Litha

 This is the Summer Solstice or Midsummer, celebrated on June 20th or 21st. It is the summer solstice at its peak. Symbolically, this day represents solar power and strength and is celebrated when the sun reaches its zenith.

Historically, it is the time to celebrate the Sun God at his highest point. This is the longest day of the year, light and life are abundant. On this night’s eve, it was believed the “faery folk” are most active and visible by their actions.

As the solstice sun rises on its day of greatest power to kiss the landscape, it draws up with it the power of nature and its most fruitful tool of herbs, standing stones and crystals. The Holly King retakes the rulership of the seasons from the Oak King at this time. During this time of the Wheel of the Year, the God is now middle aged, and the Goddess remains at his side. The summer solstice is celebrated all over the world.

When: June 20th or June 21st
Season: Summer Solstice
Represents: Peak of Power, Fire, Full Potential, Culmination
Virtues: Self Power
Symbols: Fairy, Fairies, Fire, Sun, Wheel
Gemstone: Fairy (Crackle Quartz) Carnelian Chalcopyrite, Fluorite Labradorite, Moonstone, Rainbow Obsidian, Sunstone
Color: Green, Orange, Yellow
Essential Oils: Chamomile, Clary Sage, Cypress, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, Peppermint, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Thyme
Remedies: Bee Pollen, Bilberry, Calendula Flower, Burdock Root, Calendula Flower, Catnip, Chamomile, Chamomile Flower, Eye Bright, Echinacea Purpurea, Elder Flower, False Unicorn Root, Fennel Seed, Fenugreek Seed, Goldenseal, Lemon Balm. Oatstraw, Red Raspberry Leaf, White Willow Bark
Flowers: Black-Eyed Susan, Butterfly Bush, Coneflower, Garden Phlox, Lavender, Moonbeam Coreopsis, Russian Sage, Salvia, Shasta Daisy, Speedwell, Stella de Oro, Yarrow
Element: Fire
Direction: South
Life Event: Self Empowerment, Strength
Lunar: Moon of Horses or Strawberry Moon
Body Healing: Physical Activity
Mind Healing: The Power of Happiness
Spirit Healing: Sacred Spirit
Litha Meditation: Color Healing
Litha Connections: Resin Incense, Celtic Candles, Essential Oil Blends, Celtic Amulets, Celtic Crystals, Celtic Astrology

Learn more about this Celtic celebration…

Holly King vs. Oak King

The Holly King is a speculative archetype of modern studies of folklore and mythology which has been popularized in some Neo-pagan religions. In his book The White Goddess, the author Robert Graves proposed that the mythological figure of the Holly King represents one half of the year, while the other is personified by his counterpart and adversary the Oak King:

The two battle endlessly as the seasons turn. At Midsummer the Oak King is at the height of his strength, while the Holly King is at his weakest. The Holly King begins to regain his power, and at the Autumn Equinox, the tables finally turn in the Holly King’s favor; his strength peaks at Midwinter.

The author, Graves identified a number of paired hero-figures which he believes are variants of this myth, including Lleu Llaw Gyffes and Gronw Pebr, Gwyn and Gwythr, Lugh and Balor, Balan and Balin, Gawain and the Green Knight, the robin and the wren, and even Jesus and John the Baptist.

Celtic Fairies

 Fairies have a long standing history throughout Celtic lore. Fairies are the medieval and post-medieval versions of the old Celtic “spirits of the place”.

Fairies origins depended on which part of the Celtic world you came from. In Ireland, the Tuatha de Danann, were the gods of the ancient Irish who later became the heroic fairies, (The Daoine Sidhe) after they were defeated by the Milesians.

They then retreated to the underground realm. Fairies have had a longstanding association as “spirits of the dead” or regarded as “evil dead” in such places as the Highlands, Ireland and Cornwall.

In Wales, fairies were a race of beings halfway between the material and the spiritual. Given many names, by many cultures, they have been called leprechauns, goblins, elves, imps, pixies, hobgoblins and brownies. Certain fairies were grouped together and associated with a place.

The Sprites inhibited the springs and streams. Dryads lived in the trees. Gnomes were spirits of the earth, appearing in cracks in the rocks to frighten away Cornish miners. Sea nymphs were also considered mermaids. The male version were sometimes called the Men of the Minch or Manx MermaidsSylphs were spirits of the air, while Pigwidgeons were the smallest fairies. The fey of the woods or faeries, fairies and fayres, have a reputation for being insecure, easily offended, pompous, self-entitled, quarrelsome and down right mischievous!!

Bonfires

 Summer Solstice is the first day of summer and the longest day of the year! Alban Heruin, or “Light of the Shore” is the celebration of Mid-Summer’s Eve. It celebrates the light and the sun without which, there would be no life. It is seen as the time of strengths and accomplishments, productivity and full potential.

The summer solstice is marked in parts of Ireland (and throughout Scotland, Wales, France, Spain…) by bonfires on the side of the road or in fields. It is usually celebrated on June 20 or 21st, depending on when the longest day of the year fall on the calendar. Communities gather at their local bonfire and celebrate the longest day of the year with song and dance.

The gathering of herbs, “Herb Night” are picked as this is when they are most potent. Also the “casting of herbs” into the fire are done as a ritual of thanks and honor to Mother Nature for her gifts.

Christianity adapted many of these feast days to match the Celtic holidays. The Summer Solstice is celebrated all over the world.

 

Stonehenge

Stonehenge has become the quintessential home of the Summer Solstice! It is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England. It consists of a ring of standing stones, set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. One of the most famous landmarks in the UK, Stonehenge is regarded as a British cultural icon constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The site was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986.

From ancient burial mounds to Celtic rituals, this extraordinary monument of stone, captures the mystery and magic of a New Age culture, seeking spiritual connections to the divine. Here are some rituals to do at Stonehenge, or where ever you celebrate:

* Stimulating the flow of energy in our bodies is an easy and beneficial approach to circulate blood, energy and fluids through our system. Movement of any kind is the first step! Stimulating your flow of inner energy will boost your own inner feelings of well-being. Use the power of your breath to breathe in a deep inhale, hold for 7 seconds, and then slowly exhale for 14 seconds!

* Do sun salutation ~ This sequence of yoga poses or asanas are done to great the morning sun, warm up and stretch the body and help you to get in contract with yourself. You can find this great morning ritual here

The English Heritage has a wonderful Stonehenge site, full of useful information for travelers here 

7th Celtic Moon

(June 10 – July 7) (The Stabilizer) The Oak Moon  occurs during a time when the trees are beginning to reach their full blooming stages. The mighty Oak is considered the King of the Forest. It is strong, powerful, and typically towers over all of its neighbors. The Oak King rules over the summer months, and this tree was sacred to the Druids. The Celts called this month Duir, which some scholars believe to mean “door”, the root word of “Druid”. The Oak is connected with spells for protection and strength, fertility, money and success, and good fortune. Carry an acorn in your pocket when you go to an interview or business meeting; it will be bring you good luck. If you catch a falling Oak leaf before it hits the ground, you’ll stay healthy the following year.

See: Celtic Birth Tree: Oak

Fire

Fire represents physical strength, force, courage, desire, initiative, fertility, passion, purification and rejuvenation. It represents both light and heat. A positive fire person is strong, courageous and bold, dramatic and passionate in all areas within himself.

Within the Celtic history, fire has been used for its powerful healing, purging and cleansing properties. Offered as a tool of celebration in many of the major holidays and seasonal transitions, fire, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective properties.

Cows were driven between two pillars of fire as a cleansing ritual, while tribes would jump over bonfires to achieve fertility, prosperity and protection, fires lit to represent stages of the sun and its light are all good examples as to how fire plays a major role in ritualistic aspects.

Balance of Energies

The “Yang” of Movement
The Summer Solstice is the greatest point of Yang Energy. At this apex, Yang will start to turn into Yin. Yang energy is more masculine, is related to light, sun, brightness, heaven, time, south, east and left. Yang signs are the odd numbered ones. Those belonging to yang energy have a tendency to be more assertive and self-expressive.

The “Yin” of Stillness
Understand that there is a relevance to the longest day of the year, as the sun peaks at its highest point. Before its transition, it appears to come to an absolute stand still. This is looking at the Yin or transition. Yin energy is more feminine, is related to dark, moon, earth, north, west and right. Yin signs are the even numbered ones. Those belonging to yin energy have a tendency to be more passive and introverted.

Solstice Rituals

* Bath in the light of the sun ~ Visit a beach, pool, or park and bathe in the light of the sun for 15-20 minutes. The perfect amount of time to get your vitamin D and enjoy the power of the warmth and joy.

* Get crafty ~ Making a flower crown on the summer solstice is a traditional way to celebrate. Wined the stems of flowers around a crown of wire. Intertwine the stems and line the flower heads up along the outside of the wire crown. Try using flowers with a variety of colors and textures.

* Make a solstice lantern. With a mason jar, glue or tape a variety of color strips of tissue paper, (or just use yellow) around the outside of the jar. Place a candle inside and light it when you are ready!

Create Your Own Garden

* Tend to your garden or make a home version. In a vase, planter or terrarium bowl, add several Succulents and cacti, which can grow best in an open terrarium.

Scottish and Irish moss are two popular, hardy choices that are easy to find and easy to grow.

Baby’s Tears or Angel’s Tears are tiny leaves that look great in a small scale. It grows abundantly.

African Violet are a purple-blossomed plant and work best in a closed glass container.

Creeping Figs are a dwarf variety and can look like a tiny forest inside your terrarium.

Add your own touches such as crystals, statues, chimes or any symbols that remind you of summer!

Litha Blessing   

“O brightest day of Litha’s light,
I come to honor in circle, bright
With light of new beginnings grow,
and sunlight during summer’s glow
With midday-summer passing by
Till fall and winter time, anigh
I honor light by candle’s flame,
To praise each day in summer’s name
To rise as sunlight does each day,
And offer joy on journey’s way”
~ Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac 

Celebrate Your Wheel of Life

~ more stories, magic, history and authentic Celtic products…

Click here
0