All About Litha

The Midsummer Sabbat

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Image by Peter Cade/Iconica/Getty Images

The gardens are blooming, and summer is in full swing. Fire up the barbeque, turn on the sprinkler, and enjoy the celebrations of Midsummer! Also called Litha, this summer solstice Sabbat honors the longest day of the year. Take advantage of the extra hours of daylight and spend as much time as you can outdoors!

Rituals and Ceremonies

Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Litha, but the focus is nearly always on celebrating the power of the sun.

It's the time of year when the crops are growing heartily and the earth has warmed up. we can spend long sunny afternoons enjoying the outdoors, and getting back to nature under the long daylight hours.

Here are a few rituals you may want to think about trying -- and remember, any of them can be adapted for either a solitary practitioner or a small group, with just a little planning ahead.

  • Tool Recharging Ritual: If you've got magical tools, use the power and energy of the sun to give them a little boost at Litha.
  • Prayers for Litha: Add these simple prayers into your summer solstice rituals this year.
  • Seven Ways to Use Beach Magic: Are you headed to the beach this summer? Take advantage of all of the magic it has to offer!

Traditions, Folklore and Customs

Interested in learning about some of the history behind Litha? Here's some background on Midsummer celebrations - learn who the gods and goddesses of summer are, how they've been honored throughout the centuries, and about the magic of stone circles!

  • Litha History: Let's look at the history behind the celebrations of the summer solstice.
  • Deities of the Summer Solstice: Many cultures have honored gods and goddesses of the sun - let's look at some of the deities associated with the Litha season.
  • Litha Folklore and Customs: Be sure to read up on customs and traditions of the midsummer season.
  • Setting up Your Litha Altar: Are you preparing your household altar for Litha? Here are some tips to inspire you.
  • Litha Altar Photo Gallery: See what some of our readers have done with their Litha altars.
  • The Oak King vs. the Holly King: Learn about the seasonal legend of the battle between the Oak King and the Holly King.
  • Germanic Pagans and Aerra Litha: The early Germanic Pagans celebrated a summer festival called Aerra Litha.
  • The Romans Honor Juno and Vesta: In ancient Rome, summer was the season to honor two goddesses, Vesta and Juno.
  • The Vestalia Celebration: The Vestalia was the Roman festival honoring Vesta, the hearth goddess.
  • Ra, the Sun God: In ancient Egypt, Ra was the powerful god of the sun.
  • Sun Magic, Myth and Folklore: There's a lot of solar mythology and legend out there - let's look at some of the folklore around the world.
  • Sun Worship: Many cultures have worshiped the sun as part of their religious practice.
  • The Sun Dance: Let's look at the history of the Native American sun dance. 
  • Stone Circles: These monolithic structures are found all over - but what do they mean?
  • Sacred Springs and Holy Wells: In many places, springs and wells are considered sacred, and associated with the gods.

Handfasting Season is Here!

June is a traditional time for weddings, but if you're Pagan or Wiccan, a Handfasting ceremony may be more appropriate. Read on to find out the origins of this custom, how you can have a fantastic ceremony, selecting a cake, and some great ideas on gifts for your guests!

Crafts and Creations

As Litha approaches, you can decorate your home (and keep your kids entertained) with a number of easy craft projects. Celebrate the sun's energy with an elemental garden, a fiery incense blend, and a magic staff to use in ritual!

  • Create an Elemental Garden: Set up a garden with a theme based upon four elements - earth, air, fire, and water.
  • Sunflower Candle Ring: Sunflowers are the perfect summer solstice flower! Use a few to decorate a candle ring.
  • Midsummer fire incense: Blend up this incense combination for your Litha rituals and celebrations.
  • Summer of Love Incense Blend: Try this simple summer incense blend made from herbs that celebrate love.
  • Handfasting Basket: Combine thirteen blessings in a basket for friends who are being handfast, as a gift for their magical day.
  • Make a Set of Ogham Staves: Use the Celtic Ogham alphabet for a bit of summer divination.
  • Make a Magic Staff: Many Pagans use a staff in ritual - here's how to craft your own.
  • Stone Circle Sundial: Litha is when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. Make a backyard sundial to see where the sun is traveling!
  • Lavender Dream Pillow: Stitch up a simple dream pillow stuffed with lavender, for restful sleep in the summer.
  • Litha Blessing Besom: Decorate a besom with herbs and other symbols of blessings for a simple craft project.
  • Make a Summer Solstice Herb Pouch: Use these herbs in a pouch for a bit of summer magic.

Feasting and Food

No Pagan celebration is complete without a meal to go along with it. For Litha, celebrate with foods that honor the fire and energy of the sun. Enjoy light summery snack wraps, some fiery grilled salmon, spicy and sweet candied ginger, and more.

  • Lemon Balm Tea: Lemon balm is blooming all over at Litha! Use fresh leaves to brew up a batch of sun tea.
  • Savory Snack Wraps: If you've got a backyard shindig planned this summer, roll up some savory wraps as a snack.
  • Fresh Fruit Fennel Salad: Harvest fresh greens and fennel at Litha, and add some fruit for a delicious and light summer salad.
  • Fiery Grilled Salmon: Feast on the salmon of knowledge as you enjoy the solstice season.
  • Grilled Summer Veggies: Fire up the grill, throw on some fresh veggies, and dig in!
  • Candied Ginger: Capture the heat of the summer sun with a bit of candied ginger!
  • Brew a Batch of Midsummer Mead: Try some of these great recipe tips to brew your own mead at midsummer.