The word "solstice" means "sun stands still". On this day the sun is in alignment with the stones at Stonehenge. Litha is the "longest" day of the year, meaning there is more daylight time on this day than on any other day of the year.
At this time the Goddess has become the Mother and is pregnant. The God is the Sun King, and at his strongest. The Oak King and Holly King meet in battle and the Oak King falls to the Holly King, thus beginning the waning part of the year and the onset of days growing shorter and colder.
Generally on Litha celebrations begin very early in the day – at sunrise. This way the full day of sunshine is used and appreciated. First fruits may be ready for harvest – especially berries, and can be gathered while the morning dew is still wet on them adding to their magickal properties.
This day was also known to the Celts as the time when the first battle between the Fir Bolgs and the Tuatha De Danaan took place. The Roman holiday was called Vestalia and was celebrated as a rekindling of the hearth fires.
Midsummer is a joyous, magickal celebration. It’s an excellent time for hand-fasting or weddings, communicating with Nature spirits and divination. MIdsummer is one of two times that the boundaries between the worlds are thin; the portals between them are open, especially at twilight. The other is Samhain.
This is the Feast of Faeries. Welcome them for they bless humans with joy and insight. In olden times people believed that Midsummer Festival bonfires had great power and that prosperity and protection could be received by jumping over them or walking between the flames of two fires placed side by side. Cold embers from fires were charms against injury and bad weather during harvests. They were placed around fields and orchards of crops to protect them and ensure abundance.
Colors of Midsummer –
Orange – Promotes courage, pride, ambition, enthusiasm, energy, friendship, communication, success, opportunities, attraction, willpower, sun, adaptability, zest for life and imagination,
Green– For abundance, growth, healing, prosperity, fertility, employment, luck, jealousy, personal appearance, neutralizes difficult situations, calming, finances, security and career.
Yellow - For obtaining joy, vitality, increasing intelligence, helping with studies, persuasion, charm, creativity, communication, mind power, sun, psychic ability, attraction, examination and tests.
Red – For passion, fire, willpower, courage, energy, strength, anger, blood, life cycle, desire and war.
Consider decorating your altar, table and home with the colors of the sun – red, orange, gold and white.
Flowers & Herbs of Midsummer –
Lavender represents happiness, healing, peace, sleep, purification, love and conscious mind.
Yarrow (shown right) aids in gaining courage, protection, love and psychic powers.
Lily of the Valley encourages happiness, mental powers, conscious mind, peace and memory.
Skullcap provides for love, fidelity and peace.
Meadowsweet signifies love, divination, peace and happiness.
Vervain is used for love, protection, purification, peace, money, youth and healing.
Oak is used for protection, health, money, healing, potency, fertility and luck. Oak leaves and acorns represent the Oak King as he battles against the Holly King. Because the Oak King will lose the battle at this time, and be laid to rest, it is appropriate to lay oak leaves and acorns on the ground or on an altar so represent the fallen King.
Rose indicates love, beauty, luck, psychic powers, protection and peace.
Violet corresponds to spiritual protection, luck, love, wishes, peace, sleep and healing.
Cedar is for healing, courage, purification, protection, money, hex-breaking, spirituality and self control.
Tangerine is used for psychic powers and mental powers.
Frankincense is used for spirituality, protection, banishing of negative entities, consecration and meditation.
St. John’s Wort (shown left)aids in good health, power, protection, strength, love, divination and happiness.
Basil encourages happiness, peace and receiving money.
Parsley grants purification, protection and fertility.
Mint is for obtaining money, love, good health and is also used for travel and protection.
Thyme is used for courage, the workings of the conscious mind and for good health.
Dragon’s Blood is a power amplifier that is also used for protection, love, banishing and potency.
Ferns are for rain making, protection, luck, riches, eternal youth, and health.
Herbs and roots harvested during Midsummer are said to be more powerful and retain their power longer. Be sure , when gathering herbs to always leave enough to continue their growth in their natural habitat. And always remember to thank the spirits and the faeries for their generosity in allowing you to take from their bounty.
Gemstones of Midsummer –
Topaz offers protection, healing, dieting, prosperity, love, emotional balance, tranquility, and creativity.
Agate grants courage, strength, love and protection.
Alexandrite bestows luck, love, spiritual transformation and joy.
Traditional foods are summer fruits, fresh vegetables, honey and mead, an alcoholic beverage made of honey, yeast, water and spices. Cold fruit and vegetable dishes are better if made a day or two before the feast and refrigerated.