Litha, also known as the Summer Solstice, arrives in my neck of the woods one week from today, on Wednesday, June 21, at 12:24 am (Eastern Daylight Time). Since your mileage may vary, be sure to check on the exact time for your location.
What exactly is Litha?
Summer solstice is the longest day and the shortest night of the year and marks the first day of summer. For witches and pagans and all who celebrate the cycles of nature, this is the time when we honor the light, knowing that it will begin to decline and bring back the dark. Nothing lasts forever. Death comes to us all, in time. Empires fall. A rising tide may lift all boats—but a tide that rises and rises without falling is not a tide at all, but a disaster.
The cycles of light and dark, growth and decay, are part of life. They are woven into our cells, our bones, and we forget them at our peril. For if we try to cling to youth without accepting age, we become like the evil Queen in Snow White, blighting all around us in our quest for private immortality. If we expect endless growth and expansion, without contraction and constraints, we become a cancer on the face of the earth.
A simple ritual
There’s tons of information over at the Thought Co site (formally known as About.com) for celebrating the day, but I love this simple 5 minute ritual idea from Deborah Blake, author of the Llewellyn book, “Midsummer: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Litha” (although this comes from the PaganSquare article, 5 Minute Rituals for the Summer Solstice) –
Sit outside (or in a sunny window or patch of floor). Close your eyes and feel the heat of the sun on your face. Visualize the light of the sun as golden rays, carrying with them energy, prosperity, abundance, and the potential for growth on every level. Open yourself to all that potential, and draw it into yourself until you can feel it overflowing from every pore. Then say thank you, and open your eyes, moving onward into summer.
Litha is Yule in the Southern Hemisphere
Lastly, here’s the infographic I created, using a picture I took of the solstice sunrise in the woods last year. Bright Litha Blessings to all!