Litha – Symbolism


ABOUT LITHA:

The Summer Solstice occurs when the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer, hence this is the date the sun also enters the astrological sign of Cancer. It is the longest day of the year, the day that the sun overpowers the darkness, and it is this source of energy that we use in our magic with themes of power and protection. Litha is a celebration of the bounty of Summer. There are many flowers, the fields have been seeded, the plants are growing, some early crops may be harvested but most of all there is a promise of the larger harvest to come in both the field and trees.

The youthful energy of Beltane and Spring have mellowed into maturity; emotional maturity and love now matches the sexual maturity or lust of the earlier season. If Beltane was the lustful courtship of the Lord and Lady, this is Their wedding. Their passion is no less, but has increased in depth. Love is now their guiding force, and lust is merely the spice. Traditionally, Litha is a time sacred to the Sun King, for this is when He is at His strongest. With this power comes the heat of Summer, the promise of fruit and grain, and the great harvest to come. His potency ensures the continuity of life in the face of the oncoming darkness. He is ever-living, ever-returning with virility, fertility and strength. He guides us in our own personal growth, just as He guides the crops and creatures of Earth. His marriage with the Goddess now makes Him Her protector as well as her lover. He is a full grown man, and due to the merry making at Beltane, a Father!

At Litha, the God can be seen in many different traditions and myths. In the Oak King/Holly King myth, the Sun King has two separate personalities or even different entities. The Sun God, the Oak King, has reached his peak, but as the rhythm of Nature continues, the God goes through another transformation. The beginning of the sun’s decline at Litha is symbolized by the re-birth of the Holly King, the Spirit of Winter. Just as the Oak King was reborn at Yule, during the height of the Winter King’s reign, the Holly King is now reborn during the height of the Sun God’s reign. There is a battle between the Oak King and the newly born Holly King, and in this battle the blood of the Oak King is shed. However, it is not all for naught, as this sacrifice nurtures the fields and brings forth the crops that will soon be harvested. He gives His life’s energy to warm the Goddess’s earthly body, and to make the crops grow.

His light and strength help to provide us with our Three Harvests, our much needed sustenance. So, we celebrate and honour Him on this day, knowing though, that His power will slowly diminish. The God is the partner of the Goddess, bringing abundance to all of nature. He is Lugh, the Sun God, and He is the ancient power of life, provider for His people.

The Earth Mother is also at Her finest at this time. The Goddess is becoming Mother, the seed that was planted earlier in her womb is growing with the Son/Sun. She blossoms just as the Earth blossoms with abundance. She basks in the light of her lover and grows with child each day. The land is glowing with flowers and ripening fruit as the Goddess glows and ripens as well. Like the animals and plants, we feed off this warmth.

Mid-Summer is said to be a mystical time when the forces of magick are increased and faeries roam our world. Faeries, elves and sprites are purported to be most easily seen at Mid-Summer, dancing in faery rings. Much like Samhain, on this night the veils between the world of Fae and the world of mortals are once more thin. This is the night when mortals have strange experiences, and when faeries troop across the land. Litha is a “day outside of time”, and the strange experiences one might have are likely to be comic, harmless, or even beneficial. Litha has an “upside down” quality about it – things are often reversed or mixed up. It is a time for merriment and the making of wishes.

Litha is considered one of the best times to perform magicks of all kinds and is considered a time of great magickal power. Especially effective magick and spells at this time include the performance of those for love, healing and prosperity. This is also a very good time to perform blessings and protection spells for your pets or other animals. You may want to choose to bless your pet and perhaps present him or her with a special gift.

This is a good time for clearing away non-useful energies, and establishing a stable base. Litha is about joy. It is about being completely alive, as the Earth is at its zenith. Everywhere you look, it is green and life is abundant.

FOODS:

All early Summer fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, lemons, oranges, squashes, honey cakes, red wine, ale and fruit juices

CLOTHING:

Weave flowers in your hair, and wear colours such as green, blue, white, red, yellow, gold and tan

PLANTS AND HERBS:

Oak, mistletoe, frankincense, lemon, sunflowers, saffron, ylang-ylang, chamomile, fennel, hemp, lavender, pine, roses, St John’s Wort, wild thyme, wisteria, verbena, myrrh. Traditionally, herbs gathered on this day are extremely powerful.

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