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~*~ Litha (Midsummer)The Summer Solstice, June 21st, 2013 ~*~|
Summer Solstice or Litha, about June 21, is when the hours of daylight are longest. The Sun is at the highest before beginning its slide into darkness. Traditionally, herbs gathered on this day are said to be extremely powerful. On this night elves and fairies abound in great numbers.
Also known as: Alban Heruin (Druid), Alban Hefin (Caledonii), Summer Solstice, Midsummer, Midsummer Night, Midsummer Night's Eve, Gathering Day, and Feil-Sheathain (Pecti-Wita ~ July 5)
Date: Summer Solstice, usually around June 21
Symbols: Solar Disk, Mistletoe, Feathers, Blades
Colors: Green, Gold, Yellow
Herbs: chamomile, cinquefoil, elder flower, fennel, lavender, mugwort, thyme, and vervain may be burned; hemp, larkspur, pine, rose, St John's Wort, and wisteria may be decorations.
Midsummer is the time when the sun reaches the peak of its power, the earth is green and holds the promise of a bountiful harvest. The Mother Goddess is viewed as heavily pregnant, and the God is at the apex of his manhood and is honored in his guise as the supreme sun.
But don't overlook the Celtic Sun Goddesses in your celebration. The Celts are one of several cultures known to also have female deities to represent the power of the sun. The Celtic languages are some of the very few in which the names for the "sun" are feminine nouns, which attests to the one-time prominence of these Goddesses. A number of the myths surrounding these ladies of light have been preserved. Among the most well-known are Sul (Anglo-Celtic), Dia Griene (Scottish), the Princess of the Sun (Breton), and Grian and Brid (Irish).
Just as the Holly and Oak Kings battles for supremacy at Yule, this ever-repeating fight is reenacted at Midsummer, this time with the Holly King, as king of the waning year, victorious.
The following are some suggestions for Litha activities, some of which you may want to incorporate into the Sabbat, while others would be more suitable during the day.
Tie a sprig of rowan, a sprig of rue, and three flowers of St. John's Wort with red thread and hang over the door.
Make amulets (simple charms) of protection out of herbs such as rue and rowan. If you make new amulets each year you can dispose of the old in the midsummer fire.
Create a pouch for psychic dreams (mugwort and bay leaves in a cloth of lavender, blue, or yellow and sewn with red thread) and place under your pillow.
Make a Solar Wheel as a terrific family project - everyone can make one for their bedroom. Wind palm or grape vine into a circle, twisting as you go. Cut two short lengths of stem to be just a bit larger than the diameter of the circle and place one across the back horizontally and the other vertically crossing in back on the horizontal one and coming forward to the front of the circle to secure both, then adorn with symbols of the elementals (stone, feathers, ashes in a pouch, or a small candle, and a shell) and festoon with green and yellow ribbons. Hang in a tree outside or indoors at a reminder of the God's protection.
Make a Witch's Ladder (another fun family project) using three colored yarns (red, black, and white for the Triple Goddess) braided together to be three feet long. Add nine feathers all the same color for a specific charm (such as green for money) or various colors for a more diverse charm, tie ends and hang up. Colors are red for vitality, blue for peace and protection, yellow for alertness and cheer, green for prosperity, brown for stability, black for wisdom, black and white for balance, patterned for clairvoyance, and iridescent for insight.
You can burn the old Yule wreath in the Litha fire.
Make a rue protection pouch out of white cotton. Add two or three sprigs of rue, bits of whole grain wheat bread, a pinch of salt, and two star anise seeds and hang indoors (can do one for each bedroom).
Tie vervain, rosemary, and hyssop with white thread and dip the tips into a bowl of spring water (you can buy bottled spring water in grocery stores) and sprinkle the water about the house to chase out negativity, or sprinkle your tools to cleanse and purify.
Gather herbs like St. John's Wort, vervain, and yarrow.
Soak thyme in olive oil, then lightly anoint your eyelids to see faery folk at night.
Tie a bunch of fennel with red ribbons and hang over the door for long life and protection of the home.
Look for the faery folk under an elder tree, but don't eat their food or you'll have to remain with them for seven years! (Which could be a lot of fun, but will seriously wreck any plans you may have made!)