Litha is the longest day of the year and is a celebration of the Goddess and God at the height of their power. Together they rule over the bounty of nature and the lush cycle of growth and prosperity. Summer Solstice is tinged with a hint of sorrow, because after this date the sun begins to weaken and the days grow shorter as the Sun god's power begins to wan.
The word Litha is derived from the Old English words "hlith" which means hill and "monath" which stands for month. Litha Sabbat occurs on or around June 21 when the Sun enters Cancer.
Litha Traditions & Celebrations
On this day, we honor the Sun God, pay homage to the Earth Mother, and celebrate the fertility of both land and people. Rituals such as lighting bonfires, feasting, drumming circles, and leaping over a fire are thought to bring luck for the coming season. It’s an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the beauty and power of nature and bask in its glory. Litha is a time of joyous celebration and connection with the divine energies that sustain us.
The Holly & Oak King Legend is an important part of Litha celebrations. This legend tells the story of two kings; the Holly King who rules during the winter and summer solstice, and the Oak King who rules during spring and autumnal equinox. Together they bring balance to our lives by providing us with times of productivity and rest. By honoring the Holly and Oak King, we can learn to embrace both growth and stillness in our lives.
Litha is also a time when fairies are said to be most active. During Litha, the veil between our world and the fairy realm is thought to be particularly thin, making it easier for us to commune with them and receive their blessings. If we pay attention and look closely during this time, we can see them fluttering around in the garden! Don’t forget to leave them an offering, they like milk and honey, small shiny trinkets, and fresh water in tiny bowls.
Litha is also a pagan harvest festival where it is traditional to gather plants and herbs on Solstice day, to use in magickal practices and natural remedies throughout the year. For many of us, Litha herb gathering is a spiritual practice that connects us with the natural cycles of life and the energy of the season. The powerful sun energy is captured in the plant essence and can be tapped into when you need a bit of light and warmth added to your magick!
Since Midsummer is a time of growth and fertility it's a very popular time for Handfasting rituals where couples honor their commitment to one another. Handfasting is a beautiful way to celebrate Litha, as it celebrates both love and nature, two important aspects of pagan faith.
This ancient practice remains just as meaningful today as it did centuries ago, as couples join together in a union of love and respect.
Litha Altar Decorations
When it comes to Litha altar decorations, there are endless possibilities. The colors and symbols of this midsummer sabbat honor the sun and the bounty of summertime. Consider using items like bright orange or yellow candles; flowers such as sunflowers, daisies, lavender, or rosemary; stones that evoke the energy of the Sun; or representations of solar animals such as lions or hawks. Nature elements like oak branches, forest moss, dried grasses and ivy vines can also be incorporated into your altar decor. You can also use symbols associated with love such as hearts to help bring in the joy of summertime romance. Finally, many pagans celebrate this sabbat by making a special Litha wreath using fresh flowers, grapevines, leaves, and red, yellow, and orange ribbons so don’t forget to include one on your altar! By carefully selecting and arranging these items, you can connect more deeply to the energies of the season and bring joy and abundance into your life.
Animals: Butterfly, bee, cattle, horse, robin, snake, wren
Colors: Gold, green, red, yellow
Goddesses: Aine, Amaterasu, Freya, Flora
Gods: Greenman, Holly King, Lugh, Oak King, Pan
Herbs: Chamomile, daisy, fern, heliotrope, honeysuckle, ivy, lavender, rose, St. John’s wort, vervain, wild thyme, yarrow
Incense: Cedar, frankincense, lavender, lemon, myrrh, pine, rose, sage
Mythical Creatures: Faeries
Stones: Diamond, emerald, jade, lapis lazuli, tiger’s eye
Trees: Elder, holly, linden, laurel, oak
Let us all take a moment to honor the beauty of nature and be thankful for its abundant gifts. May we all bask in the light of joy, love, and abundance that Litha brings! Blessed be!