So, my friends, I am going to do something I rarely do and that is to re-publish a previous Midsummer/Litha post from a past year. Thank you all, both long-time and new friends, for your continued love and support! Brightest Blessings, everyone!!
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.
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