Summer Solstice June 20th,
Also see: performing the Traditional Ritual
Litha, occurs when the Sun enters zero degrees Cancer.
Known as Midsummer in many cultures, it is the longest day of the year and the shortest night. In England, June 20th is “The Day of Cerridwen and Her Cauldron”; Northern Europe is “The Day of the Green Man”; Italian Strega Summer Fest or “La Festa dell’Estate”; other names include Alban Heruin (Druids), Alban Hefin (Anglo-Saxon Tradition), Sun Blessing, Gathering Day (Welsh), Whit Sunday, Whitsuntide, Vestalia (Ancient Roman), the Feast of Epona (Ancient Gaulish), All-Couple’s Day (Greek), and in Ireland this day is dedicated to the faery goddess Aine of Knockaine.
Italy hold festivals for up to three days, with fireworks and concerts. In Turin the city stops work for two days and people from the surrounding areas come to dance around the bonfire in the central square.
In Romania, the Midsummer celebrations are named Drăgaica or Sânziene. Drăgaica is celebrated by a dance performed by a group of 5-7 young girls of which one is chosen as the Drăgaica. She is dressed as a bride, with wheat wreath, while the other girls, dressed in white wear a veil with bedstraw flowers. Midsummer fairs are held in many Romanian villages and cities. The oldest and best known midsummer fair in Romania is the Drăgaica fair, held in Buzău between 10 and 24 June every year.
Norway, In most places the main event is the burning of a large bonfire. In parts of Norway a custom of arranging mock marriages, both between adults and between children, is still kept alive.
The Celts celebrate the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun’s energy. Midsummer is thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear. To thwart them, Pagans celebrate with protective garlands of herbs and flowers, St. Johns Wort being most popular.
The Chinese mark the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light. Summer solstice ceremony celebrates the earth, the feminine, and the yin forces. It complements the winter solstice which celebrates the heavens, masculinity and yang forces.
As the Sun enters Cancer, the water sign, this is a time for you to collect water for your altar and spellwork. Perform ritual blessings on an annual supply, gather sea water and rain water from electrical storms for its potent energies at this time.
This is traditionally when you harvest magical and medicinal herbs, which are maturing for their virgin cuttings. Use a curved boline or scythe by the light of the Moon to harvest. Enchant your herbs and roots with a charm. It’s proper to leave an offering for the rest of the plant, and try not to harvest more than 1/3 to keep herbs healthy and vigorous.
Red Herbs: Cinquefoil; Galangal; Mugwort; Patchouli; Verbena
Stone correspondence: Emerald, Jade, Tiger’s Eye, and Lapus Lazuli
Day correspondence: Strength; Goal achievement; Obtain Desire
Destination Planet correspondence: Mars (masculine influence)