Posts Tagged With: Litha

Litha


Litha Comments & Graphics
Litha

Litha is the first of the harvest festivals. Its focus is of the sun , which is at its highest at this time of the year . This is the longest day of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere it falls between June 19-June 22 and in the Hemisphere it falls between June 19-June 22 and in the December 22. This is also known as The Summer Solstice.

In Great Britain where the large standing stones of Stonehenge are , during this time of the year the sun is dead center of the circle. Many scholars feel that this is significant as this is a sacred time of year and relevant in the preview of what the harvest will bring for the rest of the season.

Another name for this celebration is Midsummer, and during this time it is said that one can find the doorway to the Otherworld and the realm of the of the faerie realm, gifts and trinkets, in order to honor them and show respect so that the fair folk don’t cause havoc to the homes. One reason for this belief has to do with the idea that fireflies with their flittering lights are faeries frolicking about.

A common custom at Litha is the Summer Tree, much like the Yule Tree, the Summer Tree is usually a young oak that is decorated with garlands of flowers and colored eggs to promote fertility of the crops and animals. On Midsummer’s Eve the tree is burned in a bonfire to promote fertility and prosperity.

The Litha celebration is usually a mild one as it is mainly focused on the first harvest, usually fruit and berries and melons are harvested at this time. Lighter meals and sweeter fruits and vegetables. It is the first day of Summer and normally pretty hot, so most people are needing the cooler refreshments during this time. Cold soups and chilled salads are usually served.

During this part of the year we also see the Holly King and the Oak King battle it out. The Holly King represents the darker side of the year, the cooler months, the end of days. The Oak King represents the sunny time and the hotter months. During this battle , which ends when the sun sets, the Oak King is defeated and the Holly King takes the throne. This represents the days are now from this point on getting shorter. The battle again at Yule and the Holly King then looses the battle as the days will start to become longer in the Oak King’s reign.

It goes without saying that during Midsummer, the Sun is the main focus. The Sun brings life and nutrients to the world and so it is celebrated. In most, but not all, Pagan cultures the Sun is seen as a male entity and the Moon as female. So during this Sabbat we are celebrating the male aspect more than the female. Though there are some Sun Goddesses, such as the Norse Goddess Sunna, we tend to see more Gods associated with the Sun such as the Egyptian God Ra, the Greek God Helios and the Roman God Apollo.

Crafts that are great at Litha would be suncatchers, which can be seen as a form of sympathetic magick where we are capturing the essence of the Sun. When we choose designs that are representative of qualities that we need in our life along with using colors that are corresponding with those needs we can use the suncatcher to bring that energy into our lives. Suncatchers are inexpensive and can be purchased at any stores that sells children’s crafts.

Another fun craft to make is the God’s Eye. Taking two sticks and wrapping colored yarn or string while meditating on the Sun Deity or the Sun. Many early religions viewed the Sun as the Eye of God. Looking directly into the eye of God will cause you to go blind , just as if we look directly into the sun it can cause damage to the eyes. Simply the act of creating these is meditative. They then can be hung to remind us that we are looked after or if you say a prayer and throw it into the fire to take the prayer to the Sun deity that you are honoring it can be seen again as a form of sympathetic magick.

This is the time of the year when we get a preview of what is to come . To thank the Sun for the nutrients it has provided, however, we are not out of the woods yet. The first of the Harvest Festivals is at hand, but there is still a lot of hard work still ahead of us. This is a little break to allow us to remember how marvelous the world and nature is. How when we planted at Beltane has started a chain of events that will help us prosper and grow to a wonderful full harvest. We still need to nurture our plants, just as we nurture our faith, and in time we will come to that place in our lives when we can rest and look back at what we have done. Right now we are looking forward at what is starting to show.

 

by Minnie Eerin
The Magical School Newsletter: Litha
Publisher: Colleen Criswell

 

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Litha History – Celebrating the Summer Solstice

Litha Comments & GraphicsLitha History

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

 

An Ancient Solar Celebration:
Nearly every agricultural society has marked the high point of summer in some way, shape or form. On this date – usually around June 21 or 22 (or December 21/22 in the southern hemisphere) – the sun reaches its zenith in the sky. It is the longest day of the year, and the point at which the sun seems to just hang there without moving – in fact, the word “solstice” is from the Latin word solstitium, which literally translates to “sun stands still.” The travels of the sun were marked and recorded. Stone circles such as Stonehenge were oriented to highlight the rising of the sun on the day of the summer solstice.

Traveling the Heavens:
Although few primary sources are available detailing the practices of the ancient Celts, some information can be found in the chronicles kept by early Christian monks. Some of these writings, combined with surviving folklore, indicate that Midsummer was celebrated with hilltop bonfires and that it was a time to honor the space between earth and the heavens.

Fire and Water:
In addition to the polarity between land and sky, Litha is a time to find a balance between fire and water. According to Ceisiwr Serith, in his book The Pagan Family, European traditions celebrated this time of year by setting large wheels on fire and then rolling them down a hill into a body of water. He suggests that this may be because this is when the sun is at its strongest yet also the day at which it begins to weaken. Another possibility is that the water mitigates the heat of the sun, and subordinating the sun wheel to water may prevent drought.

Saxon Traditions:
When they arrived in the British Isles, the Saxon invaders brought with them the tradition of calling the month of June Aerra Litha. They marked Midsummer with huge bonfires that celebrated the power of the sun over darkness. For people in Scandinavian countries and in the farther reaches of the Northern hemisphere, Midsummer was very important. The nearly endless hours of light in June are a happy contrast to the constant darkness found six months later in the middle of winter.

Roman Festivals :
The Romans, who had a festival for anything and everything, celebrated this time as sacred to Juno, the wife of Jupiter and goddess of women and childbirth. She is also called Juno Luna and blesses women with the privilege of menstruation. The month of June was named for her, and because Juno was the patroness of marriage, her month remains an ever-popular time for weddings. This time of year was also sacred to Vesta, goddess of the hearth. The matrons of Rome entered her temple on Midsummer and made offerings of salted meal for eight days, in hopes that she would confer her blessings upon their homes.

Midsummer for Modern Pagans:
Litha has often been a source of contention among modern Pagan and Wiccan groups, because there’s always been a question about whether or not Midsummer was truly celebrated by the ancients. While there’s scholarly evidence to indicate that it was indeed observed, there were suggestions made by Gerald Gardner, the founder of modern Wicca, that the solar festivals (the solstices and equinoxes) were actually added later and imported from the Middle East. Regardless of the origins, many modern Wiccans and Pagans do choose to celebrate Litha every year in June.

In some traditions, Litha is a time at which there is a battle between light and dark. The Oak King is seen as the ruler of the year between winter solstice and summer solstice, and the Holly King from summer to winter. At each solstice they battle for power, and while the Oak King may be in charge of things at the beginning of June, by the end of Midsummer he is defeated by the Holly King.

This is a time of year of brightness and warmth. Crops are growing in their fields with the heat of the sun, but may require water to keep them alive. The power of the sun at Midsummer is at its most potent, and the earth is fertile with the bounty of growing life.

For contemporary Pagans, this is a day of inner power and brightness. Find yourself a quiet spot and meditate on the darkness and the light both in the world and in your personal life. Celebrate the turning of the Wheel of the Year with fire and water, night and day, and other symbols of the opposition of light and dark.

Litha is a great time to celebrate outdoors if you have children. Take them swimming or just turn on the sprinkler to run through, and then have a bonfire or barbeque at the end of the day. Let them stay up late to say goodnight to the sun, and celebrate nightfall with sparklers, storytelling, and music. This is also an ideal Sabbat to do some love magic or celebrate a handfasting, since June is the month of marriages and family.

Source:
Author: Patti Wigington
Source: Article found on & owned by About.com

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Litha History – Celebrating the Summer Solstice

Litha History – Celebrating the Summer Solstice

 

An Ancient Solar Celebration:

Nearly every agricultural society has marked the high point of summer in some way, shape or form. On this date – usually around June 21 or 22 (or December 21/22 in the southern hemisphere) – the sun reaches its zenith in the sky. It is the longest day of the year, and the point at which the sun seems to just hang there without moving – in fact, the word “solstice” is from the Latin word solstitium, which literally translates to “sun stands still.” The travels of the sun were marked and recorded.

Stone circles such as Stonehenge were oriented to highlight the rising of the sun on the day of the summer solstice.

Traveling the Heavens:

Although few primary sources are available detailing the practices of the ancient Celts, some information can be found in the chronicles kept by early Christian monks. Some of these writings, combined with surviving folklore, indicate that Midsummer was celebrated with hilltop bonfires and that it was a time to honor the space between earth and the heavens.

Fire and Water:

In addition to the polarity between land and sky, Litha is a time to find a balance between fire and water. According to Ceisiwr Serith, in his book The Pagan Family, European traditions celebrated this time of year by setting large wheels on fire and then rolling them down a hill into a body of water. He suggests that this may be because this is when the sun is at its strongest yet also the day at which it begins to weaken. Another possibility is that the water mitigates the heat of the sun, and subordinating the sun wheel to water may prevent drought.

Saxon Traditions:

When they arrived in the British Isles, the Saxon invaders brought with them the tradition of calling the month of June Aerra Litha. They marked Midsummer with huge bonfires that celebrated the power of the sun over darkness. For people in Scandinavian countries and in the farther reaches of the Northern hemisphere, Midsummer was very important. The nearly endless hours of light in June are a happy contrast to the constant darkness found six months later in the middle of winter.

Roman Festivals :

The Romans, who had a festival for anything and everything, celebrated this time as sacred to Juno, the wife of Jupiter and goddess of women and childbirth. She is also called Juno Luna and blesses women with the privilege of menstruation. The month of June was named for her, and because Juno was the patroness of marriage, her month remains an ever-popular time for weddings. This time of year was also sacred to Vesta, goddess of the hearth. The matrons of Rome entered her temple on Midsummer and made offerings of salted meal for eight days, in hopes that she would confer her blessings upon their homes.

Midsummer for Modern Pagans:

Litha has often been a source of contention among modern Pagan and Wiccan groups, because there’s always been a question about whether or not Midsummer was truly celebrated by the ancients. While there’s scholarly evidence to indicate that it was indeed observed, there were suggestions made by Gerald Gardner, the founder of modern Wicca, that the solar festivals (the solstices and equinoxes) were actually added later and imported from the Middle East. Regardless of the origins, many modern Wiccans and other Pagans do choose to celebrate Litha every year in June.

In some traditions, Litha is a time at which there is a battle between light and dark. The Oak King is seen as the ruler of the year between winter solstice and summer solstice, and the Holly King from summer to winter. At each solstice they battle for power, and while the Oak King may be in charge of things at the beginning of June, by the end of Midsummer he is defeated by the Holly King.

This is a time of year of brightness and warmth. Crops are growing in their fields with the heat of the sun, but may require water to keep them alive. The power of the sun at Midsummer is at its most potent, and the earth is fertile with the bounty of growing life.

For contemporary Pagans, this is a day of inner power and brightness. Find yourself a quiet spot and meditate on the darkness and the light both in the world and in your personal life. Celebrate the turning of the Wheel of the Year with fire and water, night and day, and other symbols of the opposition of light and dark.

Litha is a great time to celebrate outdoors if you have children. Take them swimming or just turn on the sprinkler to run through, and then have a bonfire or barbeque at the end of the day. Let them stay up late to say goodnight to the sun, and celebrate nightfall with sparklers, storytelling, and music. This is also an ideal Sabbat to do some love magic or celebrate a handfasting, since June is the month of marriages and family

 

Source:

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5 Easy Decorating Ideas for Litha

Need some quick and affordable decorating ideas for Litha, the summer solstice? Here are some tips on how to bring the season into your home without breaking your bank account!
Celebrate the sun at midsummer!. Image by Peter Cade/Image Bank/Getty Images

Suns and Solar Symbols

The Litha sabbat falls on the longest day of the year – that means you have more hours of daylight on the summer solstice than on any other day, and that’s definitely worth celebrating! Solar symbols like suns and circles, gods eyes, Brighid’s crosses and sunwheels are all perfect representatives of this season – hang them on your walls and doors, or add them to your Litha altar. More »

Fresh Blossoms and Blooms

By the time midsummer rolls around, our flower gardens are in full bloom. This is a time to gather up those blossoms and enjoy their beauty – collect an assortment of brightly colored flowers and bring them indoors to keep you company. Consider, especially, flowers in bright sunny colors like yellows and reds and oranges. Sunflowers, tulips, roses, tiger lilies, and black-eyed Susans are all associated with the sun at the height of its power.

Bring the bounty of your garden inside to celebrate the midsummer harvest. Image © Patti Wigington; Licensed to About.com

The Bounty of the Garden

In addition to fresh flowers, we’ve also got fresh produce rapidly filling our gardens. The sun brings warmth to the earth, which in turn brings new life to our plants. Harvest your midsummer fruits and vegetables, and leave them in bowls and baskets around the house. Some goodies, like onions and herbs, can be hung up to dry, which will allow you to enjoy the scents as well as the flavor.

Fire and Light

Carrying on the solar theme, Litha is a celebration of fire – after all, that’s what the sun is, right? Use big candles all around your home, in yellows and golds and other sunny colors. You can also string festively colored lights along your walls and windows, to bring that brightness indoors. For your outdoor decor, use a tabletop brazier or even Tiki torches to celebrate with flames and fire. More »

Litha is a time of opposites, between light and dark.Image by Alan Thornton/Image Bank/Getty Images

Opposites

At Litha, the summer solstice, it’s the last day of the sun’s full power. For the next six months, darkness will begin to take over, growing stronger until Yule, the longest night of the year. At that point, the process will reverse once more and the light return. Decorate your home with symbols of opposites – fire and water, earth and air, darkness and light, yin and yang.

 

Categories: Coven Life, Pagan Craft Making, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Incense of the Day for Those Down Under is Litha Fire Incense

Incense of the Day

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Litha Fire Incense

Midsummer is a great time for herb gardens, because there are buds and blooms everywhere. This is a powerful time to gather herbs, and also to prepare and use them. Any fresh herb can be dried simply by picking it and tying it up in small bundles in a well-ventilated area. Once they are completely dry store them in airtight jars in a dark place.

To make your own magical summer incense, first determine what form you’d like to make. You can make incense with sticks and in cones, but the easiest kind uses loose ingredients, which are then burned on top of a charcoal disc or tossed into a fire. This recipe is for loose incense, but you can always adapt it for stick or cone recipes. As you mix and blend your incense, focus on the intent of your work. In this particular recipe, we’re creating an incense to use during a Litha rite — and since Litha is all about the sun and its strength, we’re going to make this a fiery and powerful incense. You’ll need:

  • 3 parts myrrh
  • 1 part apple blossoms
  • ½ part bay leaves
  • ½ part cinnamon bark
  • 1 part chamomile flowers
  • 1 part lavender flowers
  • 2 parts mugwort
  • ½ part rosemary

Add your ingredients to your mixing bowl one at a time. Measure carefully, and if the leaves or blossoms need to be crushed, use your mortar and pestle to do so. As you blend the herbs together, state your intent. You may find it helpful to charge your incense with an incantation, such as:

Balance of the heavens and earth below,
The power of the sun in this incense grows.
Cinnamon, mugwort, apple and bay,
Fire and water, on this longest day.
Herbs of power, blended by me,
As I will, so it shall be.

Store your incense in a tightly sealed jar. Make sure you label it with its intent and name, as well as the date you created it. Use within three months, so that it remains charged and fresh.

 

Source:
Author:

Article Found On & Owned By About.com

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Blessings of Litha To All My Dear Family & Friends!


Litha Comments & Graphics

Blessings of Litha

 

This wheel keeps turning
Turning on and on
As each new Season dawns…
 
It keeps turning
As we pray for the coming of Litha
That’s when we ask you…
Oh Litha carry us into
Sister Moon grace us into
Brother Sun face us towards
Mother Goddess place us
Place us in the blessings of Litha
 
The blessings of Litha that are
Malina’s warm sun
Flora’s sweet flowers
Psyche’s beautiful butterflies
Gaia’s lush green
Yemaya’s liquid bliss
Iris’ colorful rainbow
 
As we dance for the coming of Litha
That’s when we ask you…
Oh Litha embrace us
Sister Moon grace us
Brother Sun face us
Mother Goddess place us
Place us in the blessings of Litha
 
The blessings of Litha that are
Malina’s warm sun on our faces
Flora’s sweet flowers under her graces
Psyche’s beautiful butterflies dancing on the wind
Gaia’s lush green that covers the earth from end to end
Yemaya ‘s liquid bliss that surrounds us with love
Iris’ colorful rainbow that imbues us from above
 
As we sing for the coming of Litha
That’s when we ask you…
Oh Litha carry us into
Mother Earth’s sweet face look over us
Oshun’s liquid grace bliss us
Gaia’s beautiful hidden spaces protect us
Mother Goddess’ wishes place us
Place us in these blessings of Litha
 
These blessings of Litha that are
Given to us with love
From our Mother Goddess above
 
Given to us while this wheel turns
Turns on and on
As each new Sabbat dawns
 
 
By Savannah Skye
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Let’s Talk Witch – Litha, Summer Solstice, or Midsummer


Litha Comments & Graphics

 Litha, Summer Solstice, or Midsummer

Litha (pronounced “LITH-ah”) is one of the Lesser Wiccan Sabbats and is usually celebrated on June 21st, but varies somewhat from the 20th to the 23rd, dependant upon the Earth’s rotation around the Sun (check the calendar). According to the old folklore calendar, Summer begins on Beltane (May 1st) and ends on Lughnassadh (August 1st), with the Summer Solstice midway between the two, marking Mid-Summer. This makes more logical sense than suggesting that Summer begins on the day when the Sun’s power begins to wane and the days grow shorter. The most common other names for this holiday are the Summer Solstice or Midsummer, and it celebrates the arrival of Summer, when the hours of daylight are longest. The Sun is now at the highest point before beginning its slide into darkness. Other names for this time in the Wheel of the Year include Alban Heruin, (Caledonii or the Druids), Alban Hefin (Anglo-Saxon Tradition), Sun Blessing, Gathering Day (Welsh), Whit Sunday, Whitsuntide, Vestalia (Ancient Roman), the Feast of Epona (Ancient Gaulish), All-Couple’s Day (Greek), and St. John’s Day. Scottish Pecti-Witans celebrate Feill-Sheathain on July 5th. In the Italian tradition of Aridian Strega, this sabbath (Strega Witches call them Treguendas rather than Sabbats) is known as Summer Fest – La Festa dell’Estate. Scandinavians celebrate this holiday at a later date and call it Thing-Tide. In England, June 21st is “The Day of Cerridwen and Her Cauldron”. And in Ireland, this day is dedicated to the faery goddess Aine of Knockaine. And finally, in Northern Europe – June 21st is “The Day of the Green Man”.

The Litha sabbat is a time to celebrate both work and leisure, it is a time for children and childlike play. It is a time to celebrate the ending of the waxing year and the beginning of the waning year, in preparation for the harvest to come. Midsummer is a time to absorb the Sun’s warming rays and it is another fertility sabbath, not only for humans, but also for crops and animals. Wiccans consider the Goddess to be heavy with pregnancy from the mating at Beltane – honor is given to Her. The Sun God is celebrated as the Sun is at its peak in the sky and we celebrate His approaching fatherhood – honor is also given to Him. The faeries abound at this time and it is customary to leave offerings – such as food or herbs – for them in the evening.

Nurturing and love are key actions related to Midsummer. If you haven’t yet done so, Litha is a good time to perform your Self-Dedication Ceremony… or – if you have been practicing Wicca for a while – you may choose to perform a simple Re-dedication/Affirmation as a part of your sabbath celebration.

Ritual actions for Litha might include placing a flower-ringed cauldron upon your altar, plunging of the sword (or athame) into the cauldron, balefire leaping (outdoors) and the gathering and drying of herbs. Herbs can be dried over the ritual fire if you’re celebrating outdoors. Leap the bonfire for purification and renewed energy. Ritually, use mirrors to capture the light of the Sun or the flames of the fire. Some things that are considered taboo on this holiday are giving away fire, sleeping away from home, and neglecting animals.

Colors associated with the Summer Solstice include white, red, maize yellow or golden yellow, green, blue and tan. Altar candles could be either a combination of blue, green, and yellow — or red and gold. Stones to use during Litha include all green gemstones, especially emerald and jade. Other appropriate gemstones are tiger’s eye, lapus lazuli and diamonds. Animals associated with this sabbath include robins, wrens, all Summer birds, horses and cattle. Mythical creatures include satyrs, faeries, firebirds, dragons and thunderbirds.

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About Litha: A Guide to the Symbolism of the Wiccan Sabbat

a guide to the symbolism of the Wiccan Sabbat

by Arwynn MacFeylynnd

Date: June 20-23 (usually, the date of the calendar summer solstice).

Alternative names: Summer Solstice, Midsummer, Midsummer’s Eve, Alban Heruin, Alban Hefin, Gathering Day, Vestalia, La Festa dell’Estate (Summer Fest), the Day of the Green Man.

Primary meanings:  This Sabbat celebrates the abundance and beauty of the Earth. From this day on, the days will wane, growing shorter and shorter until Yule. It is a time to absorb the Sun’s warming rays, and to celebrate the ending of the waxing year and beginning of the waning year in preparation for the harvest to come. Midsummer is another fertility Sabbat, not only for humans, but also for crops and animals. This is a time to celebrate work and leisure, to appreciate children and childlike play and to look internally at the seeds you’ve planted that should be at full bloom. Some people believe that at twilight on this day, the portals between worlds open and the faery folk pass into our world; welcome them on this day to receive their blessings.

Symbols: Fire, the Sun, blades, mistletoe, oak trees, balefires, Sun wheels, summertime flowers (especially sunflowers), summer fruits, seashells and faeries. If you made Sun wheels at Imbolc, display them now prominently, hanging from the ceiling or on trees in your yard. You may want to decorate them with yellow and gold ribbons and summer herbs.

Colors: White, red, maize yellow or golden yellow, green, blue and tan.

Gemstones: All green gemstones, especially emerald and jade, and also tiger’s eye, lapis lazuli and diamond.

Herbs: Chamomile, cinquefoil, copal, elder, fennel, fern, frankincense, galangal, heliotrope, hemp, larkspur, laurel, lavender, lemon, mistletoe, mugwort, oak, pine, roses, saffron, St. John’s wort, sandalwood, thyme, verbena, wisteria and ylang-ylang. Herbs gathered on this day are said to be extremely powerful.

Gods and goddesses: All father gods and mother goddesses, pregnant goddesses and Sun deities. Particular emphasis might be placed on the goddesses Aphrodite, Astarte, Freya, Hathor, Ishtar and Venus and other goddesses who preside over love, passion and beauty. Other Litha deities include the goddesses Athena, Artemis, Dana, Kali, Isis and Juno and the gods Apollo, Ares, Dagda, Gwydion, Helios, Llew, Oak/Holly King, Lugh, Ra, Sol, Zeus, Prometheus and Thor.

Customs and myths: One way to express the cycle of the Earth’s fertility that has persisted from early pagan to modern times is the myth of the Oak King and the Holly King, gods respectively of the Waxing and Waning Year. The Oak King rules from Midwinter to Midsummer, the period of fertility, expansion and growth, and the Holly King reigns from Midsummer to Midwinter, the period of harvest, withdrawal and wisdom. They are light and dark twins, each being the other’s alternate self, thus being one. Each represents a necessary phase in the natural rhythm; therefore, both are good. At the two changeover points, they symbolically meet in combat. The incoming twin — the Oak King at Midwinter, the Holly King at Midsummer — “slays” the outgoing one. But the defeated twin is not considered dead — he has merely withdrawn during the six months of his brother’s rule.

On Midsummer Night, it is said that field and forest elves, sprites and faeries abound in great numbers, making this a great time to commune with them. Litha is considered a time of great magickal power, one of the best times to perform magicks of all kinds. Especially effective magick and spells now include those for love, healing and prosperity. Wreaths can be made for your door with yellow feathers for prosperity and red feathers for sexuality, intertwined and tied together with ivy. This is also a very good time to perform blessings and protection spells for pets or other animals.

Nurturing and love are key actions related to Midsummer. Litha is a good time to perform a ceremony of self-dedication or rededication to your spiritual path as a part of your Sabbat celebration. Ritual actions for Litha include placing a flower-ringed cauldron upon your altar, gathering and drying herbs, plunging the sword (or athamé) into the cauldron and leaping the balefire (bonfire) for purification and renewed energy. Considered taboo on this holiday are giving away fire, sleeping away from home and neglecting animals.

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