Litha: The Summer Solstice
Litha is a recognition of the Summer Solstice. It is the day of the year that experiences the shortest night and the longest day. Litha is the pinnacle of the power of the sun and is considered to mark the growing season. It is from this day onward that the sun will start to set a little earlier every night until it is Yule. Hence, Litha is celebrated to give thanks for warmth.
Just like the Winter Solstice, the Summer Solstice cannot be precisely determined as the day varies each year. However, generally, Litha is celebrated on the 21st of June. The reason why the exact date is not perceived is because of the misalignment among the actual rate at which the Earth rotates around the sun and the Gregorian calendar. Moreover, Litha is celebrated at different times, depending on where one lives. It is celebrated anywhere in the range of 20th – 22nd of June.
It is believed among Wiccans that during Litha, God has full power as the sun is at its highest point. While on the other hand, the Earth Goddess is said to bring forth abundance for the year. Moreover, it is the time of the year when forests experience lush growth and crops reach full maturity. Furthermore, the harvest seasons comes into full swing within just a few weeks. Therefore, during Litha, Wiccans pause to celebrate their crops and the food of the season. The sunlight brings forth warmth, unlike the darkness during the winter. Wiccans rejoice to take in the warmth and the comfort that comes with it. The Sun God is honored through the festival. However, the Horned God is also provided with recognition due to the abundance of animal life.
How Is Litha Celebrated?
Ancient pagans celebrated Litha or the summer solstice with giant bonfires and torchlight processions, which aimed at strengthening the sun through rituals. There is another European tradition that is entirely centered on the need for a balance among the water and fire elements. This was done by placing huge wheels and setting them on fire and merely rolling them downhill into lakes, rivers, or creeks as a type of summer drought repellent. Moreover, according to tradition, Litha is the perfect time for magic and finding different wild herbs, which are used for making medicine. It is believed that most of the herbs are grown by the time it is midsummer. Furthermore, Litha is a great time, and it is when the power of magic and medicine at the highest degree. In Wales, Litha is often referred to as the Gathering Day.
To celebrate Litha, the altar can be decorated with summer colors such as blue, green, and yellow, as well as fruits, herbs, and flowers. It is the time when the re-dedication to the Goddess and God is done. The divination to romance and love is symbolized. Wiccans keep at least a candle lit in honor of the sun. Moreover, noon is the ideal time for the rituals as it is during this time that the sun is at the highest point.