On June 21, Witches celebrate one of the eight Great Sabbaths, Litha. It is the festival of the summer solstice - the blossoming of life and the green, the longest day and shortest night of the year.
On this day, God is at the peak of his powers - from a youth he has turned into the man. He is seating on a wooden throne covered with green, while the Goddess is pregnant with new life. She holds his hand and smiles at this world. It is a day of the joy and fullness of life when night retreats for the last time to give the way to the bright sunshine.
But this holiday also has a grim side - the wheel of the year turns to a darker time. After Litha, the God and the Goddess will slowly fade and lose their powers, and the nights will become longer and colder. Only on Yule (the winter solstice), when the night seems almost to overtake the day it will lose again in a battle with the Sun. This holiday is widely popular around the world and celebrated in many different countries. It is known by various names: Alban Herween, Harvest Day, St. John's Day, Mother's Night, Summer Solstice Day.
The central symbol of Litha is fire, which gives strength and power to the sun. Traditionally, it was lit on the tops of the highest hills. As darkness falls, the fire receives the purifying and healing magical powers. The men and women, boys and girls, and even children jumped over the fires - and the higher the fire is, the greater effect it has the more vitality one receives.
The water is another important symbol of Litha. It was believed that in the daytime when the light of the sun reaches the rivers and lakes, it has healing powers and cleanses from negative energy.
The first sunbeam on the Summer Solstice was considered the most important moment of the celebration and was revered as sacred. By the way, the purpose of many stone circles and megalithic structures in Europe, Scandinavia, and even in the United States and Canada are connected with the dawn in the day of Litha.
Different herbs gain a magic power on the summer solstice. St. John's wort and other golden midsummer flowers are a symbol of the holiday. They bring back fertility, restore strength, and attract love. They are used to decorate a home or altar, or simply to make a wreath, or an accessory, that will be your talisman throughout the year until the next Midsummer.
Rituals on Litha are dedicated to life, the Sun, love, and prosperity. On this day, go to nature, gather herbs, praise life in its full bloom, arrange dances on the glade or the bank of ponds, bathe in a river or pond, and at night jump over a fire and burn healing herbs. God and the Goddess are happy, why not share their joy.
If you are celebrating Litha alone, take a walk to the nearest park or forest, pick some flowers, and let the sunshine down your body. Buy or pick by yourself some ripe berries and fresh fruits to eat in front of the altar. In the evening, you light candles, a fireplace, just or put dry herbs in a kettle and light them, and smoke your house to clear it from all negative energy of the last year. Do not forget to pamper yourself with goodies and you can even arrange some jumping over a fire - put a large candle in the center of the room and hop over its flame.
Flowers and herbs for Litha: chamomile, dill, elderberry, fennel, lavender, frankincense, St. John's wort, verbena, rose, myrrh, pine.
Stones: amber, carnelian, citrine, golden beryl, sunstone.
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