summer solstice has long been a time of celebration and festivity
for cultures dating back to ancient times and stretching through
the present day. For those of us on the Northern Hemisphere, this
day falls approximately on June 21st. During this time the Earth
is tilted closest to the Sun giving us greater exposure to the
Sun's light and, subsequently, the longest day of the year. The
themes of Summer Solstice are sex, love, creativity, energy, luck,
health and wishes.
comes from the Latin "sol" meaning sun, and "sistere,"
to cause to stand still. As the summer solstice draws near, the
noonday sun rises higher and higher in the sky each day. On the
day of the solstice, it rises an imperceptible amount, compared
to the day before, thus appearing to "stand still."
In the magical sense, Summer Solstice brings us to the halfway
point of the Wheel of the Year. The sun is in full reign, reaching
a peak in the sky and shedding beams of truth. The brilliance
of the sun allows us to see things clearly, banishing shadows
and releasing the past.
day has special meaning to all societies. For those who follow
Faerie Magik, this is an especially meaningful event as it is
said that all the faeries come out to celebrate this day with
all the creatures of the forest. An elaborate feast is held with
endless goblets of ale, festive music and dancing. If you're familiar
with faerie lore, you won't be surprised to learn that these Summer
Solstice parties are clothing optional and last until the wee
hours of the following morning. Shakespeare centered his faerie-packed
tale of love and trickery, A Midsummer's Night Dream, around this
the modern religions, it is the Pagan & Wiccan societies that
celebrate this day with the most passion. This holiday is most
commonly known as "Litha" (the ancient Germanic name
for Summer) and it is believed to be the time when the Sun God
is at his strongest. He is also the God of the Forrest and is
often depicted as seated at on a green wood throne. During the
time in which Christianity and Paganism was merging, images of
the Sun God wearing masks made of leaves were included in the
architectural features of many early churches. This God has become
more commonly known to modern Wiccans as The Green Man.
are at their most potent state during this time. Now is the time
to gather and dry your herbs for use during the rest of the year.
Be sure not to wait too long past Litha or the plants will begin
to seed and lose potency. Gather roots as the Moon wanes and leaves
& flowers as the Moon is waxing. Thank each plant as you harvest
it, keeping in mind our debt to Mother Earth and Her children.
many sacred stone circles found around the globe (e.g. Stonehenge)
were believed to have been built to celebrate this time. On a
practical level any agricultural society would hold this time
in very high regard. Not only does this longest day of the year
offer a welcome break, it also marks the transition from cultivation
to harvest. The significance of this day was not only practical
but also held a much deeper, spiritual meaning. If you are lucky
enough to live near a sacred stone circle plan a picnic and bring
whatever supplies needed for your individual spells and rituals.
one can create their own stone circle by selecting stones that
you are able to feel a vibration from or are otherwise attracted
to and placing them in a circle. Choose eight large stones and
place them equidistant at each spoke of the wheel. Fill in the
spaces with smaller stones. Cast your circle as you normally do
prior to performing any spellcraft.
is the time of year to write down any wishes you have and tossing
them, along with a Litha inspired offering into a well, spring,
or cauldron. For example, simply hold a small stone along with
a special feather or sprig of herbs in your right hand and meditate
on the wish (or reasons to be thankful). Once you have filled
up the stone with your meditation, toss it with intention into
the water. If a cauldron was used, empty the contents into a stream
or other body of running water when the spell is complete.
has long been a time for unadulterated joy and pleasure. Lengthy
and detailed scripted rituals seem to contradict the spirit of
this season. Rather, we should celebrate with intention but with
an open heart. Focus on how grateful one should be that the Sun
continues His tireless journey each year providing so much to
all of us. Pick a few themes (below) and simply set out to have
a great time. Rise early with the Sun and plan a bonfire for later
that night to further lengthen this day. In other words, party
'till you drop!
following themes and recipes are utilized in Pagan ceremonies,
rituals, and spells:
- basil, chamomile, daisy, elder, pine, St. John's wort, tyme,
yarrow, frankincense, fennel, lavender, and lily
oils and incense - frankincense, lemon, lavender, sandalwood,
lotus, jasmine, rose, wisteria, and myrrh
- yellow, white, red, blue, green, tan
- anything reminiscent of the sun (yellows, reds, oranges), dried
herbs, potpourri, fruits, summer flowers
- any green stone (e.g. emerald)
- mead, fresh fruits and veggies, lemonade, cookies and cakes
decorated to honor the Sun, and of course plenty of ale
- Litha is the perfect time for any magick but is especially good
for Animal Protection and Marriage & Vow Renewal spells
Incense - 2 parts Sandalwood, 1 part Mugwort, 1 part Chamomile,
1 part Gardenia petals, several drops of Rose oil, several drops
of Lavender oil, several drops of Yarrow oil
Honey Butter - 2 Tablespoons grated orange zest, 3 Tablespoons
confectioner's sugar, ½ cup unsalted butter, softened,
1 - 2 Tablespoons honey, Combine ingredients and chill until ready
to eat. Yum!
Honey Mead - This recipe can be considered cheating but if you've
ever tried to make honey mead at home, you'll appreciate this
recipe's simplicity. First heat 1 part water with 1 part wildflower
honey until the mixture is smooth and the honey's completely incorporated.
Sprinkle some rose petals into the mixture and let it cool. Strain
the mixture (optional). Mix 2 parts honey water with 1 part grain
alcohol and serve chilled over ice. (Alternatively, mix 1 part
honey water with 1 part vodka).
may want to try a few activities at this time as well, such as
making a Witch's Ladder by braiding three strands of red, black
and white yarn into a three foot length. Weave nine feathers of
various colors into the braid and hang up in your home. Use feathers
of green for money, white for balance, black for wisdom, etc.
Here is a fun and rather disturbing Summer Solstice recipe:
stick of butter
10 oz. bag marshmallows
5 cups corn flakes
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons green food coloring
1 cup M&M's plain chocolate candies
margarine in large saucepan. Add marshmallows and cook over low
heat, stirring constantly until melted and mixture is syrupy.
Remove from heat. Add vanilla and food color. Mix. Add corn flakes
and M&Ms and mix until well coated and bright green. Drop
from a tablespoon on a piece of waxed paper and cool the globs.
Jennifer Bones is a long time practitioner of the Nature / Pagan
religion. Her writings span from spiritual fiction to historic
studies of women's issues.
is owner and manager of her current website: http://goddessgiftshop.com