The Luminance of Litha - The Summer Solstice

The bright and powerful midsummer is nearly upon us, as Litha marks the Summer Solstice, or the point on the Wheel of the Year when the days are at their longest, and we are directly opposite from Yule. On June 21st, when Litha is traditionally observed, we feel the power of the Earth in her full glory. The God and Goddess are at the height of their power, for they are the King and Queen of the lands. The gardens, fields, and orchards are heavily laden as is the pregnant goddess, who is protected and nurtured by the Sun God.

Midsummer is the time when we can honor and offer thanks to the many sun gods and goddesses, or solar deities. The Egyptian sun god Ra is perhaps one of the best known, and was believed to be the creator of all life in ancient mythology. He was in charge of light, warmth, and growth, and was perhaps the most worshipped of all Eqyptian deities. He may be a helpful deity to call upon during your midsummer magick. Any other solar deities that resonate with you can also enhance and elevate your manifestations.

In pagan mythology, there is a legend of a midsummer battle between the Oak King, who rules the lightest half of the year, and the Holly King, who rules for the darkest half. The two kings are vying for supremacy and for the loyalty of the Goddess, and they trade dominant positions as the Wheel of the Year turns. They are said by some, to be two aspects of the Horned forest god. The Oak King will be overtaken at Litha by the Holly King, and so we descend into the darkest time of the year. The cycle will be repeated, and their positions in power swapped once again, at Yuletime as time once again marches marches toward the light seasons.

Another enduring Summer Solstice legend is that of the Trooping Faeries. The faerie folk are a communal bunch, and are said to make their way out and about in revelry on the night of Midsummers’ Eve. If you hear faint sounds of musical instruments and merry making during the night, or perhaps see a soft sparkly trail, then you are said to have witnessed the Trooping Faeries. It can be helpful to leave an offering out for them, if you wish to stay in their good favor. They appreciate fresh summer fruit, or better yet, honey mead, and will bestow upon you their blessings of lightness and joy.

Midsummer altars may be decorated with vibrant colors: rainbow colors make a perfect choice. Any herbs that you might harvest from the wild at this time are at their most potent for magick and medicine. Ales and honey mead-essentially a honey wine-are the preferred spirits to enjoy, or to use as offerings. Sun tea, preferably herb tea, is a great non-alcoholic way to honor the summer solstice. Mugwort, vervain, rose, oak, ivy, honeysuckle, pine, cedar, lavender, and yarrow are some of the favored plants, woods, and herbs of this sabbat. Gemstones relevant to litha are emerald, tigers eye, jade, and amber. Spells which focus on empowerment, growth, healing, ascension, and love will all be particularly effective for your midsummer magick.

Midsummer celebrations were often held around great rock formations, and while most of us don’t have access to monumental rocks such as Stonehendge, we can create small shrines in our yards or gardens, or even as a table centerpiece, with small pebbles. The traditional sun catcher symbol is a circle, with four evenly quartered spokes inside. You can add as many spokes as you like. Spirals or crystals can be hung in sunny windows to honor and welcome the sun.

May your midsummer magick fill you and those around with warmth and abundance! Until next time, blessed be witches!