Litha, also known as Midsommar or Summer Solstice, is celebrated each June 20-22. Litha is the longest day (and shortest night) each year when the sun reaches it’s highest point and begins to retreat in preparation for Autumn and Winter. Litha is beloved for embodying the warmth and joy of the season through balmy nights, long afternoons, and an abundance of herbs and flowers at the zenith of their growing season. The seeds we planed on Ostara and Beltane have sprouted and flourished as the Earth is ripe with abundance and the growth of new life surrounds us.
Along with animals, birds, and insects, we rush and hurry along to make the most of the bright, warm days. With much work to do and plants to be tended, the joy of being outdoors nourishes us externally and internally. The motivation of the season urges us to keep growing and developing, taking advantage of every moment.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, Litha marks the longest day of the year, initiating the Summer season and marking the turning point of the year when we shift to the days becoming shorter again.. The Sun has reached it’s highest, brightest point, saturated with life and vitality, and now begins to recess bit by bit over the coming months. The high sun casts harsh shadows and we are reminded that there is always a balance of darkness in the light. As we celebrate our personal zeniths and shadows, we are thankful for this time of outward joy as we begin to look inward again.
All of our rituals are unique, personal, and deeply sacred. I’ve put together ritual components to guide you in celebrating Litha. Work with the elements that resonate with you and honor your connection to this sacred time. Whether your ritual be private or public, I wish you comfort, clarity, and celebration. The following ritual components are intended as a mix-and-match menu so you can engage in the practices that you most connect with and enjoy.
- Colors: Yellow, Orange, Red, Gold
- Flowers: Sunflowers, Calendula, Chamomile, Rose, Daisy, Yarrow, St. John/Joan’s Wort
- Herbs: Cinnamon, Ginger, Chamomile, Basil, Rosemary
- Crystals: Citrine, Sunstone, Carnelian
- Trees: Oak, Holly
- Foods: Honey, Blueberries, Pomegranate, Strawberries
In a space that will not be disturbed but is visible and accessible, begin to construct your Litha altar. Clear the surface of all items and use a natural cleaner to ensure a fresh surface. Drape a colorful cloth, piece of fabric, or decorative paper to designate your altar space. Assemble your altar space utilizing fresh cut or potted flowers, circular shaped dishes and bowls, imagery or figures of the sun, wreaths or garlands of flowers, and Goddess/God figures. As you place each item, hold it for a moment and connect with the energy it brings to your sacred space. Intuitively place your items on your altar and move them as necessary to accommodate for additional pieces.
This altar space can be used to meditate with, engage in energy work, read tarot, journal, or simply sit quietly and reflect. Speak to your altar and let all the components know what they mean to you and why they are important. Express gratitude freely.
Your altar is an ideal space to burn incense or candles and to charge and protect your energy work tools. Tarot or oracle cards make great additions and can also contribute to the energy at hand.
Those with deeper meditation and energy work practices may find this is a particularly potent space to receive messages, connect with sacred energy, and hear one’s intuition speak. As with all sacred spaces, do guard this area with bright white protective light and ask for divine barriers from anything that may interfere with your work. Open and close your sessions in recognition of this sacred space and use a mantra, prayer, or incantation to welcome energy, call in the 4 elements, and express gratitude.
LITHA & TAROT
If including tarot into your ritual feels appropriate, The Sun may be a good fit. The Sun embodies the masculine solar energy connected to Litha and the Summer Solstice. The Sun encourages us to embrace new energy, happiness, and excitement in all areas of our lives while fueling our inner radiance and warming our spirit even after the darkest of times. The Sun is a card of joy that encourages us to embrace all that is positive and brings happiness to our lives through allowing the love and light of the sun to refuel us and expedite our new season of growth. Litha rituals often incorporate sun imagery and warm hues in honoring the sacred season and longest day of the year.
LITHA CANDLES & INCENSE
Candles and incense are wonderful additions to any space, altar, or ritual. The flame of a candle or smoke from incense can be a wonderful focal point for meditation while also adding to the visual aesthetic and aroma of the space.
For your Litha altar candle, begin with a yellow or orange candle. Chime candles can be gently rubbed with oil and rolled in dried herbs and flowers to dress them. Use a stand to burn them and be aware of any dressing that may catch fire during the burn. 7-day glass candles can have a very small amount of herbs and flowers added to the top prior to burning. Keep the wick trimmed as the candle burns and be aware of dressing that may catch fire, which could lead to glass breakage.
For your Litha incense blend choose herbs, flowers, and resins that are pleasing and seasonal. Combine your blend with a mortar and pestle, reciting a mantra, prayer, or incantation. Using a charcoal disk on a heat-safe surface, add small amount of your blend. Know that more incense creates more smoke; best to start small and slow.
Some herbal allies for your candles and incense that correspond with Litha include: Basil, Frankincense, Rosemary, St. John/Joan’s Wort, Cinnamon, and Red Clover. Let your intuition guide you as you choose your blend; there is no wrong combination when your intention is pure.
If you prefer incense cones, our Hand-Rolled Incense • Litha are ideal for all your Litha rituals.
NOTE: Always burn candles and incense responsibly using heat-safe surfaces in well ventilated areas. Never leave burning items alone for any amount of time. Be aware of pets and children that may be nearby.
Litha Tea from Nor’Eastern Herb Company
INGREDIENTS: Chamomile, Ginger, Cinnamon, Rosehips. Add fresh Pomegranate seeds, gently broken, or a slice of citrus to garnish (optional).
DIRECTIONS: Mix dry ingredients in equal parts or to taste to create an herbal blend. Add 1-3 TBS of the herbal blend to a tea filter or steeping insert. Pour boiling water over tea into a mug and cover for 5-7 minutes. Remove tea blend and press liquid from the herbs. Add a scoop of local honey and mix to incorporate. Top with Pomegranate seeds or sliced citrus. Allow to cool. Finish with milk of choice to taste. Enjoy!
MORE WAYS TO HONOR LITHA
- Watch the Sunrise – Connect with every moment of this longest day of the year beginning at sunrise. Wake early and prepare tea to sip while the sun begins it’s longest journey of the year. Find a quiet spot when you can watch the sunrise (outdoors preferably) and allow yourself to take in the moments of emerging light. Meditate, journal, engage in energy work, or find the practice that most resonates with you. Breathe deeply and know this day will bring bright, profound clarity. Set an intention for the day and outline where to best focus your attention and energy. Check in throughout the day and notice the placement of the sun. Subtle shifts in the day’s energy will unfold as the sun reaches its zenith, high and proud.
- Set Out an Offering – Sharing a physical offering to our natural world can be a profound practice that deeply connects us to nature, our environment, and the Universe. Set out a dish of traditional Litha foods or herbs, burn incense in an outdoor space, trace a labyrinth in your garden, host a ritual bonfire, or cast an intention outside your home. Engaging with animals, birds, and insects in a safe and respectful manner is another way to share your gratitude and foster your natural connection. Begin to share the bountiful harvest that is coming into bloom by laying out an offering for your local native birds. Visit a local sanctuary or animal rescue organization and volunteer or learn more about the local native wildlife. The more you know about what lives around you, the better able you are to create and foster a safe, happy, healthy environment for all.
- Create a Flower Crown – There is no better way to display your love and connection to flowers than to wear them! Utilizing an abundant and meaningful flower, harvest long stalks to create a flower crown or other adornment. Wear your crown atop your head, add individual stems to your hair, place a bloom in your pocket, or carry an herbal ally that best suits you. Another option is to bring cut or potted flowers and plants into your home to enjoy. Whether it be for their life or just for a day visit, having the energy of a growing, thriving life in your space can be palpable. Remember to always harvest with respect and consent and in an ethical manner. For more tips about harvesting and foraging, visit out blog post Foraging & Harvesting Guidelines.
- Get into your Garden – This is peak growing season and your garden is likely lush with leaves, stalks, blooms, and more! Whether you’re harvesting or not, this is a wonderful time to get a little dirt under your nails and open yourself to the energy and presence of what’s growing in your garden. Say hello to everyone, ask if they need water or more room to grow, gently touch and caress the leaves, pick up debris, or share some words of encouragement. Take a few moments in silence to hear and feel the message waiting for you in your garden. A deep breath or a few moments of meditation to connect with the growing herbs, flowers, plants, trees, and shrubs can bring a sense of peace and potent message. As always, express your gratitude when you’re finished and know these living, thriving entities care for you just as much as you care for them.
- Honor the Sunset – Much as we welcomed the sunrise this morning, we honor the sunset as we acknowledge the days will not become shorter and darker. Perhaps prepare yourself another mug of tea or herbal water and a Litha inspired snack. Take notes of your experience throughout the day in your journal and be sure to consider the Litha reflection prompts in the section below. Verbally, energetically, or through an offering, express your gratitude for the Sun and the love, joy, warmth, growth, and development it brings us. As the sun makes its final movement below the horizon take a deep breath and express gratitude inward for what the joy, warmth, and growth of the sun have gifted you.
- What in your life is at its full ripeness?
- What areas of self should you begin to focus more on?
- How do you engage with and embrace your masculine energy?
- How you you share your warmth with others?
- What turning point in your life are you currently experiencing?
PAYING IT FORWARD
If advocacy is part of your personal rituals, I ask you to consider talking action along side
United Plant Savers to protect native medicinal plants in the US and Canada. Given Litha’s connection to the bounty of flourishing plants this time of year, we should all consider what we can do and how we can contribute to our most at-risk herbal allies. Click the ‘Get Involved’ tab to learn more about ways you can advocate for and protect native medicinal plants.
(I do not have any affiliation with United Plant Savers other than supporting their work and appreciating their advocacy.)
When you have completed your ritual, take a few moments to sit with the emotions, and images that came to you. Journal your experience or take notes that you can return to as Summer progresses. As you move from your sacred space drink a large glass of water and wash your hands in cool water. Express your gratitude for these moments and know you have participated in an ancient and sacred tradition.
I wish for you all a very blessed Litha. With love and light, Kristen