Although it's thirteen days away, I am getting ready to celebrate Litha. As a Witch, a Pagan, a mother, and a woman, the Summer Solstice is an important day for me. On the morning of June 21, my best friend and I will get up, put on our favorite "witchy" clothes, put braids and flowers in our hair, and head out to my backyard. Once outside, we will play Celtic music and dance to welcome the Sun as She rises on her last dominating day of the year. At dusk I will paint the sunset, hoping to capture the magic of the last light of the longest day. Litha is a day to celebrate your blessings, to enjoy the Sun, to honor your favorite Sun god and goddess. I will honor Lugh, the Master of Skills, and thank him for blessing me with the courage to paint, and the talent (albeit small amount) I have. I will ask him to shine rays of inspiration upon me, so that I may learn and grow in the craft of painting. I will thank Anu for my son, and for my abilities as a mother. I will honor her by tending to my flowers, and by taking my son to the beach so we may both enjoy the realms of land and sea, both of which Anu rules over. I will end the day with a ritual honoring Áine, asking her for blessings and honoring her with offerings of honey and herbs.
By Amanda Wilson
Mother Sun, shining down
You are the cure for every frown.
You are strong and regal and brightLike Macha, with invigorating Light,
and Áine, whose simple touch can heal.
Majestic and fiery Star
Your life is guiding from afar
On this day we honor you
and give thanks for the blessings you imbue.
Today is the longest daya Liminal time when the Good Folk to come out and playI hope that I make you proudas I celebrate, dance and sing out loud.
Until the time you sink down low,
I will make the most of this day you know.
Until you fall below the hill,
Only then I will be still.
Wiccans across the Northern Hemisphere will recount the tale of the battle between the Holly King and Oak King. The Oak King rules the light half of the year, while the Holly King reigns over the darkness. On Yule, the Oak King is reborn, stronger than ever, to reclaim his throne. I am not Wiccan, but I still find the lore to be fascinating and beautiful.
The Wheel turns so fast. I feel like just a few weeks ago I was celebrating Beltane, and only a month ago I was performing divination on Samhain. My son is growing too fast, but I'm looking forward to including him in my celebrations throughout the years to come. I will teach him the Craft, about my beliefs, and the Christian beliefs of our family. Well, some of them. The bits about a man owning his wife, or the section saying the wife must obey her husband I will leave out. I don't want him to think he is superior just because he is a man. I want him to grow up appreciating life, soaking in every blessing as the sand absorbs water as the ocean heaves salty waves upon the land.
The Summer Solstice is a time to plan for the future as well. In ancient times, the Celts would harvest the summer fruits, and perform rituals to ensure the fall harvest was bountiful - the clan would starve throughout the winter if it wasn't. They would be stitching up any holes in their heavy cloaks, making any necessary repairs to their homes so the walls could withstand the harsh winter, they would be planning and preparing for the Darkness that falls as the Sun disappears behind the hills on the evening of the Solstice. This Darkness gradually overtakes the days - the nights grow longer and colder, and the days shorter, the sun growing weaker each day.
As the Veil thins, I can feel the energy in the air changing. It is more and more charged - electrified almost - as each Sabbat approaches. Of course, some are more noticeable than others. Samhain and Beltane are the strongest, as the Veil is all but gone on those holidays. Litha is a day when the Good Neighbors are said to make themselves visible. Some suggest taking the time to make an offering and ask for help with spells from the Fae on this day. My advice: unless you work with the Good Folk regularly, don't ask them for anything. Leave them an offering and acknowledge their presence respectfully with a small offering. You could even invite them to your Circle, but I don't recommend asking for favors unless you plan to continue to work with them. They will know if you are only giving an offering to buy a favor, versus respectfully acknowledging them and wishing them well on a day when communicating with them is easier. I've only read a few books on the matter, so I'm no expert. But from what I've read, the Fae (who don't like to be called that btw - call them The Good Folk or Good Neighbors) are easily offended, and you DO NOT want to do that. I plan to put out some milk and honey and wish them a Happy Solstice. I will also spruce up the rock garden I made for them on Beltane - I'll probably add glitter or some shiny bells. Faeries love shiny things.
Litha is the longest day of the year, some say the sun is at its highest peak and its light illuminates all you have accomplished so far. It is a time to be grateful for, and cast spells to acquire more prosperity. Even though I only have $6 to my name, I will not be casting any money spells on June 21. Instead, I will be giving thanks for everything I have: my son, my home, the food in my fridge, the grassy backyard where my beautiful flowers are growing. I will give thanks for the money I do get, and that it is enough to keep a roof over my head, food in my son's belly and diapers on his bum. I will give thanks for the times I was given help when I didn't have enough money to get gas or to buy milk. Abundance and prosperity are all around, and when you are truly grateful for what you have, you will be blessed with more. I am confident that I will sell something on FineArtAmerica, or that I will start earning more than a few cents a week on Hubpages. It will happen, eventually. And until then, I won't let my poverty get in the way of my happiness, and I won't let it distract me from how prosperous I am when it comes to love and blessings.
Around noon, I plan to go to the beach, where land, sea, and sky meet. I will say a prayer thanking and honoring the Sun. I will recite the poem I wrote, Mother Sun, then I will say a short prayer to Lugh, the Sun God and Master of Skills, and another prayer to Macha and Aine, two sun goddesses I work closely with. I will pray not only for myself but for all of my Pagan sisters and brothers.