Litha is the festival celebrated around midsummer/summer solstice, somewhen between the 19th and 25th of June. Personally, I celebrate as much as possible around this time as English summers are notoriously temperamental. It is the longest day of the year, when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, which varies from year to year (this year it is the 20th of June) and is often celebrated over a few days.
At this time the Goddess is with child, the Horned God is at his most virile and all feels in harmony; thriving and existing before the Autumn harvest. To me it marks the feeling of the days ahead: Joyous and bountiful having done the hard work in the spring, we can now enjoy the balmy summer days and all it brings, where we celebrate the high points in our own lives. We are reminded to be present in this moment and enjoy it before the hard work of Autumn and the slumber of Winter.
Litha mirrors the winter solstice in the wheel of the year. We celebrate the peak of the God’s (the sun) energy and the life force he brings to Mother Earth,this being where she moves from her maiden form to the mother/lover form, her ‘prime’. It also another spirit day; where the veil between worlds is thinner. We welcome the fae into our celebrations, be warned however should you choose to do this, they are not the benevolent fairy types from children’s stories and will challenge you with tricksy ways.
There are many legends and traditions surrounding this time. My favourite of which is collecting elderflower, sacred to this time of year, for my home and apothecary and leaving offerings beneath them for the fae folk. (you can read about Elder and Elderflower here)
Greeting the dawn.
A popular tradition at Litha is to stay up all night the night before and greet the dawn. I have done this in my younger days and I’ll admit I had to have a wee nap half way through the day to make it through. This in itself felt very indulgent as I was in the shade of my favourite tree. You could simply get up early enough to greet the dawn. Although, if you’re anything like me staying up all night partying like a pagan is easier than trying to haul my arse out of bed at 4.30 AM it is recommended that you watch 1 sunrise and 1 sunset around this period if you can, what better way to do this than a party with your friends and community (update, it’s 2020 the coronavirus is still a threat and lockdown still happening in the UK. So, socially distant partying please) .
Other traditions at Litha generally reflect the feeling at this time of being out enjoying the sunshine (good luck britwitches😂) and reflecting on the abundances you have manifested for yourself. Celebrate your successes and those of your loved ones with a feast and party (have you noticed I think you should throw a party?)
Some ideas could include:
- A picnic.
- Bake a Litha based recipe to share.
- Make flower crowns to wear.
- Make flower mandalas and other wild art.
- Collect Elderflower and make elderflower cordial/champagne
- Clean, smudge and decorate your home and alter to honor the sun
- Write 3 things you are thankful for on 3 ribbons (yellow, gold and red are traditional. No plastic! ) and tie them to your favourite tree.
- Like Beltane you can jump the bonfire to cleanse yourself.
I’d like to mention here that although I am a solitary practicing Witch for the most part, my friends and loved ones often join me at Litha when they are invited so don’t be afraid to share with your ‘normie’ darlings. Also, I’m queen of the one woman party which feels equally awesome. How do you celebrate this time? Are there any traditions you uphold? I’d love to hear.
Merry meet and peace out witches!