Celebrating Litha

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If there’s one thing you should definitely put on your Litha “to do” list, it’s to get outdoors and enjoy the summer weather! Even if your actual ritual must be held inside, you can prepare yourself energetically by attuning with the Sun’s light ahead of time.

It’s ideal to spend some time by a river or other body of water, especially if it’s a sunny day. Watch the sunrise and the sunset if you can. Many people like to stay up the whole night before in order to see the Sun rise on its most powerful day. If the weather won’t be fair on the solstice day itself, you can commune with Nature the day before or after. But if you’re experiencing a string of rainy days, don’t fret—the Sun is always there behind the clouds, and you can acknowledge that specifically in your ritual if you wish.

Covens located near a coastline may meet at the shore for their Litha celebrations, in honor of the balance between the Elements of Fire and Water. Rituals are ideally held outdoors, and groups may meet at sunrise on this day, or at “solar noon,” the point in the day when the Sun is at its highest in the sky.

One common ritual acts out the story of the battle between the Oak King and the Holly King. In some Wiccan traditions, these twin aspects of the Sun God’s annual journey take turns ruling the year. The Oak King, representing the light half of the year, reigns until the Summer Solstice, when he is cut down by the Holly King, who heralds in the beginning of the waning of the light. The ritual enactment serves as a reminder that there can be no light without the dark—it is the contrast between the two that makes each possible.

Magic is, of course, always an appropriate part of Sabbat celebrations, but at Litha the energies available from the abundant natural world are particularly potent. Plug into these currents with spellwork of your choosing. You may want to focus on goals related to love, beauty, friendship, healing, empowerment, or physical and magical energy, but all purposes are suitable at this time.

If you work with the faeries, be sure to acknowledge their presence with offerings of food and/or drink. The height of summer is a great time to watch the subtle movements of the trees in the wind. You just may see a faerie face or two—or even the Green Man himself—among the leaves. If you grow your own herbs, or know how to recognize them in the wild, make a point of gathering a few on this day to use in magical teas, charms, and other workings.

Making protective amulets is a popular magical tradition at this time. Wiccans and other Pagans tie a trio of protective herbs together with cloth to carry or wear around the neck for the coming year. The amulet is charged over the Midsummer bonfire (or a candle if need be). After the year is up, it is buried before a new one is made. Another type of amulet is made with the ashes of the Litha fire, carried in a pouch or kneaded into soft clay that is then baked in a kiln. Litha ashes also make great fertilizer for your garden!

Be sure to incorporate the Element of Fire into your magic, whether with a large ritual bonfire or a few simple candles. If it’s a cloudy day, light a candle first thing in the morning and leave it to burn until sunset. This is a good time for clearing and charging crystals and other magical tools by leaving them in sunlight for a few hours. Divination related to love and romance is also traditional at this time, as are rituals of rededication to the God and Goddess.

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