Litha Information

Litha, (also known as Midsummer or the Summer Solstice) is next week on June 20th and I must say, I’m excited. It’s one of my honey’s favorite holidays and I’m sure she’s excited, as am I! Here is some Litha information we got from a website awhile ago, which has since been taken down.

Can take place between June 19th and the 22nd
Longest Day of the Year

Ablan Heflin, Alben Heruin, All-Couples Day, Feast of Epona, Feill-Sheathain, Gathering Day, Johannistag, Litha, Oak Festival, Sonnewad, St. John's Day, Summer Solstice, Sun Blessing, Thing-Tide, Vestalia, Whit Sunday, Whitsuntide

A new holiday adapted by neo-pagans to celebrate the middle of summer. The origins of the holiday originated in Wales where the celebration of Midsummer was practiced and is called Gwyl Canol Haf. It is my conclusion that ancient pagans probably celebrated a form of a midsummer holiday anyway because 1. The seasons and especially a solstice were important to them and 2. They had very hard lives and enjoyed celebrating like now by neo-pagans. The name given to this time of year would have been St. John’s Eve or St. Hans Aften or Jonines, or any other variations of “John”. Emphasis would have been placed on the twilight time of balance of dark and light, short and long and the gray area in between when the faerie’s or Spirits would be out and seen and communicated with easily. The times of dusk and dawn, eves of holidays, hence we get the wonderful Shakespeare store of a Midsummer Eve. Why St. John? At the time of early Christianity and conversions, St. John was seen as a rustic nature based figure and often called the Oak Man. There are many statues of him that still exist with portray him as half human and half animal, perhaps hints of him as being a Jack in the Green or The Wild Man in the Woods. The plant, St. John’s Wort was seen as defense against harmful faeries. Bonfires are still lit today on the midsummer’s, lighting up hillsides and casting a glow of protection from harmful faeries.

If you have children, a great way to spend the holiday together as a family is to take them to a sacred site and picnic with vegetables and fruits from your garden and have them search for specific plants of the holiday too and explain the folklore. Midsummer and summer time are also the time for many pagans and non-pagans too to think about weddings and handfastings. Many herbs collected at this time are used for a traditional handfasting. Picnics afterward with mead and ale and the traditional vegetables and fruits of the summer are served as well as wild flowers everywhere in hair and on table spreads.
Magickal Weddings: Pagan Handfasting Traditions for Your Sacred Union – Joy Ferguson

Summer Solstice Incense Recipe
Oils and incense recipes from The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews by Scott Cunningham
3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Benzoin
1 part Dragon’s Blood
1 Part Thyme
1 part Rosemary
pinch Vervain
a few drops of Red Wine

Midsummer Oil Recipe
4 drops Lavender Oil
3 drops Rosemary Oil
1 drop Pine Oil
Sunflower Oil for a base

Midsummer Ritual Mead
Gereina Dunwich’s The Wicca Spell Book: A Witch’s Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes
2 1/2 Gallons Water
1 cup Meadowsweet Herb
1 cup Woodruff Sprigs
1 cup Heather Flowers
3 Cloves
1 Cup Honey
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Barley Malt
1 oz. Brewer’s Yeast

Pour the water into a large cauldron or kettle. Bring to a boil and add the Meadowsweet Herb, Woodruff Sprigs, Heather Flowers, and cloves. Boil for one hour and add the honey, brown sugar, and barley Malt. Stir 13 times in a clockwise direction and then remove from heat.

Strain through a cheesecloth and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the brewer’s yeast. Cover with a clean towel and let it stand for one day and one night. Strain again, bottle and then store in a cool place until ready to serve.

Midsummer Ritual Mead is an ideal drink to serve at Summer Solstice Sabbaths, as well as during all Cakes and Ale Ceremonies and Esbats.

Summer Solstice Ritual Potpourri
Gereina Dunwich’s The Wicca Spell Book: A Witch’s Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes
45 drops Lemon or Lavender Oil
1 cup Oak Moss
2 cups Dried Lavender
2 cups Dried Wisteria
2 cups Dried Verbena

Mix the Lemon or Lavender Oil with the Oak Moss, and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.

Some correspondences are from The Sabbats: A Witch’s Approach to Living the Old Ways by Edain McCoy

Symbols                              Sun, Fire, Balefire, Faeries, Mistletoe, Oak trees
Colors                                  Green, Gold, Blue, Tan
Gods                                    Father and Sun Gods, Puck, Pan
Goddesses                           Mother, Pregnant, and Sun Goddesses
Animals                               Birds, such as Robin, Wren, Horses, Cattle
Mythical Creatures              Faeries, Satyrs, Nymphs, Sprites, Dragon, Firebird, Thunderbird, Manticore
Foods                                  Summer greens, Summer fruit, Summer Vegetables, Squash
Beverages                           Apple cider, Mead, Ale, Wines, Teas such as Angelica, Catnip, Indian Hippo, Sage, and Valerian
Plants                                  Oak, Mistletoe, St. John’s Wort, Vervain, Lavender, Frankincense, Rose, Fern, Sunflower, Summer flowers
Oils                                      Basil, Clove, Camphor, Frankincense, Yarrow, Ylang-Ylang
Stones and Gems                Emerald, Lapis Lazuli, Tiger’s Eye, Diamond, Jade
Songs                                  Dalen Gwyr (Green Leave), an ancient fertility song, over time it has become known as Green Sleeves.
Time/Hour                           Dusk, Eve

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