How to Celebrate Litha (Midsummer)
Pagan Midsummer Celebrations
GAbove the Pagan wheel of the year is represented and it is now Midsummer, or as it's also known as "Litha". The summer solstice, that marks the longest day of the year.
During this period, the Pagans who choose to celebrate it eat food consisting of fresh garden fruits and vegetables prepared into a variety of dishes.
Green vegetables represent nature deities like Gaia.
Yellow, orange, and red vegetables represent the colors of the sun and the energy given to us by the longest day of the year.
Foods that are made using the power of the sun such as sundried tomatoes or sunflower seeds are also a good addition to the table.
Herbs such as Mugwort, Vervain, Rose, Honeysuckle, Chamomile, Oak, Lily, Ivy, Lavender, Elder, Fern, Yarrow, Wild Thyme, Daisy, and Carnation are used both for ritualistic purposes, in cooking or as teas, and are also a lovely idea to gift someone during Litha.
Traditional incenses burned consist of lemon, myrrh, pine, rose, and wisteria.
If you have an oil burner or diffuser, you can easily make your own Litha infused oil to spread a lovely fragrance in your home.
I usually fill the ingredient area with some water, then drip essential oils and other herbs and ingredients into the water. For Litha, I recommend rosemary, lavender, thyme, oak, and pine.
The sacred gemstone for this celebration is the bright green Emerald. Emerald’s element is water and the chakra is heart. Emerald’s astronomical signs are Taurus, Gemini, and Virgo.
This stone symbolizes love, renewal, courage, abundance, good fortune, fertility, health, intelligence, harmony, creativity, inspiration, psychic ability and promotes compassion, loyalty, improved memory, visions, and connections to the spirit realm.
What to Do
According to tradition, people would stay up all night on Midsummers eve to watch and welcome the sun when it rose. Bonfires were lit on hilltops and sacred places in honor of the sun. The bonfire at Litha is supposed to represent a reflection of the sun when it’s peaking in strength. The chosen type of wood to burn is usually oak and fragrant herbs can be scattered on the fire as a sacrifice. The coal from the bonfire can be scattered on fields or other places for a good harvest and a blessing.
Getting the house ready for midsummer
Cleaning and decorating the house is an important part of midsummer. In the north houses and public areas are decorated with leaves and branches, especially birch. Flowers are placed both indoors and outside to decorate for the festivities.
The veil between worlds
They say the veil between our world and the supernatural world is very thin during midsummer, especially midsummers night. Thre are many tales about extraordinary things happening during this magical time. I'd like to include some traditions from nordic midsummer celebrations that have been in my life since childhood and make litha extra special.
Healing herbs are extra magical and potent during midsummers eve and night, go alone or with company and collect herbs both for healing, magical or other purposes. These can be dried and used at another time.
They say hidden treasures surface during this magical time so be on the lookout when you're out as you might stumble over somethign precious, but do it in silence, because if you make noise they will disappear forever.
Midsummer is also a celebration of fertility and love and on midsummers eve there is a way to make the love of your life appear in your dreams. Before going to bed, go out and pick 7 different flowers and place underneath your pillow and you will dream of the one you'll marry. This must be done in silence, if you say something the spell is broken and you'll have to wait until next year to try again.
Another thing to do is to decorate yourself and your loved ones with flower wreaths for litha.
Back to Nature
Go alone or take your friends and family out for a walk or hike in nature. You can collect seasonal plants and herbs for an altar, to burn or to decorate the dinner table with. Or simply just go out in nature to enjoy the sights and sounds, maybe try some nature meditation should you find a nice and suitable spot for this.
While the bonfire is burning, gather a drum circle, play music or tell stories. Share and be good to others, always welcome people to your circle if they seem to want to join.
If you ever planned to visit Stonehenge, the summer Solstice is a good time to do so. Many people gather on Midsummer’s eve, form drum circles, light bonfires, share food, unite, and celebrate till dawn of the longest day of the year together and watch the sunrise.
Be kind to others.
During the summer solstice, it’s nice to spend time with your family and friends, but even if you’re not you can try and spread love by being nice to strangers, helping your neighbors, or giving someone a gift as long as you don’t expect any gifts in return. It’s about being selfless and putting other people before yourself. Invest in your relationships the way you water your plants, be the water and help them grow.