The Solstice, also known as Litha, happens this week, on the 21st June 2018.
What is the Solstice and why is it also know as Litha?
Ancient cultures knew that the sun’s path across the sky, the length of daylight, and the location of the sunrise and sunset all shifted in a regular way throughout the year. They built monuments, such as Stonehenge, to follow the sun’s yearly progress.
The name Litha (pronounced “LIH-tha”) comes from a very old document written by a monk named Bede called De temporum ratione (“The Reckoning of Time”). The document describes a lot of Anglo-Saxon Pagan ideas, including their names for the months. It is here where we get the term Litha in reference to this time of year. Litha means “gentle” or “navigable,” given because the breeze was very gentle and sailors could sail across a smooth sea.
The midsummer date is based on the planet’s rotational axis and on the sun’s tilt towards the sun, which hits its maximum at 23° 26′ and falls between June 20 and June 22 in the northern hemisphere. It is the longest day for the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest day for the Southern Hemisphere. Either way … it is a wonderful time to celebrate!
Honouring the Sun
The day is celebrated by Pagans and Druids, with rituals of rebirth performed throughout history on the day across the world. In many cases, the rituals are linked with themes of religion or fertility. This is because the day falls halfway between the start of the planting and harvesting seasons. Midsummer is not only a time of fire magic, but of water as well.
In the UK, the summer Solstice centres around Stonehenge, where Pagans thousands of years ago marked the day. Crucially the rising sun only reaches the centre of the ancient stone circle on one day of each year.
In Russia and Ukraine, it’s tradition for revellers to jump over bonfires to test their bravery and religious faith!
Tree worship has always played a large role in Midsummer festivities and trees near wells and fountains were decorated with coloured cloths. The Oak King who has ruled the waxing of the year represents strength, courage and endurance, and the Oak has always been particularly significant at Litha. The Celtic name for Oak is ‘Duir’ which means ‘doorway’. We are crossing the threshold, entering the doorway into the second, waning part of the year.
This is a time of joy and celebration, of expansiveness and the celebration of achievements. Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate the Solstice (Litha), but the focus is nearly always on celebrating the power of the sun.
Celebrate the power of light over darkness and life at its fullest.
I am running an attunement event to celebrate Litha on Thursday 21st June at 6pm UK time, which also includes any healing we need as a collective. It is part of the Pagan of the Wheel Series attunements chanelled by Farhad Najafi. This energy can help you celebrate your achievements, your life and YOU! This is important as we have been through so much already during 2018 and it is not over yet! We need to take time to celebrate and bring in the joy. We can use this energy to light our inner fire for the rest of 2018!
Here are some other suggestions on how you can celebrate the Solstice:
- Celebrate with a big bonfire as a tribute to the sun. Get sparklers too, and light them after dark! Be sure to follow basic Bonfire Safety Rules, so no one gets hurt at your celebration.
- Honour the sun by saying the prayer above and lighting a candle
- Use a bright yellow or orange candle to represent the sun, and hang solar symbols around your house.
- Watch the Litha sunrise and sunset.
- Decorate an oak tree with ribbons and flowers
- Place sun catchers in your windows to bring the light indoors.
- Begin the day by offering a prayer to the rising sun, and end your day with another one as it sets
- Place an offering in a well, stream or spring to encourage the water supply to Mother Earth
- Go for a walk in nature either alone or with friends or family. Enjoy the sounds and sights of nature. If you do this alone, try a Nature Meditation in a quiet spot somewhere on your journey and bless the sun and earth.
- Enjoy an outdoor picnic
- Create crowns out of flowers, which is lovely to do with children!
However you choose to spend the Solstice, please take a moment to celebrate how far you have come on your journey!