History: Midsummer, the summer solstice (circa June 21) also known as Litha, arrives when the powers of nature reach their highest point. The earth is awash in the fertility of the Goddess and the God.
In the past, bonfires were leapt to encourage fertility, purification, health and love. The fire once again represents the Sun, feted at this time of the longest daylight hours.
Midsummer is a classic time for magic of all kinds. Litha represents the midpoint of the year, and Pagans understand that the winter months will soon follow. It was custom on this night to light large bonfires after sundown, which served the purpose of providing light to the revelers and warding off evil spirits. Other customs included decking the house with birch, St. John's Wort, and white lilies. Two chief icons of the holiday are the spear, as the symbol of the Sun God in his glory, and the summer cauldron, as the symbol of the Goddess in her bounty. Litha is also a time for family gatherings or reunions, parties, and entertainment including various athletic games. The Sabbat is also known for the blessing of animals of all types, from farm animals to familiars. Decorations are any summer flower.
The plants associated with Litha are: :oak, mistletoe, frankincense, lemon, sandalwood, heliotrope, copal, saffron, galangal, laurel and ylang-ylang
White, Red, Gold, Green, Blue and Tan
Stones: Include all green gemstones, especially emerald and jade. Other appropriate gemstones are tiger's eye, lapis lazuli and diamonds
Incense and oils: you can use any of the following scents, either blended together or alone: frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, lemon, pine, jasmine, rose, lotus, or wisteria.
Animals and mythical beasts: robins, wrens, all Summer birds, horses and cattle.
Mythical Being: satyrs, faeries, firebirds, dragons, thunderbirds and manticores.
Gods and Goddess: Father Gods and Mother Goddesses, Pregnant Goddesses and Sun Deities. Particular emphasis might be placed on the Goddesses Aphrodite, Astarte, Freya, Hathor, Ishtar, Venus and other Goddesses who preside over love, passion and beauty. Other Litha deities include Athena, Artemis, Dana, Kali, Isis, Juno, Apollo, Dagda, Gwydion, Helios, Llew, Oak/Holly King, Lugh, Ra, Sol, Zeus, Prometheus, Ares, and Thor.
Symbols: fire, the Sun, blades, mistletoe, oak trees, balefires, Sun wheels and faeries.
Summertime flowers - especially sunflowers - love amulets, seashells, aromatic potpourri and Summer fruits.
Foods: fresh vegetables of all kinds and fresh fruits such as lemons and oranges. Summer squash and any yellow or orange colored foods. Traditional drinks are ale, mead, and fresh fruit juice.
: Carnation, chamomile, cinquefoil, daisy, elder, fennel, hemp, honeysuckle, ivy, larkspur, lavender, lily, male fern, mugwort, pine, roses, Saint John's wort, wild thyme, wisteria, vervain and verbena.
Energy and confidence. Orange is the color of summer. It is adaptability and stimulation. Celebrate with a midsummer bonfire!
The color of the Sun God as he is at his strongest this day. It is the color of intuition and many make their wishes for health and prosperity written in gold ink.
2 parts Sandalwood
1 part Mugwort
1 part Chamomile
1 part Gardenia petals
A few drops Rose oil
A few drops Lavender oil
A few drops Yarrow oil
Burn at Wiccan/Pagan rituals at the Summer Solstice or at that time to attune with the seasons of the Sun.
Go for a holiday walk. Get out in the fresh air, and as you get your walking rhythm going, let your mind slip into a light trance. Think about what this day means to you, and the abundance that is undoubtedly coming your way.
Think about what you have planted recently in your life. Are you working to keep in thriving? What can you do to add fire to this new and tender joy in your life? How can you make it stronger? Listen, and go to where the gods beckon you.
Send a wish to the Goddess on the petals of a rose. Kiss your wish onto the flower, and float it upon a natural body of water. Chant a spell of passion, and know that your wish will make it home to her.
Plan a summer celebration. If you wish, make it a potluck. Enjoy all the fruits and young, tender vegetables of the season. Visit your local farmers? market for the region?s ripest and finest, and use your imagination to create a truly seasonal and magnificent meal. Be sure and include some pork, or something creatively ?fiery? and summery if you?re a vegetarian. Mmmm?barbecued tofu comes to mind. And what about those complex carbs? How about some ?wild? rice?
Lavender bottles or wands have been used to freshen linens and impart fragrance for centuries. Elizabethan ladies used to gather lavender and transform it into these delightful 'wands' or 'bottles' to put in their linen cupboards. Use them to fragrance linen or lingerie drawers, or wherever you would use a sachet. You can use your basket weaving skills to make one or more of these wands from the fresh lavender flowers in your garden.
15 Fresh cut lavender stalks at the height of bloom with the longest stems possible
Short piece of lightweight string
2-3 yards of 1/4' wide satin ribbon
Select and pick 15 stems of fresh lavender with stems as long as possible. Strip the leaves from the stems. Allow the stems to wilt slightly to allow flexibility. Align the tops of the flower clusters. Tie the stems into a bundle just below the flowers with string. Tie one end of the ribbon onto the bundle just below the flowers. Bend the stems back over the flowers, arranging them to surround the flower heads neatly and evenly. Use the ribbon to weave the stems in a plain weave (over one / under one) around the bundle. Be careful not to catch any of the flower buds into your weaving. Keep an even tension on the weaving as you progress. Pack the weaving gently as you proceed so that each new row touches the previous row. Make certain to adjust the stems so that they remain vertical as you weave. Begin to increase your tension on the weaving as you reach the end of the flower buds to close in the wand. Once the weaving completely encapsulates the flowers, stop weaving. Adjust the tension of the weaving if necessary. Cut the stem ends to the length you desire. Tightly wrap the ribbon in a spiral down the length of the stems. Reverse direction and spiral the ribbon snugly up the length of the stems. Tie the ribbon off just below the weaving. Clip off remaining ribbon. Use the remaining ribbon to tie a decorative bow onto the stems, just below the weaving. To refresh the scent, gently squeeze the woven section (referred to as the 'bottle' or the 'Bouteille'.)
Make a stone Circle Sundial
Stonehenge is one of the world's best known
stone circles, and many researchers have noted that the structure functions as a giant astronomical calendar and sundial. Most people can't build a Stonehenge replica in their back yard, but what you can do is create a sundial of your own using stones you've found. If you have children, this is a great science project to do, but even if you don't have kids, it's fascinating to create your own sundial. If you can do this around Litha, at Midsummer, you'll have the perfect opportunity to recognize the powerful energy of the sun!
You'll need the following items:
A pole or straight stick
Several large stones
A clock or watch to calibrate your sundial
Find a place in your yard that gets sun for most of the day. Although it's ideal to do this in the grass of even a patch of dirt, if all you have is a sidewalk or driveway, then that's fine too. Mount the pole by sticking it into the dirt. If you're making your sundial on a hard surface like concrete, then use a block of clay or a bucket of soil to secure the pole.
Keep an eye on your clock. At each hour, take note of where the pole's shadow falls, and mark the spot with a stone. If you start this project in the morning, you'll be able to mark most of the daytime spots - if you start later in the day, you may have to come back the next morning to figure out where your morning hours are.
To tell the time with your sundial, look for the pole's shadow. Where it falls between the stones will give you the time.