Celebrated since the Stone Age, Litha or the Summer Solstice, occurs on or around June 21st in the Northern Hemisphere. Both Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids have hinted at such celebratory use by their specific design in relation to the sun’s movements.

Ancient Romans honored Vesta, the goddess of home and hearth, while the Chinese celebrated feminine Yin energy at midsummer. Likewise, ancient Celts called upon the goddess Cerridwen for her natural, mothering nurturance and protection. For Native Americans, the day served as a marker for beginning the countdown to harvest time.

Litha is derived from the Old English word lithe, which means gentle or serene. It was observed that June’s breezes are calm, making for smooth sailing on the high seas—hence Litha became the name for summer’s languid day of long light.

Naturally, the power of the sun is amplified on this day. And so, having a large bonfire, or lighting a whole host of candles, is a beautiful way to symbolically honor the sun’s fire and heat. Litha is also a day of balancing fire with water. Having pools or bowls of water about, with symbols of rivers, lakes, and the sea are a way to recall this balance.

Herbs and flowers are abundant at the height of summer. Perhaps it is their intoxicating scent which enhances the balance of masculine and feminine at this time of year. Both energies support one another during Litha in rituals which honor unity and contentment. This is the natural reason for marriage and renewal of vows on Litha.

You may wish to honor all things related to the sun, fire, and summer’s bliss through lazy picnics, making daisy chains or flower crowns, and floating candles in handmade stick rafts upon the water. Above all, allow time to lie back and drowse at length in the warmth of our dear Sun. Once the Summer Solstice passes, we witness the fading of the light once again.

An altar is a collection of items which create a hum in your being whenever you are near. It’s a reminder of where we are in the turning of the year, and a soulful expression of who you are in its turning. There are no rules, only suggestions based on those who have come before us.

COLORS — orange, amber, gold, purple, pink, green
NATURE — oak leaves, acorns, honey, bees, antlers, amber, daisies, nectarines, apricots, ferns, birds
SYMBOLS — sun, wheel, mirrors, fairies, flowers, mead, sunflowers
BOTANICALS — elderflower, basil,, oregano, mugwort, saffron, thyme, verbena, chamomile, fennel
STONES — topaz, citrine, carnelian, emerald, jade
SPIRITUAL — deities, amulets, talismans, images, all personal to you
ELEMENTAL — earth/soil,
air/feather, fire/candle, water, feminine & masculine symbolic items
ATMOSPHERE — abundance, relaxation, celebration, apex, fullness, warmth

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