Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Litha, Summer Celebration of the Goddess!
Litha, also known as Midsummer or the Summer Solstice, is a celebration of all things Summer. When all the flowers are in bloom, and all the crops and herbs are full of life. When the days are long and hot. Litha is actually the longest day of the year. Now the days will start to decrease, while the nights will start to increase.
Many Pagan celebrations involved a fire, including Midsummer. People would get married at Midsummer, much like at Beltane, and jump over the fire for good luck. There is also some folklore surrounding this Summer festival. It is said that in England, a big bonfire would be built on Midsummer eve, to keep evil spirits at bay. Farmers would light fires on their land, and then light torches from the fire, carrying them around the town.
Midsummer is also associated with faeries. It is said that if you stay up all night on Midsummer eve sitting in the middle of a stone circle, you will see the Fae. To honor the Fae at Midsummer, leave out some milk and honey, or a little bit of wine or cheese. You can also invite the Fae into your garden to help tend to your Summer herbs. Leave the same offerings in your garden to attract them.
On the Summer Solstice we honor Isis, Egyptian Mother Goddess of the universe, and Vesta, Roman Goddess of Hearth and Home. During the Summer in Ancient Egypt, the annual flooding of the Nile was celebrated. It was known as "Night of the Teardrop" in honor of Isis and her sorrows after losing her husband. It was said that Isis cried so much, that with her tears, she flooded the Nile. Vesta was also honored during the Summer in Ancient Rome. The festival Vestalia, which started on June 7 and lasted for eight days. Priestesses of Vesta would bake sacred cakes and tend to her sacred flame during this festival.
Since Litha is a Summer festival, honoring the ocean and her creatures can also be a part of your ritual. On your altar have representations of the sun and water, shells, summer herbs and flowers, colors of yellow, orange, red and blue, statue of Isis or Vesta. You can also have a small fire if you have the ability.
For a quick Litha herb charm: Take herbs of St. John's wort, mugwort, vervain, and lemonbalm, pour all of your worries, fears and concerns into them, put them into a small sachet bag, drop the bag onto your Litha fire (or in your cauldron) and watch your worries burn away.
I hope everyone has a bright and prosperous Summer and Litha celebration!
For more info on Litha crafts and folklore, check out : About.com
Photo courtesy of The Fairy Gathering
Posted by Tara at 2:00 AM