What is the Summer Solstice?
The Summer Solstice takes place between June 20-23 in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the longest day of the year, occurring when the sun reaches the highest point in the sky. This day marks the beginning of summer with the sun at its fullest power. After the solstice, the days will begin to grow shorter.
What is Litha?
Litha, also known as Midsummer, is the pagan holiday honoring the sun and fire. Pagan celebrations during this holiday have themes of strength, growth, success and wealth. Litha also celebrates the abundance of nature and honors sacred bodies of water. The symbols of Litha are the sun, roses, sunflowers, honeybees, lightning bugs, sand and water. The colors of this holiday include yellow, green, gold and red.
Ways to Celebrate
Greet the Dawn
Many traditions greet the rising sun the morning of the summer solstice. Set your alarm to wake up with the sunrise. If possible, spend a few moments outside to soak up the sun. Take in the energy of Litha while reading or repeating these affirmations:
“I am as strong and energetic as the summer sun. I believe in myself and what I am capable of doing.”
“I deserve to feel happiness, contentment and joy in what I have and what I have done.”
“I am filled with light, moving in the direction I need to move, and following the path I am meant to walk.”
Traditional celebrations included large bonfires, usually on the sundown of Midsummer’s Eve. Bonfires are a great activity to gather friends or family. You can tell stories, roast marshmallows, or dance around the fire. Write down an obstacle or problem on a piece of paper and surrender your problem to the flames. If you don’t have a safe place to make a bonfire, you can substitute with candles, sparklers, battery-powered candles, or even an image of a fire. Remember to practice fire safety—never leave a fire or candle unattended, keep water nearby, and make sure to keep a safe distance from the flames.
Day at the Beach
Some pagan traditions included traveling to sacred wells or other bodies of water on the day of the solstice. This was a time for healing and to honor the gift of water. We are lucky in Michigan to be surrounded by lakes. Honor the gift of water by taking a day trip to a beach with friends or family. Pack a lunch with fresh fruits and vegetables. Play beach games including ring toss, volleyball, or frisbee. Cool off by jumping and swimming in the water. Take time to relax by soaking up the sun or reading a book.
If you can’t make it to the beach, bring the beach to your home. Soak up the sun outside and cool off in a sprinkler or with a water balloon fight. Listen to summer-themed music while playing traditional beach games. No matter what you choose to do, take this time to have fun with family or friends.
Litha is the perfect time for faerie magic, as the veil between our world and the faerie world is thin. Faeries or the Fae Folk are mythical beings that exist in a variety of different cultures. There are many different types of faeries including brownies, pixies, leprechauns, elves, devas and gnomes. Faeries are typically tricksters, so be careful what you ask for.
Firefly Wish: Fireflies are a symbol of faeries and fire. Gently catch a firefly on your finger. Make a wish and gently blow the firefly away into the night.
Faerie Picnic: Faeries are said to be drawn to sweet things, including food. Pack a picnic with faerie-themed treats including honey, milk, cake, cookies or bread. Find a quiet spot in nature to enjoy your faerie treats.
Daisy Fortune: Use a daisy to determine if your crush loves you or not. Pick a flower, preferably a daisy, and hold it in one hand. Pull off one petal at a time, saying “they love me” or “they love me not,” with each petal. The last petal pulled off will determine if your crush loves you.