My Eclectic Study Forum
Summer Solstice - Litha - June 21st.
Posts : 1197
Join date : 2016-06-07
|Subject: Summer Solstice - Litha - June 21st. Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:56 am|| |
Litha is a celebration that has been observed for centuries, in one form or another. It is no surprise, then, that there are plenty of myths and legends associated with this time of year!
In England, rural villagers built a big bonfire on Midsummer's Eve. This was called "setting the watch," and it was known that the fire would keep evil spirits out of the town. Some farmers would light a fire on their land, and people would wander about, holding torches and lanterns, from one bonfire to another. If you jumped over a bonfire -- presumably without lighting your pants on fire -- you were guaranteed to have good luck for the coming year.
After your Litha fire has burned out and the ashes gone cold, use them to
make a protective amulet. You can do this by carrying them in a small pouch, or kneading them into some soft clay and forming a talisman. In some traditions of Wicca, it is believed that the Midsummer ashes will protect you from misfortune. You can also sow the ashes from your bonfire into your garden, and your crops will be bountiful for the rest of the summer growing season.
It is believed in parts of England that if you stay up all night on Midsummer's Eve, sitting in the middle of stone circle you will see the Fae. But be careful - carry a bit of rue in your pocket to keep them from harassing you, or turn your jacket inside out to confuse them. If you have to escape the Fae, follow a Ley Line and it will lead you to safety.
Residents of some areas of Ireland say that if you have something you wish to happen, you "give it to the pebble." Carry a stone in your hand as you circle the Litha bonfire, and whisper your request to the stone -- "heal my mother" or "help me be more courageous", for example. After your third turn around the fire, toss the stone into the flames.
Astrologically, the sun is entering Cancer, which is a water sign. Midsummer is not only a time of fire magic, but of water as well. Now is a good time to work magic involving sacred streams and holy wells. If you visit one, be sure to go just before sunrise on Litha, and approach the water from the east, with the rising sun. Circle the well or spring three times,walking deosil,and then make an offering of silver coins or pins.
Sunwheels were used to celebrate Midsummer in some early Pagan cultures. A wheel -- or sometimes a really big ball of straw -- was lit on fire and rolled down a hill into a river. The burned remnants were taken to the local temple and put on display. In Wales, it was believed that if the fire went out before the wheel hit the water, a good crop was guaranteed for the season.
In Egypt, the Midsummer season was associated with the flooding of the Nile River delta. In South America, paper boats are filled with flowers, and then set on fire. They are then sailed down the river, carrying prayers to the gods. In some traditions of modern Paganism, you can get rid of problems by writing them on a piece of paper and dropping them into a moving body of water on Litha.
William Shakespeare associated Midsummer with witchcraft in at least three of his plays. A Midsummer Night's Dream
, and The Tempest
all contain references to magic on the night of the summer solstice.
Posts : 1197
Join date : 2016-06-07
|Subject: Re: Summer Solstice - Litha - June 21st. Sat Sep 17, 2016 7:16 am|| |
Rituals and Ceremonies
Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Litha, but the focus is nearly always on celebrating the power of the sun. It's the time of year when the crops are growing heartily and the earth has warmed up. we can spend long sunny afternoons enjoying the outdoors, and getting back to nature under the long daylight hours.
Here are a few rituals you may want to think about trying -- and remember, any of them can be adapted for either a solitary practitioner or a small group, with just a little planning ahead.
The Summer Solstice... Litha, Midsummer, or Alban Heruin, is the longest day of the year. It’s the time when the sun is most powerful, and new life has begun to grow within the earth. After today, the nights will once more begin to grow longer, and the sun will move further away in the sky.
If your tradition requires you tocast a circle, consecrate a space, or call the quarters, now is the time to do so. This ritual is a great one to perform outside, so if you have the opportunity to do this without scaring the neighbors, take advantage of it.
Begin this ritual by preparing the wood for a fire, without lighting it yet. While the ideal situation would have you setting a huge bonfire alight, realistically not everyone can do that. If you're limited, use a table top brazier or fire-safe pot, and light your fire there instead.
Say either to yourself or out loud:Today, to celebrate Midsummer, I honor the Earth itself. I am surrounded by tall trees. There is a clear sky above me and cool dirt beneath me, and I am connected to all three. I light this fire as the Ancients did so long ago.
At this point, start your fire. Say:The Wheel of The Year has turned once more
The light has grown for six long months
Until today.Today is Litha, called Alban Heruin by my ancestors.
A time for celebration.
Tomorrow the light will begin to fade
As the Wheel of the Year
Turns on and ever on.Turn to the East, and say:From the east comes the wind,
Cool and clear.
It brings new seeds to the garden
Bees to the pollen
And birds to the trees.Turn to Face South, and say:The sun rises high in the summer sky
And lights our way even into the night
Today the sun casts three rays
The light of fire upon the land, the sea, and the heavensTurn to face West, saying:From the west, the mist rolls in
Bringing rain and fog
The life-giving water without which
We would cease to be.Finally, turn to the North, and say:Beneath my feet is the Earth,
Soil dark and fertile
The womb in which life begins
And will later die, then return anew.
Build up the fire even more, so that you have a good strong blaze going.
If you wish to make an offering to the gods, now is the time to do it. For this sample, we're including the use of the Triple Goddess in the invocation, but this is where you should substitute the names of the deities of your personal tradition.Say:Alban Heruin is a time of rededication
To the gods. The triple goddess watches over me.
She is known by many names.
She is the Morrighan, Brigid and Cerridwen,
She is the washer at the ford,
She is the guardian of the hearth,
She is the one who stirs the cauldron of inspiration. I give honor to You, O mighty ones,
By all your names, known and unknown.
Bless me with Your wisdom
And give life and abundance to me
As the sun gives life and abundance to the Earth.I make this offering to you
To show my allegiance
To show my honor
To show my dedication
To You.Cast your offering into fire. Conclude the ritual by saying:Today, at Litha, I celebrate the life
And love of the gods
And of the Earth and Sun.
Take a few moments to reflect upon what you have offered, and what the gifts of the gods mean to you. When you are ready, if you have cast a circle, dismantle it or dismiss the quarters at this time.
Allow your fire to go out on its own.
Posts : 1197
Join date : 2016-06-07
|Subject: Re: Summer Solstice - Litha - June 21st. Sat Sep 17, 2016 7:37 am|| |
Setting Up Your Litha Alter
Midsummer is the time when we can celebrate the growing of crops, and take heart in knowing that the seeds we planted in the spring are now in full bloom. It's a time of celebrating the sun, and spending as much time as you can outdoors. Try to set up your Midsummer altar outside if at all possible. If you can't, that's okay -- but try to find a spot near a window where the sun will shine in and brighten your altar setup with its rays.
Colors of the Season
This sabbat is all about the Sun celebration, so think of solar colors. Yellows, oranges, fiery reds and golds are all appropriate this time of year. Use candles in bright sunny colors, or cover your altar with cloths that represent the solar aspect of the season.
Litha is when the sun is at its highest point above us. In some traditions, the sun rolls across the sky like a great wheel - consider using pinwheels or some other disc to represent the sun.
Circles and discs are the most basic sun symbol of all, and are seen as far back as the tombs of ancient Egypt. Use equal-armed crosses, such as the Bridgid's Cross.
A Time of Light and Dark
The solstice is also a time seen as a battle between light and dark. Although the sun is strong now, in just six months the days will be short again. Much like the battle between the Oak King and the Holly King, light and dark must battle for supremacy. At this sabbat, darkness wins, and the days will begin to grow shorter once more. Decorate your altar with symbols of the triumph of darkness over light - and that includes using other opposites, such as fire and water, night and day, etc.
Other Symbols of Litha
- Midsummer flowers, fruits and vegetables from your garden
- Gods Eyes in sunny colors
- Sunflowers, roses
- Oak tree and Acorns
- Sandalwood, saffron, Frankinsence, laurel.