Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Celebrating Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice is also known as Litha. This is the time when the Sun God reaches his peak (literally the Sun's apex), and it is also a time when the Goddess shows the fullness and abundance of her pregnancy. It's not a fertility festival in that it's not about sex, but it IS about life, and fullness, and it is a time when we begin to gather the earliest harvest--usually herbs. This time of year is also fishing season.

While many handfastings (similar to betrothals or 'trial marriages') are performed at Beltane, the more serious, permanent marriages are commonly entered into at Litha. As put by one author, the playfulness of Beltane escalates into passion at Midsummer [source]. Thus the Honey Moon, newlywed honeymoons (and mead) are traditional parts of this festival.

In Christian tradition, midsummer (usually June 24) is St John's Day (John the Baptist, Jesus' cousin who was six months older). This is a great time to celebrate baptism, committing oneself to God, or a renewal of those covenants. For those who are LDS and believe that the Aaronic Priesthood was restored through John, then this could be a good time to celebrate the priesthood, including the priesthood holders in our lives (convenient how it's so close to Father's Day huh?).

The God in his wild form (as the Greenman or Horned God) is actually strikingly similar to John the Baptist in some ways, both living in the wilderness, at one with nature, and subsisting on wild foods.

Fairies are also abroad at Litha.

  • Sun colors--red, orange, and yellow
  • The Greenman, Horned God, Pan (god of nature), satyrs, fairies
  • firebird/phoenix, dragon

  • early harvest berries, vegetables, or fruits
  • food cooked outside--grilled or cooked in a fire
  • herbs 
  • herbal teas
  • honey or mead
  • fish (the salmon are running here)
  • bread or cookies in sun shapes
  • anything yellow, orange, round, or otherwise sun-like

  • gather and dry herbs
  • hold a BBQ or bonfire with friends
  • go camping
  • go on a picnic
  • talk about baptism
  • swim or play in water (particularly rivers) in mindfulness of baptism
  • talk about priesthood
  • give priesthood blessings to each family member
  • go wildcrafting (collecting wild plants for domestic use, whether as food, medicine, or decoration). For example, collect dandelions and make chains from the blossoms, and/or make medicinal tea from the roots.
  • get up at sunrise and stay up till sunset, enjoying the longest day of the year


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