Celebrating Litha: The Summer Solstice

Date: June 21, 2022

The days are long, the sun is hot, the garden full, and nature buzzes with constant activity.

It’s the Summer Solstice – symbolizing fulfillment, abundance, life, energy, and blessings.

Often celebrated as Litha, or Midsummer, the Summer Solstice is one of the eight sabbats on the pagan Wheel of the Year.

Themes & Meanings For Litha

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Litha marks the longest day of the year, where the sun is at its strongest, and nature fully alive and active.

The promise of Imbolc (February 2nd) is finally fulfilled as we bask in long days, warmth, and plenty.

The themes that Tracy and I reflect on during Litha are:

Fulfillment

It’s a good time of year to check in with what makes us feel fulfilled.

Is your hard work paying off? Do you feel fulfilled? Are you enjoying the journey?

Summertime beckons for us to be present and enjoy life, so if something is preventing you from feeling fulfilled and joyful, it’s time to do a gut check and make some course corrections.

Gratitude

We often associate gratitude – or thanksgiving – with the late summer and autumn sabbats of Lughnasadh and Mabon.

However, the Summer Solstice is the perfect time to sit back and take in all of the lush beauty of summer – the flowers, the fragrant herbs growing in your garden, the sunlight glinting on the water – take it all in and be thankful for everything you have – no matter how small or insignificant it might be.

Joy & Happiness

Another theme of Litha is joy and happiness.

Summer is often a joyful time, and while current events in the world, or your present life circumstances might make it difficult to be joyful, it is possible to find bits of joy and peace if you embrace the present moment.

What truly makes you happy? What brings you joy? What are the most important things in your life?

Write these down and take time to truly appreciate them.

Better yet, give yourself permission to spend more time doing things you enjoy, and work toward balance between work and play.

Nurturing Our Dreams

Winter is a time for planning and intentions setting, and we start putting things in motion during the spring.

The summer is a time to tend to and nurture what we want to grow in our lives.

It’s time to balance self-care and rejuvenating play time with the hard work and dedication that it takes to continue the work of fulfilling what we want to manifest in our lives.

Just as the farmer or gardener waters, prunes, and protects their crops, so too must we protect, grow, and nurture our self-growth and positive, forward direction.

Correspondences & Setting Up A Litha Altar

One of the simplest ways to honor the Summer Solstice, or to celebrate Litha, is to create a simple altar that features meaningful elements of the season.

Moon Phase: Litha corresponds to the Full Moon, a time of celebration, joy, gratitude, and reflection.

Candles: Lighting candles is a great way to bring that fiery, solar energy into your home – especially during Litha rituals performed indoors, or if it is cloudy or rainy on the solstice.

My favorite candle colors to use on the Summer Solstice are gold, yellow, orange, and green.

Crystals & Stones: Any stone associated with prosperity, joy, and happiness or luck are good stones of wear, carry, or decorate with during Litha.

Citrine, orange calcite, and pyrite all are associated with prosperity, abundance, and joy.

Both fire agate and fire opal represent the fiery energy of the sun, as is tigers eye.

Green stones like emerald, green aventurine, jade, and green kyanite all represent the abundant, green energy of the Earth.

Amber, a fossilized resin, is a good stone to work with at Litha to reflect on ancestors, and how past cycles lead us to where we are now.

Herbs: By the Summer Solstice, both calendula and chamomile are blooming in my garden.

Calendula flowers can be brewed in a tea and have a host of health benefits.

Chamomile helps you relax – use it to take a time out during the summer to enjoy life.

Other herbs I use or work with during Litha include mint (especially lemon balm), lemon verbena, lavender, and St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum).

Calendula is a wonderful herb to work with at Litha.

Flowers: Besides flowering herbs like chamomile and calendula, roses and daisies are in full bloom in my yard and garden at this time, and so I like to incorporate them into my Litha decor and rituals.

Scents (Incense/Essential Oils): Lemon (any citrus), sage, pine, lavender, cedar, and frankincense.

Foods: Early summer fruits and vegetables, herbs, iced tea.

My favorite Litha tea is made from two cups of packed lemon balm leaves steeped in two quarts of hot water for 15 minutes, then allowed to chill.

Altar Decor: Roses, yellow and orange flowers (calendula, marigolds, rudbeckia, sunflowers), berries, yellow discs or other solar images/symbols, oak leaves and holly leaves (representing the cyclical battle between the mythological Oak King and the Holly King.

Suggested Rituals

You do not need to perform a fancy ritual to “properly” celebrate Litha, or the Summer Solstice.

Here are some simple, quick ideas to help you connect to the Longest Day.

1) Visit A Farmer’s Market

Visiting a local farmer’s market is an excellent way to connect with the beginning of summer – especially if you do not have your own garden.

Be sure to pick up some early summer fruits and vegetables, and gather some ideas and inspiration for a midsummer, locally-sourced meal.

2) Harvest Some Herbs (& Cook With Them or Brew Tea)

If you have an herb garden, pick some of the herbs and cook with them, or brew tea.

I now have a tradition of making a big batch of lemon balm iced tea for the summer solstice.

I grow, brew, and drink my own teas all summer long. My favorites are peppermint/chocolate mint, apple mint, lemongrass, lemon verbena, and lemon thyme.

If coffee (or espresso) is more your thing, you can make a floral-infused coffee or latte using ingredients in from your herb garden.

Tracy and I made a delightful rose petal-infused latte by simmering freshly picked rose petals from our rose bush in oat milk.

I heated the oat milk and kept it warm/hot (not boiling) for about 10 minutes to allow the rose petals to infuse into it.

Using a milk frother, froth the the hot oat milk (you can use any milk for this) until light and foamy.

Pour a shot of espresso (or strongly brewed coffee) into your cup, then slowly pour in the oat milk.

Sip and enjoy, outside by the garden, if you can.

3) Journal

The simple act of cracking open a journal and checking in with yourself can bring about a lot of clarity, calm, and focus on what you need to release, embrace, and shift in your life.

Ask yourself the questions I posted earlier in this article.

4) Take a Gratitude Walk

Litha is about counting your blessings and enjoying abundance (not just financial abundance, but an abundance of anything – love, flowers, iced tea, etc…).

Take a walk through your neighborhood or local park, or if you’re feeling ambitious, go on a hike. Be sure to list off all the things you’re grateful for while you walk.

5) Sit Outside & Take In The Sights, Sounds, Smells

One of the themes of Litha is nurturing and growing what you want to manifest in your life, but it’s also important to balance hard work with self-care and play.

If you are able, go camping. Take a trip. Take a day or two off to do nothing but read by a lake, or play.

Or simply carve out a few minutes here and there throughout the day to step outside and pause. Find out what’s blooming in your yard or neighborhood.

Put down your phone (or leave it inside), and just be present and observant – and take a moment to simply appreciate being alive.

How Do YOU Celebrate Litha?

Post a comment below and let us know!

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