Midsummer Incense #1
2 parts Sandalwood
1 part Mugwort
1 part Chamomile
1 part Gardenia petals
a few drops Rose oil
a few drops Lavender oil
a few drops Yarrow oil
Burn at Wiccan rituals at the Summer Solstice or at that time to attune with the seasons and the Sun
Midsummer Incense #2
3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Benzoin
1 part Dragon’s Blood
1 part Thyme
1 part Rosemary
1 pinch Vervain
a few drops Red Wine
(The above recipes for “Midsummer Incense” is quoted directly from Scott Cunningham’s book “The Complete Book of Incenses, Oils & Brews”, page 80, Llewellyn Publications, 1989/1992.)
Summer Solstice Ritual Potpourri
45 drops lemon or lavender oil
1 cup oak moss
2 cups dried lavender
2 cups dried wisteria
2 cups dried verbena
Mix the lemon or lavender oil with the oak moss, and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.
(The above recipe for “Summer Solstice Ritual Potpourri” is quoted directly from Gerina Dunwich’s book “The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch’s Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes”, page 162, A Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994/1995)
Put in soap or anoint candles
5 drops lavender
4 drops rosemary
4 drops rose
Add a piece of dried vervain, a small citrine, clear quartz crystal, and a sprinkle of gold glitter. So magical and beautiful!
Magickal Activity for December 21, The Summer Solstice
Midsummer is a celebration of light and life, symbolized by the flame of a candle and the movement of water. A large glass bowl filled with an assortment of floating candles makes a wonderful point of focus for ritual. Choose bright yellow sunflowers, white lilies, and red tulip-shaped candles. Have each person participating in the ritual inscribe his or her desire, with a pin, on a candle. Have each person come forward, place his or her candle in the bowl and light it as he makes his wish. Following the ritual, the bowl is placed outdoors and the candles are left to burn out.
The Sun Wheel
One of the most popular symbols of Midsummer is the Sun Wheel, the turning of which suggests the turning, or progression, of the seasons. The Wheel is decorated with flowers, fresh herbs, and brightly colored ribbons.
The simplest method for making a Sun Wheel is to buy an already-prepared natural-branch wreath from an arts and crafts store. Affix small branches of rowan to form the spokes of the wheel (four spokes to represent the elements and cross-quarter days or eight to symbolize the eight Wiccan Sabbats). Use floral wire to attach fresh flowers and herbs to the wreath. Embellish with brightly colored ribbons. The wheel can be used as the focal point for your Midsummer rites or hung on the front door of your home for decoration.
Midsummer Eve/Summer Solstice
The Summer Solstice is celebrated between December 20 – 22-the longest day and shortest night of the year. The festival of Midsummer venerates the potential of the life-sustaining powers of fire and water, forces that were vital to our ancestors’ survival. It was believed that fire would help keep the sun alive and that the blessing of waterwells would continue their flow to nurture the parched earth. Without sun and water, there would be no crops and all would perish.
One of the most popular customs that grew out of the early fertility rites was that of jumping or leaping over Midsummer bonfires. The idea being, the higher one jumped, the higher the crops would grow.
Another symbol that was popularized at this time was the wheel. The turning of the wheel represented the turning or progression of the seasons. Wheels were decorated with brightly colored ribbons and fresh flowers. Lighted candles were placed on them, and then they were set afloat on the lakes and rivers.
Midsummer Eve and Midsummer Night are genuinely thought to be particularly uncanny times. It was reasoned that certain plants were endowed with magickal properties on this night, that, if gathered before sunrise, could be used for protection against all evil spirits and forces.
With the sun at its zenith, Midsummer was, and still is, a time for marriages, family celebrations, and coming-of-age parties.
Symbolically, Midsummer is the time to nurture those goals you made at the beginning of the year as you reflect on the progress you have made toward bringing them into fruition.
The Witches Magick for the Summer Solstice – Sun Spell
A simple sun spell can help you capture the power of this most important time in the sun’s journey across our skies. And who doesn’t need a bit of that potent energy in their everyday lives? This simple sun spell harnesses the energy of the sun into an amulet (token) that you can carry with you. Call on it whenever you need a bit of that brightness.
You will need:
A candle and something to light it with— I like to use a red candle because the sun is a fire element, but use any color you have or that speaks to you
A pinch of dried spice— dried chili flakes, cayenne pepper, or black pepper
A daisy (ruled by the element of fire)
A plate or saucer to work from
Gather your spell materials together and go outside into the sunshine. Sit somewhere green and quiet if you can, and hold your candle, spices, and daisy in one hand. Cup your other hand over the top. Concentrate on focusing your energy into what you are holding. Focus on the creation of something that will bring you brightness when you need it.
When you’re ready, light the candle carefully and drop wax onto the plate or saucer to create a pool of wax. Extinguish the candle and, working swiftly, sprinkle the spice onto the molten wax. Place the daisy onto the wax and spice. Carefully mould the still-warm wax into a ball or penny shape, enclosing the spices and daisy within it. You can always drip more wax onto the top to ensure that the spell is fully enclosed.
When the wax has cooled, hold the amulet in one hand and raise your hand to the sun. Close your eyes and imagine the brightness and warmth of the sun’s energy forming a sphere around your amulet, empowering it with its energy.
Say some simple words like:
Power of the sun, charge this spell till it is done.
When you feel that your amulet has absorbed the sun’s power, thank the sun for lending you its strength. When you return home, relight your candle and burn it in thanks for the success of your spell.
Carry this amulet with you and reach for it whenever you need to lend the sun’s power to whatever you are doing. Use it when a spell needs an extra boost, or on a cold gray day that leaves you feeling down, or when a friend is in need of some brightness at a difficult time. This powerful little spell can also be recharged by holding the amulet up to the sun whenever you need a boost. You can use it as a focus in fire spells as well.
Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year
The Summer Solstice, known to some as Litha, Midsummer, or Alban Heruin, is the longest day of the year. It’s the time when the sun is most powerful, and new life has begun to grow within the earth. After today, the nights will once more begin to grow longer, and the sun will move further away in the sky.
If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, consecrate a space, or call the quarters, now is the time to do so.
This ritual is a great one to perform outside, so if you have the opportunity to do this without scaring the neighbors, take advantage of it.
Begin this ritual by preparing the wood for a fire, without lighting it yet. While the ideal situation would have you setting a huge bonfire alight, realistically not everyone can do that. If you’re limited, use a table top brazier or fire-safe pot, and light your fire there instead.
Say either to yourself or out loud:
Today, to celebrate Midsummer, I honor the Earth itself. I am surrounded by tall trees. There is a clear sky above me and cool dirt beneath me, and I am connected to all three. I light this fire as the Ancients did so long ago.
At this point, start your fire. Say:
The Wheel of the Year has turned once more
The light has grown for six long months
Today is Litha, called Alban Heruin by my ancestors.
A time for celebration.
Tomorrow the light will begin to fade
As the Wheel of the Year
Turns on and ever on.
Turn to the East, and say:
From the east comes the wind,
Cool and clear.
It brings new seeds to the garden
Bees to the pollen
And birds to the trees.
Turn to Face South, and say:
The sun rises high in the summer sky
And lights our way even into the night
Today the sun casts three rays
The light of fire upon the land, the sea, and the heavens
Turn to face West, saying:
From the west, the mist rolls in
Bringing rain and fog
The life-giving water without which
We would cease to be.
Finally, turn to the North, and say:
Beneath my feet is the Earth,
Soil dark and fertile
The womb in which life begins
And will later die, then return anew.
Build up the fire even more, so that you have a good strong blaze going.
If you wish to make an offering to the gods, now is the time to do it. For this sample, we’re including the use of a triple goddess in the invocation, but this is where you should substitute the names of the deities of your personal tradition.
Alban Heruin is a time of rededication
To the gods. The triple goddess watches over me.
She is known by many names.
She is the Morrighan, Brighid, and Cerridwen.
She is the washer at the ford,
She is the guardian of the hearth,
She is the one who stirs the cauldron of inspiration.
I give honor to You, O mighty ones,
By all your names, known and unknown.
Bless me with Your wisdom
And give life and abundance to me
As the sun gives life and abundance to the Earth.
I make this offering to you
To show my allegiance
To show my honor
To show my dedication
Cast your offering into fire. Conclude the ritual by saying:
Today, at Litha, I celebrate the life
And love of the gods
And of the Earth and Sun.
Take a few moments to reflect upon what you have offered, and what the gifts of the gods mean to you. When you are ready, if you have cast a circle, dismantle it or dismiss the quarters at this time. Allow your fire to go out on its own.
Litha is the season of the summer solstice, and the longest day of the year. This means that the very next day, the nights will begin getting longer incrementally as we move towards Yule, the winter solstice. Celebrate the sun while there’s time, and let its warm energy and powerful rays envelope you.
Litha Prayer to the Sun
The sun is high above us
shining down upon the land and sea,
making things grow and bloom.
Great and powerful sun,
we honor you this day
and thank you for your gifts.
Ra, Helios, Sol Invictus, Aten, Svarog,
you are known by many names.
You are the light over the crops,
the heat that warms the earth,
the hope that springs eternal,
the bringer of life.
We welcome you, and we honor you this day,
celebrating your light,
as we begin our journey once more
into the darkness.
What to Include for the Summer Solstice
It’s Litha, and that means the sun is at its highest point in the sky. Midsummer is the time when we can celebrate the growing of crops, and take heart in knowing that the seeds we planted in the spring are now in full bloom. It’s a time of celebrating the sun, and spending as much time as you can outdoors. Try to set up your Midsummer altar outside if at all possible. If you can’t, that’s okay — but try to find a spot near a window where the sun will shine in and brighten your altar setup with its rays.
Colors of the Season
This sabbat is all about the sun celebration, so think of solar colors. Yellows, oranges, fiery reds and golds are all appropriate this time of year. Use candles in bright sunny colors, or cover your altar with cloths that represent the solar aspect of the season.
Litha is when the sun is at its highest point above us. In some traditions, the sun rolls across the sky like a great wheel – consider using pinwheels or some other disc to represent the sun. Circles and discs are the most basic sun symbol of all, and are seen as far back as the tombs of ancient Egypt. Use equal-armed crosses, such as the Brighid’s Cross, or even the swastika – remember, it was originally a good luck symbol to both the Hindus and Scandinavians before it became associated with the Nazis.
A Time of Light and Dark
The solstice is also a time seen as a battle between light and dark. Although the sun is strong now, in just six months the days will be short again. Much like the battle between the Oak King and the Holly King, light and dark must battle for supremacy. At this sabbat, darkness wins, and the days will begin to grow shorter once more. Decorate your altar with symbols of the triumph of darkness over light – and that includes using other opposites, such as fire and water, night and day, etc.
Other Symbols of Litha
Midsummer flowers, fruits and vegetables from your garden
Gods Eyes in sunny colors
Oak trees and acorns
Sandalwood, saffron, frankincense, laurel
Author: Patti Wigington
Website: Article found on & owned by ThoughtCo
Summer Solstice, Midsummer, Litha, Alban Hefin, Inti Raymi, Feast of the Sun, Celtic New Year, St. John’s Day
Summer Solstice – Midsummer – Litha (Celtic/Wiccan) – Alban Hefin (Druidic) – Inti Raymi (Incan) – Feast of the Sun (Aztec) – Celtic New Year, according to some – St. John’s Day/Festival of Saint John the Baptist (Christian)
As the wheel turns again we find ourselves at Summer Solstice. Litha/Midsummer is one of the Lesser Wiccan Sabbats and is usually celebrated on December 21st, but varies somewhat from the 20th to the 23rd, dependent upon the Earth’s rotation around the Sun. The sun is at the height of it power before beginning its slide into darkness and we experience the longest day and shortest night of the year. It is important to note that the separation of the light and dark halves of the year have nothing to do with good and evil. Light signifies growth and expansion; dark means withdrawal and rest. Both are necessary.
While steamy Midsummer marks the beginning of the Sun’s dying strength the season itself is very lush, erotic and sexy. The Sun, flowers and Earth are in full bloom. Hot Midsummer creates a fiery, mature, breathless passion. The God is at the very height of his power as we hit midsummer, at this point of the year the crops are coming along nicely (literally and figuratively). We have done all of the planting associated with spring and life gets a little easier as we sit back and tend what we’ve created. It’s a time of great celebration before we meet the work ahead as the harvest comes in. We honor the God and Goddess whose union has blessed us with the fertility to create the projects we began way back at Imbolc. On Midsummer the veil between the worlds is said to be very thin making this a great time for divination, historically many maidens would divine a husband at this time. Midsummers Eve is said to be a time when fairies abound in great numbers this is a great time to commune with them and leave gifts of sweets outdoors. Litha celebrates abundance, fertility, virility, the beauty and bounty of Nature. Harnessing the Suns great power makes all types of magick appropriate now. We can also harvest the first of our magickal herbs at this time since they are drenched with the great power of the sun on this longest day of the year. It is a good time for empowerment, for strong magick and male rituals, for handfastings and communing with Nature Spirits, for workings of culmination. The journey into the harvest season has begun.
Myths and Mysteries of the Midsummer Solstice
Litha, or Midsummer, is a celebration that has been observed for centuries, in one form or another. It is no surprise, then, that there are plenty of myths and legends associated with this time of year!
In England, rural villagers built a big bonfire on Midsummer’s Eve. This was called “setting the watch,” and it was known that the fire would keep evil spirits out of the town. Some farmers would light a fire on their land, and people would wander about, holding torches and lanterns, from one bonfire to another. If you jumped over a bonfire — presumably without lighting your pants on fire — you were guaranteed to have good luck for the coming year.
After your Litha fire has burned out and the ashes gone cold, use them to make a protective amulet. You can do this by carrying them in a small pouch, or kneading them into some soft clay and forming a talisman. In some traditions of Wicca, it is believed that the Midsummer ashes will protect you from misfortune. You can also sow the ashes from your bonfire into your garden, and your crops will be bountiful for the rest of the summer growing season.
It is believed in parts of England that if you stay up all night on Midsummer’s Eve, sitting in the middle of a stone circle, you will see the Fae. But be careful – carry a bit of rue in your pocket to keep them from harassing you, or turn your jacket inside out to confuse them. If you have to escape the Fae, follow a ley line, and it will lead you to safety.
Residents of some areas of Ireland say that if you have something you wish to happen, you “give it to the pebble.” Carry a stone in your hand as you circle the Litha bonfire, and whisper your request to the stone — “heal my mother” or “help me be more courageous”, for example. After your third turn around the fire, toss the stone into the flames.
Astrologically, the sun is entering Cancer, which is a water sign. Midsummer is not only a time of fire magic, but of water as well. Now is a good time to work magic involving sacred streams and holy wells. If you visit one, be sure to go just before sunrise on Litha, and approach the water from the east, with the rising sun. Circle the well or spring three times, walking deosil, and then make an offering of silver coins or pins.
Sun wheels were used to celebrate Midsummer in some early Pagan cultures. A wheel — or sometimes a really big ball of straw — was lit on fire and rolled down a hill into a river. The burned remnants were taken to the local temple and put on display. In Wales, it was believed that if the fire went out before the wheel hit the water, a good crop was guaranteed for the season.
In Egypt, the Midsummer season was associated with the flooding of the Nile River delta. In South America, paper boats are filled with flowers, and then set on fire. They are then sailed down the river, carrying prayers to the gods. In some traditions of modern Paganism, you can get rid of problems by writing them on a piece of paper and dropping them into a moving body of water on Litha.
William Shakespeare associated Midsummer with witchcraft in at least three of his plays. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, and The Tempest all contain references to magic on the night of the summer solstice.
Author: Patti Wigington
Website: Article found on & owned by About.com
a guide to the symbolism of the Wiccan Sabbat
by Arwynn MacFeylynnd
Date: December 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.