Summer Solstice, the first day of summer, is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. In Pagan tradition, it’s known as Litha or Midsummer. This year, Litha falls on June 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, a time when those of us who practice magic speak of drawing down the Sun. This really just means connecting with prana or life force, within and without. To draw down or bring out the Sun is letting yourself shine and be seen. It’s affirming that you are strong, alive with energy, loving, warm, and filled with light. Litha is the Sun’s day and the Sun is the center of our solar system. It brings us all back to center, to our hearts, and to the creative source in everything.
With the Sun at its maximum power, Litha’s the perfect time to celebrate success, fertility, good fortune, and everything you’ve created and become. Summer calls for play and enjoyment. Litha is one of the great fire festivals, and in the old days, people would dance around bonfires. Couples jumped through the flames for good luck and the faeries were easily enticed with sweet flowers and honey. June’s Full Moon was known as the Honey Moon, and weddings were common. Litha is a happy, passionate, bright time.
Litha is also known as the Festival of Growth. Traditionally, planting season ends with summer and nature reaches its fullest ripeness. Mother Earth is generous, giving more than we need, and we experience deep feelings of abundance. Summer is a time to celebrate all that is coming to fruition. It symbolizes the fruit of life. Plants, herbs, and flowers are in full bloom, and we see the newborns of spring mature with each passing day. This is a great moment to meditate on what lies ahead in the year for you. Read your tarot cards, get an astrology reading, scry in your spheres and mirrors, ask of your pendulum, and see what insight comes to you.
At Summer Solstice a doorway in time opens, one which our ancestors have historically viewed as sacred and holy. It’s not just that the season is changing. At Summer Solstice, all of nature surrenders to the fire of light. Litha symbolizes a grand portal of energy, space, and opportunity – a chance to let go of fears, doubts, and insecurities. After the Sun reaches its maximum power, it begins to decline. Slowly, the night force will grow stronger until its peak at the Winter Solstice. Litha is the last chance in our calendar year to activate sacred intentions before we move into autumn and winter, the seasons of harvest and rest. It’s a time to step out in faith and imagine what is fully possible for yourself. Dream an expansive vision for your life that will sustain you as the darkness slowly returns with the fall.
Here are my 3 favorite ways to celebrate Litha:
1) Create a fire element altar
Use anything that connects you with summer, light, and your own passion. Orange, red, and yellow candles are a great choice along with fire element oils like tangerine, clove, and cardamom. Add some fire gems like fire opal, carnelian, and red calcite. Include drawings, cut out pictures, or totems of Litha symbols like bees, butterflies, cows, horses, faeries, summer birds, and the Sun. Honor gods and goddesses commonly associated with Midsummer like Aestas, Amaterasu, Anuket, Aphrodite, Agni, Apollo, Janus, and Ra. Light your candle and meditate on the areas in your life where you want some fiery motivation, confidence, and vitality. Visualize the fire of the flame infusing your entire life with solar energy.
2) Gather summer flowers
Calendula and sunflower are some of my favorite fiery flowers, but the rose is also associated with Litha. Flowers are an easy way to brighten your space and celebrate nature. They also remind you of your own beauty and ability to bloom. Create a centerpiece for your table or even make a wreath for your hair. Collect petals for use in seasonal incense, offering blends, and altar decor. Litha is the perfect day to remove the petals and let them dry under the Solstice Sun for later magical and ritual use.
3) Charge your gemstones by Solstice sunlight
We talk so much about charging gems by moonlight, but sunlight brings its own magic to gems. Be careful though, some gems like amethyst and larimar can actually fade with too much Sun exposure! It only takes a few hours in the Sun to cleanse and charge. If you want your stones to hold the Sun’s pure energy, bring them in before sunset, otherwise, the Moon takes over. The most powerful time for Solstice charging is at the exact moment of the Solstice; the first minute of summer. This year, that will be June 21 at 8:54 am PDT. In general, sunlight charging is enhanced around noon, when the Sun is highest in the sky. Your Sun-charged crystals will radiate solar energy during the darkest months and you can hold them in meditation anytime you need an infusion of light and warmth.
However you celebrate Litha and the Summer Solstice, take a little time to breathe in the sweetness of summer. Do things that uplift your spirit and when you can, take a break from work and just feel the pleasure of being alive. A’ho and on we go.
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