Litha Sabbat - The Magic of the Summer Solstice

June 08, 2021

Litha Sabbat - The Magic of the Summer Solstice

Litha correspondences:


Date: June 21st.

Colors: Yellow, orange, red, green, and gold.

Crystals: Agate, sunstone, amber, tiger’s eye, and flourite.

Deities: Aphrodite, Apollo, Gaia, Vesta, Horus, and Lugh.

Herbs/Flowers: Daisies, yarrow, sunflowers, chamomile, and thyme.

Food: Vegetables, fruits, salads, wheat, grain, honey, and dairy products.


As we shift out of the month of May and into the abundant month of June, we get ready to welcome in the energy of the warm, passionate, and high-spirited sabbat of Litha. Litha (also known as the Midsummer Festival) is an event that occurs every summer solstice and celebrates the peak of summer. This is a time of honoring the sun and the abundant fertility of the earth as nature is thriving, the flowers are in full bloom, and the light within us is beaming. However, this is also the time that marks our transition into shorter days in the second half of the year. Therefore, this sabbat is full of many unique traditions with a variety of different energy associations. 


In this article, we're going to go over all things having to do with Litha. We’re going to cover its history, correspondences, traditions, and a few ways you can celebrate it in our modern world. So if you’re ready to welcome in the joyous energies of the season, let’s dive in and get started. 



History of Litha

To start, Litha is a fire festival that takes place on the summer solstice (typically celebrated between June 20th and June 23rd each year) and marks the peak of summer. This day is often referred to as the “Midsummer Festival” and celebrates the longest day and shortest night of the year. For many, this is a joyous time filled with love, happiness, and gratitude as we rejoice in the abundant earth and honor the blazing light of the sun. However, it is also a time for channeling our own inner light and divine power, with the sun as our cosmic mentor.


Symbolically, Litha is a period that represents a turning point for the God and the Goddess. The Goddess is now pregnant, and we honor her beautiful, fruitful, and motherly glow with energies of love and gratitude. The Sun God, on the other hand, is at the peak of his strength, and thus we light fires, perform rites, and feast on earthy foods of corresponding color to honor his abundant glow. This is all-around a warm and beautiful time for celebration, gatherings with loved ones, spurs of passion with that special someone, and finding a deeper connection with the abundance cycles of nature.


On the other hand, in some traditions, Litha also marks the battle of light and dark between the Oak King (who rules the light) and the Holly King (who rules the dark). During the summer solstice, the two fight for power to see who will rule the second half of the year. At this battle, the Oak King’s reign comes to an end, and the Holly King takes over, making our days from here on out shorter as we move into the darker half of the year until Yule.


Traditions


Now, when it comes to traditions of the Midsummer sabbat, Litha has been celebrated in a variety of unique ways throughout the decades. From the cooking of spicy foods to fire dances and rituals, there are many ways to honor and embrace this divine time of the year. Here's a list of a few of our favorite traditions. 

1. Bonfires


The first and most common tradition for a Litha is lighting bonfires. Just like Beltane, Litha is a fire festival, and many honor the fullness of the sun by dancing around a fire lit in the Sun God’s honor. Many older European traditions would even ignite barrels and roll them down hills into pools of water to symbolize this (although we do not recommend this in this day and age for fire safety reasons). 


After the festival had ended, many would also gather the coals and ashes from their Midsummer fires to spread in fields or flower beds to ensure a good harvest. However, this could also be used for a magical purpose on an altar or carried in a small bag as a talisman.

2. Handfasting ceremonies


Next, much like Beltane, Litha is an abundant time of love and burning passion and is, therefore, a popular time for handfasting ceremonies. While handfasting ceremonies are done in many different ways, most are typically done in a ritual of tying the hands together to symbolize your union, followed by the untying of hands to symbolize your devotion to each other through your own free will. However, if you aren’t quite ready to tie the knot with someone this solstice, Litha is also an excellent time to practice love magic and is a great time to picnic or spend an intimate night with someone special under the stars.


3. Tree worship or plant magic


Next, because Litha is also the celebration of the fertile life of the earth all around us, tree worship was also a very popular tradition done at Midsummer festivities. For this, trees were often anointed with colored cloths and ribbons of corresponding colors of the season, followed by words of love and gratitude that would be spoken to the plants and trees of the earth. And since many believe the energy of the Oak King is also heavily present at the time, the great oak tree was often the tree of choice for this activity. However, honoring trees and plants of any kind is a truly beautiful activity for this sabbat and is a great way to create a deeper connection with the earth.


Ways to celebrate today


Now, when it comes to ways to celebrate today, times may have changed, but many traditions have stayed the same. With that said, here are a few simple and fun ideas of how to embrace and celebrate Litha in modern times.

1. Altar and home decorations


As with any sabbat, if you’re looking to welcome in the energies of Litha, one of the best and most simple ways is to decorate your home or altar space with corresponding pieces of the season. For Litha, plants, herbs, and trees that are in bloom are a great choice. A few examples of this could include sunflowers, daisies, yarrow, oak leaves, or chamomile. On top of that, you’ll also want to incorporate warmer colors that resonate with the season into your home decor or rituals. Candles, crystals, or other decorations that are gold, yellow, red, green, and orange are an excellent choice to bring into your space for this.

2. Working with fire magic/candles


Next, because Litha is a fire festival, fire magic plays a huge part in its festivities. Therefore, lighting candles is a great practice to do, as we understand that not everyone is able to do a big bonfire in their backyard. For this, you can either decorate your altar with them or set up candles around your home on Midsummer’s eve to honor the sun in its peak strength. Colors to look for in candles that correspond with Litha typically include colors that mimic the sun or blooms of the time. Therefore, red, orange, gold, yellow, purple, or green are some of the most popular choices. 


3. Spending time outside


Another beautiful way to celebrate our Midsummer festival is to spend some time outside. Whether you spend it hiking, swimming, admiring nature, or meditating, now is a powerful time to go back to your roots and align with all the abundant life that the sun has given us. You could also use this time to spend the day outside and make a nature altar or cairn to honor the sabbat.

4. Watching the sunrise or sunset


Next, another tradition that has passed down from long ago for this sabbat is watching the sunset and or the sunrise. In many traditions, this was a common practice for Litha, as this was a day of endless light and celebration, and therefore, many would stay up all night to fully welcome in the energy of the sabbat. However, watching one or the other is a less intense way of doing this and will still help you welcome in the sabbat’s energy fully. You could also time a sunset or sunrise ritual or spell with one of these events to enhance the magic of the day even more so.

5. Having a feast 


And lastly, Litha is also a great time to prepare a feast with family or friends (safely, of course). Just as with any sabbat, food plays an enormous role in the Midsummers festivities and is best celebrated with those you love. With that said, in terms of food, you may want to consider spicer foods, such as curry, as spicy foods resonate with the warmth and fire of the sun. However, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are also an excellent choice, as they honor the fertility and abundance of the earth and the sun. On top of that, if you are a lover of honey, now is also a great time to incorporate it into your sabbat meal, as our full moon following the solstice is often referred to as the ‘honey moon’ and is honored using honey in mead, desserts and other delicacies to heal and empower us.


In conclusion, Litha is a beautiful time of honoring the abundant earth, the blazing light, and nature’s inner magic. No matter which way you choose to celebrate it, this is one of the merriest sabbats of all and is best spent with your feet in the grass, the sun on your skin, and fire in your heart. Make sure you take the time to embrace it fully to find your own inner magic. 


~ Blessed Litha ~


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