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The Cottage May/Midsummer 2001 Issue

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Midsummer June 21st

LITHA/SUMMER SOLSTICE

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Ahhh, it's finally here! Let's all celebrate Midsummers Night. Litha/Midsummer is one of the Lesser Wiccan Sabbats and is usually celebrated on June 21st, but varies somewhat from the 20th to the 23rd, dependant upon the Earth's rotation around the Sun. The sun is at the height of it power before begining its slide into darkness and we experience the longest day and shortest night of the year. The Goddess manifests as Mother Earth and the God as the Sun King. . Wiccans consider the Goddess to be heavy with pregnancy from the mating at Beltane - honor is given to Her. The Sun God is celebrated as the Sun is at its peak in the sky and we celebrate His approaching fatherhood - honor is also given to Him. On Midsummer Night, field and forest elves, sprites, and fairies abound in great numbers - making this a great time to commune with them.


Symbols to represent the Litha Sabbat are such things as fire, the Sun, blades, mistletoe, oak trees, balefires, Sun wheels and faeries. Altar decorations might include Summertime flowers - especially sunflowers - love amulets, seashells, aromatic potpourri and Summer fruits. If you made Sun wheels at Imbolc, you should now display them prominently. Hang them from the ceiling or place them on trees in your yard. You may also want to decorate them with yellow and gold ribbons and Summer herbs.

Deities associated with Litha include all Father Gods and Mother Goddesses, Pregnant Goddesses and Sun Deities. Particular emphasis might be placed on the Goddesses Aphrodite, Astarte, Freya, Hathor, Ishtar, Venus and other Goddesses who preside over love, passion and beauty. Other Litha deities include Athena, Artemis, Dana, Kali, Isis, Juno, Apollo, Dagda, Gwydion, Helios, Llew, Oak/Holly King, Lugh, Ra, Sol, Zeus, Prometheus, Ares, and Thor.

Nurturing and love are key actions related to Midsummer. If you haven't yet done so, Litha is a good time to perform your Self-Dedication Ceremony... or - if you have been practicing Wicca for a while - you may choose to perform a simple Re-dedication/Affirmation as a part of your Sabbat celebration. Ritual actions for Litha might include placing a flower-ringed cauldron upon your altar, plunging of the sword (or athame) into the cauldron, balefire leaping (outdoors) and the gathering and drying of herbs. Herbs can be dried over the ritual fire if you're celebrating outdoors. Leap the bonfire for purification and renewed energy. Ritually, use mirrors to capture the light of the Sun or the flames of the fire. Some things that are considered taboo on this holiday are giving away fire, sleeping away from home, and neglecting animals.

Colors associated with the Summer Solstice include white, red, maize yellow or golden yellow, green, blue and tan. Altar candles could be either a combination of blue, green, and yellow --- or red and gold. Stones to use during Litha include all green gemstones, especially emerald and jade. Other appropriate gemstones are tiger's eye, lapus lazuli and diamonds. Animals associated with this Sabbat include robins, wrens, all Summer birds, horses and cattle. Mythical creatures include satyrs, faeries, firebirds, dragons, thunderbirds and manticores.

Plants associated with Midsummer are oak, mistletoe, frankincense, lemon, sandalwood, heliotrope, copal, saffron, galangal, laurel and ylang-ylang. Herbs associated with this Sabbat are chamomile, cinquefoil, elder, fennel, hemp, larkspur, lavender, male fern, mugwort, pine, roses, Saint John's wort, wild thyme, wisteria and verbena. Traditionally, herbs gathered on this day are extremely powerful. Incense for the Litha Sabbat Ritual might be a combination of any of the following or simply one of them by itself... frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, lemon, pine, jasmine, rose, lotus, or wysteria.



Traditional Pagan foods for Litha include fresh vegetables of all kinds and fresh fruits such as lemons and oranges. Other standard fare may be pumpernickel bread as well as Summer squash and any yellow or orange colored foods. Flaming foods are also appropriate. Traditional drinks are ale, mead, and fresh fruit juice of any kind.

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This was compiled from information I have gathered in my Book of Shadows. If anyone can cite proper sources, please let me know so I can credit them.