Litha: A Midsummer Night

pagan altar lithaLitha, also referred to as Midsummer, occurs at the summer solstice generally around the dates of June 21st and the 22nd. This day marks the longest day of the year where the sun reigns at its peak strength. From here, the power of the sun and therefore the God, begin to wane until his death according to the Wheel of the Year. The Goddess, on the other hand, is full and pregnant with child, her strength building before the harvest of the Earth. With this climax of the strength of the sun, the God as the Oak King is defeated by the Holly King as the world begins to descend into darkness with the last half of the year.

Many people choose to awake before dawn to greet the sun upon this day while lavish and expensive celebrations last until sundown. In ancient times, the Solstice was held to a high esteem where people led torchlight processions and rolled flaming wheels down hillsides. Large bonfires were lit in order to symbolically strengthen the power of the sun. Fire was the chosen element of Midsummer, rightfully so based on the importance of the sun at this time. This element represents transformation and can be attributed to the transformation that occurs at Litha of the Sun God to the Sacrificing God and the Maiden Goddess to her Mother aspect.

bonfire lithaThe use of fire in the ritual bonfires was very similar to how they were used at Beltane. Farmers would take torches and carry them around their herds or drive their herds between bonfires to prevent disease. People would dance around the bonfires or leap through them as a purification and strengthening process. The wood of choice for these fires was the mighty oak for its strength, will, and steadfastness. It was also symbolic of the defeat of the Oak King by the Holly King for the throne for the latter half of the year. It was said that traditionally, depending on how many bonfires you can see from the hills on this night, you can use these sights for divining events for the future.

Around this point of the year, crops are reaching their full stage of maturity. Wild herbs are also in full bloom as well making it a great time to take out your boline and gather herbs for magickal and medicinal uses. My personal favorite is wild mountain mint! Other traditions include lighting a candle for the entire day of midsummer and performing rituals and spells that are charged by the power of the sun. The best time to conduct these spells and blessings would be at noon at the peak of the sun. Many witches like to create amulets and charms for protection and abundance at this time to be charged for the latter half of the year. This would also be a great time for a witch to conduct the ceremony of Drawing Down the Sun.

Couples at this time are encouraged to renew their vows to each other. Those who were handfasted at Beltane and have endured the trial of a year and a day may wish to make their handfasting permanent. It’s a great time to build relationships and to solidify their status.

midsummer faeries

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing, William Blake, circa 1786

Midsummer is also popularly known as a night where the faeries dance. Many engage in faery magick and provide offerings of milk and honey as friendly gestures of acknowledgement and to garner friendship. However, not all these faeries are considered benign. It is encouraged that before trying to engage with faeries that one do substantial research before this attempt. Some faeries are more malevolent and can be easily offended by the mere fact of trying to view them without their permission. One should use caution when trying to establish a relationship with faeries. Even Tinkerbell tried to kill Wendy.

 

Midsummer Protection Charm:

What you’ll need:

  • One Cinnamon Stick
  • Rosemary Sprig
  • Basil Sprig
  • Mugwort Sprig
  • Gold Ribbon

What to do:

All materials should be present. You may cast a full ritual circle if so desired or a simple salt circle. This charm may be created and charged on the day of Midsummer or created prior and then charged on the day of Midsummer. Take the cinnamon stick and place the rosemary, basil, and mugwort with it. Take as much ribbon as you need (at least a foot in length) and wrap it around the herbs in a spiral pattern to bind the herbs together. As you wrap the ribbon around the charm, you may want to meditate on your desired intent of protection and/or prosperity or you may want to create a chant that resonates with you and your desired goal.

What the herbs represent:

Cinnamon: An herb strongly associated with the sun and masculine properties represents energy, willpower, success, money, prosperity, action, healing, protection, and purification.

Basil: This herb strives on sunlight and shares a close connection to the sun. It represents protection, success, abundance, prosperity, happiness, and love.

Mugwort: Associated with the Fae, this herb represents protection, divination, relaxation, and consecration.

Rosemary: This herb is very versatile and represents many properties such as protection, healing, wisdom, and health.

Litha Correspondences:

Colors: Yellow, Gold, Orange, Green, Blue, Red

Decorations: Honey, Summer Flowers, Herbs, Oak Bark, Candles, Ivy

Foods: Red Wine, Vegetables, Fruits, Cheese, Bread, Pastries, Salads

Animals: Butterfly, Bear, Cattle, Horse, Raven

Stones: Jade, Agate, Pearl, Moonstone, Tiger’s Eye, Amber, Fluorite, Emerald, Lapis Lazuli, Diamond

Herbs & Incense: Lemon, Rose, Pine, Cedar, Frankincense, Myrrh, Oak, Mugwort, Chamomile, Lavender, Sage, Heather, Yarrow, Thyme, Elder Flowers, Basil, Mint, Rowan

Gods: Thor, Zeus, Ra, Apollo, Cernunnos, Baldur, Jupiter, Lugh, Sol

Goddesses: Brighid, Freya, Hera, Hestia, Vesta, Venus, Gaia, Danu, Isis, Ishtar, Astarte, Bast, Flora

Spellwork: Romance, Love, Protection, Divination, Faery Magick, Transformation, Strength, Confidence, Desire, Willpower, Fertility

 

 

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