Become Energized by The Solstice
Before I move on to the next Sabbat on the Wheel of the year, I want to share a few
thoughts about Litha. Yes, the date has officially passed as of this last weekend. But, it is the start of a new season as our annual calendar reckons it. While I will admit I have been swallowed up by life in the mundane world of late and have not been able to commit as much time to my blog entries as I have planned, or would prefer, this to me is a perfect time to pause, reflect and share with you what the Summer Solstice, or Litha, means to me and how we at Spiral Grove celebrate this Sabbat. Much of what we do can be done throughout the summer, and would be appropriate as a way to honor the Sun, Solstice or not. So, should you choose to, please feel free to cull from this post and use it as you see fit. First there is Litha, the name itself. In my experience, it is becoming more commonly used by those in the pagan community. But for the first 10 years of my journey on this path, I didn’t hear it used that much. It has been around, and known, and used yes, it just didn’t seem as common a term such as Beltaine. Wiccan, witch or Pagan, everyone on this type of path knows what Beltaine is as word. But not so much Litha. To satisfy my own interest, I did some digging and found our good friend Bede again (one of the scholarly references for the naming of Ostara as noted in a previous blog). Bede was a Christian historian/monk who lived in the 7th- 8th Century AD and is said to be the father of English History by some. He cites Litha as two of the summer months, there was Early Litha and Late Litha according to Bede, as used by the Anglo-Saxons. These months roughly correspond to June and July on our modern calendar. As we have Lammas or Lughnashada as another Sabbat in July/ August, it is fitting to use Litha in the context of naming a Sabbat to mark the height of the Sun in Summer. So what is the Summer Solstice about? It is the longest day of the year, the time when we have more hours of daylight than we do of night. The Light has conquered the dark at last on this cycle of the Earth around the Sun. But it is so much more than that. While we celebrate the strength of the Sun, there is also a bittersweet aspect to the celebration, as after the Solstice- when the Sun appears to stand still upon the horizon, the light will begin to diminish and the dark will begin to gain strength once again. I have always found myself at odds with the idea of long summer days occurring while at the same time, just as our Summer season begins (On the Gregorian calendar), the light is actually fading away. So I look beyond the light and strength of the Sun to see what more there is to honor and celebrate at this time of year.
For many Witches, Wiccans and Pagans (or whatever path you identify with), if you are an herbalist, or work with herbs as all in your magic and ritual, now is the ideal time to harvest your herbs. It is just before the flowering time for many herbs, to harvest the leaves and roots now, you can gain great power and energy from the herbs, before they push all their strength into blooming for the next generation to begin. Two well known and loved herbs of the Wise are St. John’s Wort and Mugwort. One herb of the Sun and one herb of the Moon.
Both of these herbs offer amazing energetic gifts to those who want to work with them. St. John’s Wort, or Hypericum as it is also called, has a history as a curative for anxiety and depression disorders around the world. It is a protective herb, and you can let it lend you its strength in times of need. Mugwort, or Artemis Herb, is one of the most well-known herbs which aids in dream magic of all kinds, from Astral Projection, to lucid dreaming or dream recall, Mugwort has been used for centuries.
When we think of Summer, we think of heat, and dryness. On the far end of the spectrum, there is what we do not want, drought. So this is a very appropriate time to not only honor the Sun and cull from his strength of energy to gain what we want, it is very advantageous to also work with water to balance the power of the heat of our Sun. Water is life giving. Yes we need the sun for our planet would not be here otherwise. But we living beings need water in order to survive in the world we find ourselves in. We can’t go but a few days without it before we would perish. Acknowledging and working with water as part of our Solstice rituals is very important to myself and Spiral Grove as a coven.
To this end, our ritual includes the use of Sun Water and Moon Water. We charge water under the sun, letting it absorb the strength and power of our closest star. We charge water the moon from the closest Waxing to Full moon before the Solstice. These jars of water are then used in our ritual. We cleanse and revitalize ourselves with Sun Water, and we seek wisdom through scrying with Moon Water. Each celebrant has an opportunity to participate in our Litha Ritual. Each one of us can connect with and commune with the energies of the Sun and Moon through water.
Our ritual is set up in such a way as to allow each celebrant to seek and gain what they need or desire at this time, honoring the strength of the Sun and this vibrant time of year, as well as the importance of water in our lives. While most of our summer activities are out and about and active, we take some time to be refreshed and reflective, giving us the opportunity to embrace all the “more” that is to come with the days of summer that yet remain.
Merry Meet! I am first and foremost a writer. When I am writing I am in my element! Much of what I write about, and do in my life is centered around a pagan spiritual base. I have been studying various paths and topics, working with energies, deities, and the elements for 15 years plus. I am the High Priestess of Spiral Grove an eclectic study coven. I say I was given this coven as a gift because that is what it truly is. Spiral Grove would not be what it is without the members who make it whole.