We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Midsummer/Litha ~ Summer Solstice


Every year around June 20-21, we celebrate Litha/The Summer Solstice. Our small solitary Wiccan group prefers to call it Midsummer, as it is also called, because of its' heavy association with "The Fae."

The word Litha is Anglo-Saxon and is derived from "aerra litha" which means "before summer." It is the sabbat which celebrates the warmth and light of the summer Sun for this is the time of the year when the God rides at His peak in the sky. It is also the longest day of the year. It is the time to celebrate the ending of the waxing year (represented by "The Oak King" aspect of the God) and the beginning of the waning year (represented by His "Holly King" aspect).  We, as Wiccans, honor the Goddess in Her Mother aspect as She is heavy with pregnancy from Her mating with the God at Beltane. Faeries are especially aboundant at this time and it is customary to leave offerings to them.


Going back to the New Stone Age (about 8,000 years ago), stone circles such as Stonehenge were used to mark the position of the rising sun at the Midsummer Solstice. The sun would rise over a heel stone and cast a long, phallic shadow into the heart of the circle, symbolically consummating the marriage of Heaven (the sky)and Earth. Other circles mark the equinoxes and cross-quarter festivals we know as Imbolg, Lughnasadh, Beltane and Samhain.

In keeping with the ancient folklore calender, Litha actually began on Beltane (May 1st) and ended on Lughnasadh (August 1st), with the Summer Solstice midway between the two, marking MID-Summer.

Litha customs usually included such communal activities as dancing, singing, storystelling, feasting, village bonfires and torch-lit precessions after dark. It was believed that Litha fires possessed great power and that by simply jumping over a Litha bonfire, you could be blessed with prosperity and protection. It was also a common tradition that betrothed couples joined in hands jump over the embers of the Litha fire three times to ensure a long and happy marriage.


This year, I will be celebrating Midsummer/Litha with my very dear group of solitary friends at the Old Path Enlighteners' Circle. We will gather for our yearly ritual ceremony and, afterwards, we will eat, drink and be merry!

(Photo credits)

3 comments:

  1. Such a wonderful sabbat. Wishing you and your Circle many blessings! P.S. Have you tried leaving a comment lately on my blog? I've had trouble with a couple of blogs, but not as bad as the last two or three weeks. And how is Midnight doing after his oral surgery?

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  2. Thanks, Robin ~ and Litha Blessings to you, too!!!

    I tried leaving a message on your blog a couple of days ago, but to no avail. I plan to keep trying though and hoping that maybe they get the problem straightened out evenutally.

    Midnight is doing great!! He can now go back on his dry food (although he really likes the Fancy Feast gourmet cat food that we have been giving him! -LOL)

    BTW, I liked your last two posts a lot, nice job!

    Blessings to you always,

    Kim

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  3. Hi Kim, Lovely Post, I had to share my King Arthur's Summer Solstice at Stonehenge machinima film with you here
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wuNE5M01ME
    Bright Blessings, elf ~

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