Also known as Midsummer, Litha is a pagan celebration of the Summer Solstice. The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, usually taking place on or around June 21st in the Northern Hemisphere (December 21st in the Southern Hemisphere). Celebrations may begin on Midsummer’s Eve, which is a great time to gather herbs and flowers. In ancient times, the Summer Solstice was a time of great importance for many cultures, often marked with the burning of bonfires. The Summer Solstice marks the sun at the peak of its power and the beginning of the waning year.
Many neo-pagans incorporate the dying vegetation god theme into their rites and celebrations. At this time, the Oak King (god of the waxing year) gives way to the Holly King (god of the waning year). In this tradition, the two sides of nature and ourselves are honored, the light and the dark shadow self. The Goddess is heavy with pregnancy at this time, and will give birth to the Horned God at the Winter Solstice.
Gold, green, blue, red, white, yellow, and orange
Flowers, Herbs and Scents
Daisies, honeysuckle, marigold, roses, sunflowers, foxglove, buttercups, anise, apple, basil, birch, carnation, chamomile, chicory, chickweed, cinquefoil, fennel, ferns, frankincense, parsley, galangal, heartease, heather, heliotrope, chives, hemp, feverfew, holly, ivy, chevril, laurel, lavender, lemon (lemon grass, lemon balm), citronella, lily, tarragon, mistletoe, mugwort (poisonous), nettle, oak, orchid, pine, rose, rowan, rue, saffron, sandalwood, St. John’s Wort, thyme, vervain, wisteria, wormwood, yarrow, ylang-ylang, peony, houseleek, sage, cedar, myrrh, mint
Food and Beverages
Citrus flavors, garden fresh vegetables and fruit, curries, peppers, onions, strawberries, summer squashes, tomatoes, honey, green/leafy salads, roasted or grilled chicken/fish/pork, blueberries, apples, carrots, carrot cake, cider, cream, honey cakes, lemons, honey, pumpernickel bread, mangoes, broccoli soup, tomatoe soup, zucchini, any sun-shaped/round foods (bread, tortillas, pizzas, etc). Drinks: herbal teas, ale, mead, iced tea, carrot juice, red wine, white wine
Symbols, Associations and Decorations
Fire, torches, summer flowers, images of the sun, sun wheels, sun wreaths, sundials, statues/depicitions of earth and solar deities, Fae, dried herbs, dried flowers, fire deities, fertility deities, seashells, potpourri, baskets of flowers/herbs/fruit/vegetables, candles, blades, daisy chains, flower crowns, stone circles, drums, rattles, other musical instruments, Witches’ Ladders, feathers, fireworks, fir wood, oak wood
Activities for Litha
Lighting bonfires, bonfire leaping, processions, all night vigils, cooking, singing, feasting, herb/flower gathering and drying, crafting divining rods and wands, setting up altars, crafting protective amulets, handfastings and weddings, gathering of mistletoe in oak groves, picnicking, leaping between two fires, mistletoe (without berries, use as a protection amulet), enjoying the seasonal fruits and vegetables, richness and abundance, nature spirit/Fae communion, earth healing, divination, love and protection spells, re-dedication of faith, rites of inspiration, hiking and other outdoor activites
Crystals and Stones
All green stones (jade, malachite, emerald, green aventurine, etc), agate, Alexandrite, diamonds, clear quartz, Herkimer diamonds, fluorite, lapis lazuli, citrine, sunstone, carnelian, orange calcite, green calcite, fire agate, moonstone, pearls, tiger’s eye, yellow topaz, yellow tourmaline
Robins, wrens, hummingbirds, all summer birds, deer, fireflies, bees, dragonflies, horses, and cattle. Mythical creatures include satyrs, faeries, firebirds, dragons, thunderbirds, and manticores.
Spells and Rituals
The Summer Solstice is an excellent time for spells and rituals associated with prosperity, fertility, energy, love, protection, inspiration, good health, and healing. Many believe that it’s a good time to search for and honor the Fae.
- Charm of the Oak
- Charm for Safe Travels
- Elemental Chant
- Find a Fairy Spell
- Energy Bath
- Herbal Protection Bath
- Pet Protection Spell
- Prosperity Knot Spell
- Love Cord Spell
- Health and Vitality Spell
Other names and celebrations that mark the Summer Solstice: Midsummer, Sun Blessing, Gathering Day, Alban Hefin, Whitsuntide, Vestalia, Feast of Epona, All-Couple’s Day, and St. John’s Day