or family, use the day to clean litter from a park or a road lay-by. If you’re by the seaside, maybe you would prefer to do a beach clean-up instead. You might not think what little you can do will help, but I promise it can. And, you will be the inspiration to others to do the same.
At the end of the day, many loves a nice Midsummer bonfire. But did you know that the fire ceremony has roots in Guatemala as a Mayan ritual? The elaborate fires offer healing for participants, the community, and the whole planet. The fire circle is an altar, and offerings, such as candles, copal [resin], flowers, fruit, and chocolate, are a way to give food and life to Mother Earth. Ancient rituals such as these embody the idea that we sustain our lives by sustaining Mother Earth. With the state of our world going through its climate crisis, it would be a lovely way to pay tribute to our dear Mother Earth by making your Midsummer bonfire into an offering such as this.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog and it would be very interesting to hear how you celebrate Litha. Please feel free to leave your celebration ideas in the comments below. And, if you would, please give it a like and a share? My deepest gratitude if you will. Many warm Litha blessings to all whom this way wander x