Written by Algoth’s Grove
“The height of power is felt in so many moments throughout our lives. Litha presents this moment each year and provides us with another chance to rip off the old, face the new in battle and give over to a better being of self.”
Sabbat: Litha, Samradh, Alban Hefin, Aerra Litha, Mother Night
Day: 22nd December 2019
Litha is power. The zenith of the old self and the coming of age of the new self. Through the battle of the two, the younger, more evolved self will inevitably win. This youthful newcomer will rule through the next two harvests and through the cold harsh winter months. It is through this cycle that happens over and over again, through death and life again, that we find our wisdom growing. We see this very same pattern in the mating and fighting dance of the bull. The bulls will fight during this time and it is usually the younger bull that will win. Similarly, in Wicca, it is the Holly King who is younger and stronger than the Oak King and who will win the battle and rule the coming months whilst the Oak King, wounded and dying, will eventually have to traverse the underworld.
The whole point of these festivities, such as the fire leaping, wreath wearing and re-enactments of the battle between the light and dark halves of the year is to integrate the laws and the journey of nature within ourselves. We are tied to her ebb and flow far more than many would like to admit. Litha or the Midsummer Solstice is not only about the fact that the sun is the strongest in the sky at this time, that the day will be the longest in the year, but that we are strong, we are filled with our own strength, we recognise our own inner power, but we must shed the old. We must keep the new vibrant strength and we must decide what will journey with us, and what must eventually be placed into the ground at Mabon along with the Oak King.
The Sun gods, sun Goddess and fire spirits are venerated during Litha. Not only do Wiccans celebrate Litha which is Midsummer, but so do many other cultures such as the Asatru (Midsummerblot), the Witches (Midsummer), Finnish (Ukon juhla), Chinese (Feminine Celebrations of Earth and of the power of Yin.), Egyptian (the coming of Sirius) and of course even the native American Sioux tribe would be dancing around cottonwood trees to perform a blessing and communion between heaven and earth.
The sun is not only the giver of life but also the remover of all sorrow. Many traditions view the sun as female, instead of masculine like the Wiccan tradition sees it. It is interesting to note that the conservative feminine approach of the Chinese would reflect this in the sun who is seen to be outgoing and life giving. It does not matter how you see the sun, or how you connect with it. Litha or Midsummer is the time of worshipping every life-giving attribute of the sun within and the sun without. This time is also the moment when we cross into the next stage of life, teenagers become adults and with that many different traditions provided various tasks to children to see if they were wise and strong enough to be considered an adult. Activities included collecting specific wood and then setting this bonfire alight, jumping it and being successful in the activity. Girls were allotted certain midsummer herbs to collect and if successful they would be asked to create a medicine; this would see them fit enough for adulthood.
The amount of work around Litha is extreme. We have one last push before the harvest, one last vibrancy left to carry through the tasks and the work that we need to before we must begin preparing for the cold. The day on Litha is the longest, but it is also after this that the days will begin to wane. This does not mean that you do. Your new self, the collection of strongest attributes that you have chosen to keep will carry you through the cold months and the harsh winter. In South Africa we do not have clear seasonal breaks and we hardly ever witness the snows of winter, but the cycles, when carefully monitored, are as clear as ever. It is important that you work on yourself this Litha. Know what you will keep carrying into the harvests, what you will discard and sacrifice unto the Oak King as he too traverses into the underworld as well.
Below are some beautiful meditations to use at Litha. If you are solitary or in a coven or group, make sure to make your gratitude lists and give them up to the gods over a candle or the bonfire. Surround yourself with everything that makes you happy, grateful and simply ecstatic to be alive. Revel in the power of the sun, and the life force within you. Call up your inner power from your solar plexus chakra and empower your being and your life, use that energy to have the Litha touch, and energise your life into everything you want it to be. The actions you take now will either grow your harvests, and ensure that you have a brilliant winter, or they will deplete them. Put in the effort and the effort will pay off!
Merry Litha to all you beautiful Southern Hemisphere souls!