It's hard to believe that the summer solstice is here! Today marks the longest day and shortest night in the Northern Hemisphere.
What is Litha?
Litha, or Midsummer, is the celebration of the summer solstice, the sun, and the Earth's abundance. It is typically celebrated between June 19th-23rd. The name "Litha" comes from the Old English Līþa, which was used to when referring to the months of June and July.
Midsummer is one of the oldest and most widely celebrated seasons across the world. Different cultures have celebrated the solstice for centuries, using it as a day to give thanks to the sun and sun gods for the warmth, light, and abundance it has brought throughout the year.
- BONFIRES - Large bonfires were lit (often using oak as the wood to burn) along the hilltops to help strengthen the sun's energy to last through the remainder of the year. Fresh herbs would also be thrown into the fire to ward off evil spirits and feed the sun's energy.
- THE BURNING WHEEL - In Western Europe, a large wheel would be lit ablaze and rolled down a hill into a body of water. This was to symbolize the balance between fire and water and the inevitable return of the darker months to come.
- Symbols: the sun, fire, summer flowers, honey
- Themes: abundance, confidence, courage, power, strength, courage,
- Colors: red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, all vibrant colors
- Herbs: chamomile, elder, lavender, mistletoe, mugwort, roses, sunflowers, St. John's wort, verbena/vervain, yarrow
- Crystals: amber, carnelian, citrine, sunstone, tiger's eye
- Food + Drink: berries, lemonade, fresh herbs, elderflower beverages, mead, honey, honey cake
- Take a flower bath (recipe below!)
- Make midsummer crafts like sun wheels, sun catchers, and flower crowns
- Spend time in the sunshine (particularly at sunrise/sunset)
- Make sun tea
- Go berry picking
- Wildcraft some herbs
- Have a bonfire (or just light a candle)
LITHA RITUAL BATH
- 1 cup sea salt
- 4 cups brewed Midsummer Tea (equal parts lavender, calendula, and yarrow)
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 8 drops rose absolute
- 4 drops sweet orange essential oil
- 2 drops lemon essential oil
- Summer flowers (I used sunflowers and roses)
- Begin running a warm to hot bath
- Add the essential oils to the sea salt and add to the bath
- Pour in the brewed Midsummer Tea
- Top the bath's surface with your flowers.