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Litha (pronounced “LITH-ah”), also known as the Summer Solstice or Midsummer, is a Lesser Sabbat and falls between June 19th and the 22nd. The sun is at its highest and brightest and this is the longest day of the year. At this time the sun seems to just hang in the sky without moving (the word “solstice” is from the Latin word solstitium, which literally translates to “sun stands still”). The Lord of Light has fought the powers of darkness, and is triumphant, ensuring fertility in the land. But in so doing so, He sows the seeds of His own death. The Wheel turns and the Dark God begins to wax in power as the Light God wanes. The Earth is awash in the fertility of the Goddess and God, and all is in bloom. The Goddess shows Her Death- in-Life aspect, She reaches out to the fertilizing Sun God at the height of His powers and at the same time She prepares for His death. The Goddess dances Her dance of Life and Death, the Sun God loves Her, and dies of His love.


The powers of nature reach their highest point at Litha; it is the high time of the Sun and is marked with festivals of fire that once again represent the sun. In the past, bonfires were leapt to encourage fertility, purification, health, and love.


The Summer Solstice was observed by our ancestors in most cultures. For example the Druids celebrate this festival as Alban Heruin, for the Welsh it is known as Gathering Day, in Ancient Rome it was Vestalia, the Ancient Gauls celebrated it as the Feast of Epona and in Ancient Greece it was All Couple's Day. In the Italian tradition of Aridian Strega, this Sabbat is known as Summer Fest, La Festa dell’Estate, in England, June 21st is “The Day of Cerridwen and Her Cauldron” and in Ireland, this day is dedicated to the fairy Goddess Aine of Knockaine.


While the Druids celebrated this festival as Alban Heruin and the Summer Solstice was observed in other cultures, “Litha” is believed by some to be a modern name for this Sabbat. When the Saxon invaders arrived in the British Isles, they brought with them the tradition of calling the month of June Aerra Litha and although the name Litha is not well attested, with little historical record of the name, it may come from this Saxon tradition.


According to the old folklore calendar, summer begins on Beltane and ends on Lughnassadh, with the Summer Solstice midway between the two, marking this day as midsummer. This is a logical way to look at this day rather than saying that summer begins on the day when the sun’s power begins to wane and weaken and the days grow shorter. And so, as we celebrate the beginning of summer at Beltane, Litha is our Midsummer festival, a predominantly solar festival in honor of the God at the apex of His life and the height of His power. It is a holiday of transition, when the God begins His transformation from young warrior to aging sage.


Flowers are in bloom everywhere, having reached their sexual maturity and are ready for pollination, yet once fertilized they die, so that the seeds and fruits may develop. At the same time, summer fruits appear, for a short but delicious season.


June was considered by some to be the luckiest month to be married in, and is the time of the Mead or Honey Moon. There are several old traditions for newlyweds concerning the time immediately following their handfasting and these traditions are the origins of the post-wedding holiday being named the honeymoon.


This is a time of beauty, love, strength, energy, rejoicing in the warmth of the sun, and the promise of the fruitfulness to come, because although the days begin to grow shorter after Litha, the time of greatest abundance is still to come. The promises of the Goddess and God are still to be fulfilled and this is a time of the fulfillment of love. It seems a carefree time, yet in the knowledge of life, is the knowledge of death, and beauty is but transitory. We celebrate life, and the triumph of light, but acknowledge death, and the power of the Dark Lord that now begins to grow stronger.


It is also a time to celebrate the ending of the waxing year and the beginning of the waning year, and preparation for the harvest to come. Midsummer is a time to absorb the Sun's warming rays and it is another fertility Sabbat, not only for humans, but also for crops and animals.


Wiccans consider the Goddess to be heavy with pregnancy from the mating at Beltane and 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 and 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. It is customary to leave offerings such as food or herbs for them in the evening.


This is a time to revel in your blessings and pray for the safe outcome of the harvest that is growing within the earth, within the Goddess’ womb. At this time of year, our physical energy is generally at its peak, and we are active and strong. Games involving a show of strength, such as tug of war and wrestling are appropriate at this time, and are often staged at summer fairs. This is a time to rejoice because the gift of summer is here, be childlike with the passion that the Goddess and the God have created! Enjoy the energy around you and within you as the sun caresses everything it touches with glorious heat. It is a time for rejoicing, but also of introspection, a time to make sure plans are still on track and to correct any negative aspects of one's life.


Litha is a classic time for Magick of all kinds, for it is considered a time of great Magickal power. Magick and spells to be performed at this time include those for love, sexuality, healing and prosperity. This is also a very good time to perform blessings and protection spells for your pets, livestock and other animals and you may want to choose to include your pet in your Litha ritual. This is also a good time to perform a ritual of dedication or rededication to your spiritual path.


Midsummer is a time of paradox in the year. Though we might have waited all year for the warmth, the green and the ease of summertime, the emotions it elicits can be extreme. Midsummer lets us experience great joy and daily fun, as well as anger and fleeting hot tempers. The direction of summertime is the South, and the element is fire. Just as the flame of the candle inspires us and the campfire gathers us together with its crackling rhythm and warmth, a wild fire can just as easily sweep through and destroy everything in its path.


Fire is the only element that is not naturally occurring, but must be sparked to life. In this season we must confront the use of our will. Where do we find the balance between impulse and discipline? Do we let things happen to us and become victims of our world, or do we take active part in creating and manifesting our reality? Part of creation is expressing ourselves so make your mark, make music, sing your song, express yourself--now is the time! People tend to go through extremes of interaction near Midsummer, there are barbecues, parties, camping trips and children playing together outside. We have great summer memories of fleeting romances and deepened friendships. But it is no accident that violent riots and eruptions of rage often happen during the summer. Apart from the fun and closeness, it is just the nature of people to have more conflicts when we spend more time together! If we have to work long days during the summer, we can feel trapped inside during beautiful warm days outside. Summer is the peak time of relaxation and enjoyment, so this is natural...make the most of your free time, make alliances and relish friendships.

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