Litha (Summer Solstice)

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Northern Hemisphere: June 20-22
Southern Hemisphere: December 20-23
Pronounced: LEE-tha
Themes: abundance, growth, masculine energy, love, magic
Also known as: Midsummer, Midsummer’s Eve, Gathering Day, St. John’s Day, St. John’s Eve, Summer Solstice, Alban Hefin, Feill-Sheathain

Litha, also known in the wider Pagan world as Midsummer, is celebrated on the day of the Summer Solstice—the longest day and shortest night of the solar year. This is the height of summer, when the days are warm and plentiful. Abundance can be found everywhere—the crops are in full growth as we get closer to the beginning of the harvest season, and the fields and forests are bursting with animal and plant life.

The Sun reaches its highest point, which means the days will now begin to grow shorter again until we reach the Winter Solstice at Yule. But there’s no need to think about winter just now—instead, we celebrate our place on this warm and lively side of the Wheel.

This is the time of the God’s greatest power, whether we focus on the light and heat of his Sun God aspect; his role as the Green Man, lush with thick foliage; or the Horned God, strong and agile at the heart of the forest. There is a potent masculine energy to be tapped here, if we wish.

At the same time, the Goddess is in her Mother aspect, as the generous Earth yields abundant blessings of food, flowers, and striking natural beauty. We feel the love of this divine pair easily and often in these easy, breezy days of Midsummer. Magical and medicinal herbs are said to be at the height of their power, and are traditionally gathered on this day to be dried and stored for use in the winter. Many people also feel the energies of the faeries at this time—a slightly mischievous
“something” in the air that Shakespeare once captured in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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