What is the meaning of Litha?
The word Litha comes from an old Gaelic word meaning 'light' or 'sun'. It's also called Midsummer, and it falls on or around June 20-21 each year. In 2021, the celebration will occur on June 21 and on this date, the sun is at its highest point producing the longest day and shortest night.
The summer solstice festival is a time of celebration and balance. The ancient traditions included people gathering together and lighting bonfires to bless the crops and celebrate as communities, carrying blazing torches around for good luck on their farms while dancing through unending circles of fire and spreading the coals around the fields. The purpose of these rituals was to lend strength to the Sun. These ancient pagans relied on the energy from the Sun, or the guiding hand of the Sun God, to grow bountiful harvests.
Because the intense heat of the sun could scorch the Earth and cause drought, some traditions sought to balance fire and water with their rituals. Large wheels were set on fire and then rolled downhill into lakes or rivers.
Midsummer is also a time of gathering herbs and flowers, many of which will wither during the hotter weather and thus should be gathered at this time. Litha is a wonderful time to begin your path as an herbalist since herbs are very potent in both witchcraft and medicine.
What Are the symbols Of Litha?
In ancient times, some people thought that fires represented the sun on earth. They believed that bonfires would help strengthen their bonds with solar deities, and would ensure a good harvest. Nowadays, bonfires are still used for celebrations with friends and family.
The oak tree is important at this time because of its association with the Oak King and the Holly King.
The Holly King and Oak King are two figures of folklore who have been personified to represent the different seasons. The years cycle between these two kings, with one king gaining power during a certain season while his counterpart gains strength in another. As we see through seasonal changes from spring to winter, it is interesting that the story has its own reflections on light and dark periods as well as growth cycles for crops each season brings about new life into this world.
Litha is a day when the Oak King is more powerful, but the Holly King will become stronger from this point on in the year.
One of the oldest symbols for the Sun is the wheel. You can decorate with wheels, create sigils that include a wheel and add it to your altar, or bake food in a wheel-shaped form to celebrate Litha.
Fruits store solar energy in order to provide for future generations. For that reason, fruits are a symbol of the sun’s fertility and an appropriate offering during your rituals.
If you are a sea witch, placing seashells on your altar will help you to connect with the ocean. Litha is a wonderful time of year to go enjoy some quality time at the beach.
Any flowers you can get your hands on right now will make beautiful decorations for Litha. Gather them yourself from the wild or from your own garden, and make sure to enhance your altar with these freshly picked flowers.
Bees are often associated with the sun, in part because they use it to help navigate around. Bees seem so cheerful as they bob around the flowers and plants at this time of year. They spend much of their time gathering pollen from a variety of plants including lavender, loosestrife, marigolds and rosemary. This can result in a beautiful garden with many different colours that are not often seen during other seasons.
Planting flowers now will also help feed them through the harsh times ahead; you can start a sustainable home for carpenter bees or make a donation to a local bee charity near you.
Many witches will also cook with honey during Litha, however, we do not endorse nor encourage such practice since bees work very hard for their harvest and replacing their honey with plain sugar is less nutritive for them. Bees are also dying at an alarming rate, therefore it is best practice to leave them at their business and instead seize every opportunity to create a bountiful environment for them to prosper instead.
What are the herbs representing Litha?
Midsummer is the perfect time of the year to harvest most herbs in your garden. What herbs do you have growing? Litha is a serene time to enjoy the greenery around you.
Here is a list of herbs of special significance for this pagan holiday.
- Bay leaves
- Orange blossoms
- St. John’s Wort
Burning these herbs in a bonfire or as incense is the best way to utilize them for your Litha Celebrations.
What colors represent Litha?
The midsummer celebration is represented by yellow for the bright sun and green for the greenery it grows. Blue can also be attributed to the bright sky during the summer solstice and wearing lapis lazuli or decorating your home and altar with the stone is considered a choice of wisdom for Litha.
What crystals should I use for the midsummer sabbat?
Citrine is a crystal of choice for manifesting your dreams and receiving abundance while sunstone can help lift anxiety and even depression and is a great stone to help boost your morale.
As mentioned above, lapis lazuli can be used to decorate your house or be worn as jewelry, representing the bright sky of the summer solstice.
Carnelian can be used to harness the energy of the sun along with imperial topaz to bring plentiful harvest following hard work.
Litha is the summer solstice, a time of deep connection with nature and our oldest human traditions. It’s also one of the eight sabbats in Wicca or Witchcraft. Litha represents balance and harmony, which can be seen through its symbols, colors, herbs and crystals used during this sacred celebration. Most importantly for witches who celebrate it (whether they are practicing Wiccans or not), Litha is an opportunity to commune with Nature on her highest peak! Let us know in the comments what are your plans for celebrating Litha this year.