Happy Litha! This is also known as Midsummer, and is traditionally celebrated on the Summer Solstice, usually on June 21st (AKA my birthday!). It is the longest day of the year, so we have the most sunlight that we will have all year, and from here on out, the days will begin to get shorter. (It can be observed on December 21st if you are in the southern hemisphere; click here for Yule.) Although many Sabbats are focused on celebrating harvests in some fashion or another, this one is not. It’s all about abundance, fertility, nature, prosperity, good fortune, and success. Although we think of May 1st (Beltane) as the unofficial start to summer, this is truly the official start. The word “solstice” comes from “sol” meaning “sun” and “stitium” meaning to “stand still”. A long time ago, people thought the sun was literally stagnant in the sky because it was up there for so long today! And the word “Litha” is believed to come from a Saxon name for June meaning “moon” or “light”. Many people also believe Litha to be full of Yin energy.
Historically, this was a great day to commune with Fae/Faerie people (read more about Faerie gardening). A traditional festival was for couples to jump through giant bonfire flames together for good luck. The idea was their own abundance would grow, as well as their crops.
So how can we honor this occasion today? I’ve got ten ideas for you, and they’re all super doable.
10 Ways To Celebrate Litha
1. Create/redo your altar. A perfect way to set the mood for Litha is to create an altar as a sacred space. Supplies/materials to consider using for your Litha altar include: symbols of the sun, twinkle lights, candles, circles, discs, spirals, sunflowers, seashells, feathers, strawberries, stones (especially in a circle), bees, butterflies, birds, fire imagery, faeries, Oak leaves, Cinnamon, Mugwort, Rosemary, Gold, Citrine, Emerald, Jade, Peridot, Carnelian, and as far as colors, stick to gold, green, yellow, orange, red, and white.
2. Practice Green Magick. This is a perfect time to see how green your thumb is! Buy some plants, seeds, bulbs, and plant them in your backyard, in your home, in raised beds, in a community garden. And don’t forget about working with Faeries! You can also just spend time in nature, or meander around a luscious garden.
3. Work With Fire. You could have a traditional ceremony with two bonfires and have people (and people in relationships), dance through in between the fires to boost their abundance, you could watch someone spin fire, you could do a candle gazing meditation, you could burn your intentions in a small cauldron, you could host a barbecue on a grill in your backyard. Be careful with fire, obviously, though!
4. Make A Viking Boat. Get crafty and fashion a raft-type boat that you can fill with offerings, and then float out to stream. Popsicle sticks and origami paper work well. The idea is that your offerings are put into the sail and you let it sail out into the sunset (or sunrise if you’re an early bird!). You can write your intentions for the season on the sail, too.
5. Meet The Sun. Depending on your sleep schedule, you can find out what time the sun is rising and setting in your location, and go set up camp to watch a gorgeous sunrise/set on the longest day of the year. Great the sun, do Sun Salutation poses, do your own ritual, do a meditation, make out with your loved one, do cartwheels, take a nap in a hammock. Great the sun as it rises or leaves with gratitude and tell it how grateful you are out loud.
6. Make A Bird Feeder. Birds are great to connect with this time of year, and it’s really easy to give back to them and to bring them to you — with food! So make a bird feeder with pinecones, peanut butter, birdseed, apples, etc. Or you can buy a fancy bird feeder for hummingbirds or whatever you like! Try connecting with the birds, bird watching, going to an aviary, and looking up what birds you identify with and see the most and what that symbolism means for you at this point in your life.
7. Do The Spiral Dance. Learn how to do the Spiral Dance and teach it to your friends so you can do it together.
8. Make A Love Sachet. This is a simple craft that will draw abundance in the form of love into your life. Focus on the kind of love you want more of in your life as you craft it. Your just need some cloth (natural fabrics are good), flower petals (rose and lavender are good), and maybe a crystal (like Rose Quartz or Amethyst) to put in before you tie it up with needle and thread or just a piece of ribbon. Charge it under the sun, then put it on your altar!
9. Attend A Handfasting. Handfastings are beautiful ceremonies that are easily explained to people who don’t understand them as a Pagan wedding, but it’s so much more than that. It’s one of the best and intimate types of celebrations of love I’ve ever seen in person. You’re literally being bound to the other person, with personal items, and you have a ceremony the same way you would in a wedding, but it’s just a little different. Look into it! The Summer Solstice marks the height of Handfasting season, and the first one I ever attended was on June 20th, and they were just doing that because it was both of their birthdays, not because it was near the Solstice. Funny how things work, huh?
10. Create a Litha Ritual. Lastly, the best thing you can do for yourself is to just create a ritual that feels the best to you! There are tons of other things you can do to celebrate Lithathat I haven’t mentioned, and maybe you want to incorporate those into your own personalized ritual. For example, hosting a Litha party on June 20th or 21st, decorating your house, getting a Tarot reading, educating people on the origins of Litha, doing Litha/summer-themed crafts, making a cinnamon broom, doing the Spiral Dance, looking up any of the gods or goddesses associated with this Sabbat (like Aestas, Aine, Aphrodite, or Solntse), put out an offering to Faeries, visit a sacred well, leave on a candle all day (or an LED candle so it’s safer) as an eternal flame, take a ritual bath with purifying minerals and herbs, connecting to nature, being completely naked in nature, say a Litha blessing/prayer, etc, wearing gold, yellow, orange, red, and/or white. Do what feels right to you!
I made you a downloadable cheat sheet with the colors, crystals, apothecary, foods, activities, and altar supplies for your ease. Download it for free below!
Photo: Maura Housley
Great ideas! My favorite is 10. I wasn’t able to celebrate Litha this year, alas (I was in too much pain). But there’s always next year!