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~ Also known as Midsummer, Litha, or St. Johns Day, this is the longest day of the year and the begining of summer for the northern hemisphere.
~ June 20-21st, this is one of two Solstices and is a important for our planet because at this time that the sun's rays directly hit one of two of the tropical latitude lines. June 20-21st marks the begining of the summer for the nothern hemisphere and the begining of the winter for the southern hemisphere.
~ At this time there are 24 hours of light north of the artic circle and 24 hours of dark south of the antartic circle.
~ For some the Goddess is Mother Earth while the God is the Sun King
~ This is a time of celebration, with bonfires and dancing!
~ The Goddess has grown from the Maiden she was during the Spring Equinox and is now the Mother
~ This is the time of year where crops are growing, feilds are lush and green, and babies that were born in the spring are starting to wander further away from their mothers exploring their environments.
~ For some this is known as the 'Gathering Day' where herbs were gathered and the drying process begins
~In some traditions it is now that the God impregnates the Goddess with the child that will be born during the Winter Solstice (other traditions believe that the Goddess was impregnanted during Beltane and that she is in the early stages of pregnancy during the Summer Solstice)
the following info was gathered by ShadowKitten from Pagan Forum, and is posted with her permission.
-Mark the circle with a spear. Decorate the circle with candle lanterns or candles set in earth in wide-mouthed jars. A beautiful and powerful way to create the circle space with these lights is to have participants carry the candles in a ritual procession at dusk to the ceremonial spot, circle it several times deosil, come to a standstill once a comfortable sized circle is made, and then set them down behind them. This works very well especially with large groups. Luminarias, which are candles set in sand in small paper bags, are another stunning way to create a ring of light for an evening Solstice ceremony. However, the ring of light is made, torches or large candles work well in the four quarters.
-Cover your altar with flowers and other greens. Many families place roses on their altar, as this is the Goddess flower for this time of the year. Add fruits of the season, images of the suns, sunflowers, and other symbols of the summer.
-In the centre of the circle, kindle a large bonfire of sacred woods and herbs, if your location permits. You might want to feed the fire as it rises with the dried wreath from Yule as we do each year to symbolize the peak of the Solar Year. Otherwise, set a large red candle in the centre, and surround it with oak boughs, yarrow flowers, and other sacred plants of the season growing in the area.
-Litha celebrations traditionally include bonfires to keep away bad spirits and to encourage fertility, purification, health and love. Having a bonfire in the backyard makes for a great family evening. Play drums and other instruments, sing songs, and tell stories of the sun, the Gods and heroes. Do ecstatic dancing to drums around the bonfire. Burn the remnants of your Yule tree or a Wicker Man that you've created out of dead branches tied together with cotton twine.
-It’s traditional to jump over or walk in between two purifying fires.
-Jump the balefire or cauldron for good luck. If your fire in small and your children are big, they can leap over it too!
-Dispose of those qualities that trouble you: project them into a bunch of dry twigs, paper or herbs and thrust the bundle into a cleansing fire.
-Offer a gift of lavender to the Gods in a bonfire. Pass St. John's Wort through the smoke and then hang the herb up in the house for protection.
-Try a fire divination, stare into the coals of your bonfire as it settles or look for forms in the leaping flames.
-Light a white candle and place it in front of a mirror. Say your own Litha prayer over it, and then let it burn out.
-Litha is an ideal time to reaffirm your vows to the Lord and Lady or your dedication to following the old traditions.
-Stay up all night on Solstice Eve and welcome the rising sun at dawn. You can also watch the sun set on Solstice Night and farewell the end of the longest day of the year.
-Let creativity flow! Making round, golden shapes that mimic the sun is a wonderful tradition. Make wreathes decorated with flowers and bright ribbons. Make little suns out of clay from your local craft store. Use toothpicks or chopsticks to make rays and happy faces. Make suns out of paper plates, construction paper, or paint wooden disks. The possibilities are endless and the only requirements are that they be round and that colours evoke the sun's radiant splendour. Hang them around the house afterwards.
-Make a Solar Wheel as a terrific family project - everyone can make one for their bedroom. Wind palm or grape vine into a circle, twisting as you go. Cut two short lengths of stem to be just a bit larger than the diameter of the circle and place one across the back horizontally and the other vertically crossing in back on the horizontal one and coming forward to the front of the circle to secure both, then adorn with symbols of the elementals (stone, feathers, ashes in a pouch, or a small candle, and a shell) and festoon with green and yellow ribbons. Hang in a tree outside or indoors at a reminder of the God's protection.
-Make God’s Eyes out of yarn. God's Eyes are made to celebrate the sun at the height of its power.
-Litha is a great time for faerie magic! If your older children are interested in divination, introduce them to a tarot deck with a faerie theme!
-Look for the faerie folk under an elder tree, but don't eat their food or you'll have to remain with them for seven years! (Which could be a lot of fun, but will seriously wreck any plans you may have made!)
-Help your children make a faerie shelter! All you need is a small box that is open on one end (such as a shoebox). Paint it or decorate it with ribbons and whatever you can find in the yard -- sticks, feathers, flowers, leaves. Place it outside and leave out some milk or honey for the fairies. Little kids always get very excited to find the offerings gone and the fairy house turned upside down from their wild parties. You can also leave a small gift for your child as a thank you from the fairies -- a shell, a flower, a pretty rock, or perhaps a small trinket that had been "lost" around the house (everyone knows that faeries love to play tricks).
-Leave out milk and honey as an offering to the faerie folk.
-Rub rowan on your eyelids and watch for faeries.
-Soak thyme in olive oil and then lightly anoint your eyelids to watch for faeries.
-Collect plants. Five plants were thought to have special magickal properties on Litha: Rue, Roses, St. John’s Wort, Vervain and Trefoil. In fact, in Spain Litha’s Eve is called the “Night of the Verbena (Vervain)”. St. John’s Wort was especially honoured by young maidens who picked it in the hopes of divining a future lover.
And the glow-worm came With its silvery flame, And sparkled and shone Through the night of St. John, And soon has the young maid her love-knot tied.
-Burn Wreaths of Vervain and Mugwort, which were burned in ancient times at the end of the festivals to burn away bad luck.
-Put a ring of flowers around your cauldron or around a bowl full of mugwort.
-Deck the house (especially over the front door) with Birch, Fennel, St. John’s Wort, Orpin and White Lilies.
-Tie a sprig of Rowan, a sprig of Rue, and three flowers of St. John's Wort with red thread and hang it over the door.
-Tie a bunch of Fennel with red ribbons and hang over the door for long life and protection of the home.
-Tie Vervain, Rosemary, and Hyssop with white thread and dip the tips into a bowl of spring water (you can use bottled spring water) and either sprinkle the water around the house to chase out negativity or sprinkle your tools to cleanse and purify.
-Hang a bundle of fresh herbs out to dry and use them to spice up a Litha feast of cooked summer vegetables.
-Make a Rue protection pouch out of white cotton. Add two or three sprigs of Rue, bits of whole grain wheat bread, a pinch of salt, and two star Aniseeds and hang indoors (can do one for each bedroom).
-Make amulets of protection out of herbs such as Rue and Rowan. If you make new amulets each year you can dispose of the old in the Litha fire.
-Create a pouch for psychic dreams (Mugwort and Bay leaves in a cloth of Lavender, blue, or yellow and sewn with red thread) and place under your pillow.
-Make a Witch's Ladder using three coloured yarns (red, black and white for the Triple Goddess) braided together to be three feet long. Add nine feathers all the same colour for a specific charm (such as green for money) or various colours for a more diverse charm, tie ends and hang up. Colours are red for vitality, blue for peace and protection, yellow for alertness and cheer, green for prosperity, brown for stability, black for wisdom, black and white for balance, patterned for clairvoyance, and iridescent for insight.
-Make a “Stonehenge” sandcastle at the beach. You can also make a charm to hang around your neck with a seashell.
-Draw a picture of the sun at sunrise and sunset.
-Make a Catherine Wheel, or frame of sticks and withies (slender, flexible branches) with flammable material among the spokes. At the climax of your ritual, ignite the wheel and send it rolling down a hillside into a pond or lake. (Obviously the hillside should be stone, bare earth, or covered with moist vegetation--no dry grass or underbrush!)
-Have an outdoor breakfast picnic to welcome the Solstice.
-Go to the woods or the beach and have a picnic. Pack a picnic basket full of good things to eat and spend the day playing, eating, singing and dancing.
-Go berry picking. Have the children chose their best berry and throw it back into the berry bushes as they thank the Goddess and the bushes for the fruit.
-Make a pledge to Mother Earth of something that you will do to improve the environment and then begin carrying it out.
-Create a ritual to bring healing and love to Mother Earth.
-Exchange songs, chants, and stories with others in person or through the mail.
-Play games with your children. Shadow tag, water fights and tug-of-war are traditional.
-Have a magickal gift exchange with friends and family.
-Have your children make their own "Green Man" mask. Cut eye-holes in a paper plate. Let them glue on real or construction paper leaves.
-Tell the story of the Oak King and the Holly King (if that’s what you believe).
-Have a mock battle between the Oak and Holly King. Remember that this is part of the cycle and as the wheel turns the Holly King will rise again at Winter Solstice.
-Letting go of things and people is never easy and it doesn't have to mean you're getting rid of something. It's another step towards change and growth. If you've been putting off your spring cleaning, now is a good time to do it. Give away the items that you and your children have outgrown -- toys, clothing, books. Give them to friends or donate them to charity. Just as the Sun King begins to lose his strength, the summer solstice reminds us that nothing last forever. We are part of a constant cycle of life and death. It is the Wheel of the Year.
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Last edited by roving_gypsy; June 19th, 2009 at 04:45 PM.