litha/summer solstice

Litha/Summer Solstice

Pronunciation: LEE-tha
June 20-22
Themes: abundance, growth, masculine energy, love, magic. celebrate your success, your family, and your good fortune.
Other Names: Midsummer, Midsummer’s Eve,
St. John’s Day, St. John’s Eve

Litha, or Summer Solstice is the last chance in the year to activate intentions before we move into Autumn and the season of reaping and rest. All four elements are joined together to celebrate the duality inherent in nature, the light and the dark. Daylight is at it’s longest on this day, a day to soak up the sun and nap in the warm abundant energy of the sun, as now our days will grow shorter and become cooler. A time to celebrate the light and the remaining days of summer and tap into our inner power to make dreams and plans come true. Fire plays a very prominent role in this celebration. The element of Fire is the most easily seen and immediately felt element of transformation. It can burn, consume, destroy, cook, and of course, be a source of light and warmth.

In ancient time, the Summer Solstice was a fire festival of great importance when the burning of bonfires, or then known as balefires ritually honored the sun and the Gods. Torchlight processions with flaming tar barrels or by wheels bound with straw, which were set alight and rolled down steep hillsides walked towards the place of the balefire and the celebrants. The Norse loved lengthy processions and would gather together the whole family along with their animals and lighted torches and parade through the countryside to the celebration site to drive out evil and bring fertility and prosperity to men, the last crops of the season and their herds.

This is a celebration of the sun and the warmth that still covers the land. Colors of reds, golds and yellows symbolize this. Colors of greens , browns, and blues represent the colors of the earth during summer. Decorations can include images or artwork representing the sun, colorful pinwheels, sunflowers or other orange and yellow flowers, green leaves off the tree, and oak trees and acorns are associated with solar power, strength and energy, and they also represent the very masculine energy of the Solstice.

In yogic traditions, on the day of the solstice, we practice 108 Sun Salutations. Ultimately, today is a day where to honor the sun.
It’s all about light.
It’s about awakening to the light and power within each and every one of us. It’s about the triumph of light over darkness. Which we need now more than ever.

A Solar Summer Solstice Project

The summer solstice, marks the zenith of the sun, the longest day of the year, when the sun’s power is at its peak. The moment of peak power is very, very brief. Our ancestors built huge bonfires on this day to celebrate their connection to the vital power of the immense burning star that keeps our planet bright, warm, and alive. Hundreds of years ago on the summer solstice, our ancestors sat in sun-drenched fields or on stones as warm as a living body, fashioning small round suns from straw or vines, decorating them with sun colored flowers, honoring the mysterious, fiery light that warmed and brightened their days and made the plants grow that fed them.

The summer solstice is a perfect time to help children make a tangible connection with the earth, to connect with the sun, to invite solar power into their lives. If you and they make a round, golden image while sitting in the strongest sunlight of the year, allowing it to shine on and infuse your creations, you bring that strong, life-promoting energy indoors with you when you are done.

Here are just a few ideas for possible materials to get going. Chances are that the kids will come up with their crafty ideas that will work just as well. The it just should be round and that its colors evoke the sun’s warmth and energy. Try your best to make your images outdoors in the sunshine.

  • Grapevine wreaths make excellent bases, which may then be decorated with fresh or dried flowers and yarn or ribbons.
  • You can home-dye your yarn and ribbon using onion skins to achieve a rich terracotta or golden yellow, depending on how long you boil them in the pot with the skins. Modeling clay comes in many types, some self-hardening or bakeable. Get out the toothpicks, chopsticks, and other carving implements, and make suns with jolly faces.
  • Children of all ages enjoy finding four slender sticks from the yard, crossing them to make an asterisk shape with eight spokes reminiscent of the eight celebrations (festivals) of the year and winding brightly colored yarns and ribbons around and around to make a round variation of the sun. If four sticks are too bulky for small fingers to manage, use only three the solar shape is more hexagonal but still appealing.
  • Poke in a flower or two for an especially pleasing result—marigolds and daisies are the classic sunny favorites.

When the images are finished, you and the children may want to hold them up to the sky for a few moments so that the sun shines on them, before finding the perfect place in your house or outdoors to hang them.

Adapted from: Celebrating The Great Mother, A Handbook of Earth-Honoring Activities for Parents and Children, by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw

Making A Sundial

You can also honor the sun by creating a permanent or temporary sundial.  Sundials are some of the oldest forms telling time as the sun moves across the sky, and they are a wonderful way to connect with the movement of the sun across time. 

To work with the sun, you need a timer or clock that can go off on the hour. You will want to place whatever you are using for your sundial and place it in the full sun. You can do this with something as simple as, a pencil and a paper plate.  Or, you can get more elaborate and plan on carving, drawing or painting a round made of paper, wood, etc.. as your canvas.  Put your dial into an area that gets full sun. On each hour, mark it. Do it in pencil, and then later, you can come back to it and mark it more permanently with whatever craft supply you decide on (paint, marker, etc…).  You have begun your sundial. But, the sun’s position in the sky changes, so to really do this perfectly, you would do this again at the winter solstice.  Draw a line between the marks for summer and winter, and those are your times for the dial.  While it takes you a full season to complete the sundial, it’s a fun and meaningful solstice craft.  If you want to get really fancy, do this at the equinox (either one) and then you can also have a mid point for the equinox.  It’s kind of beautiful to have done this by observing and marking the path of the sun at three integral and sacred points of the year, while honoring the energies of each of those points. This sundial becomes a very special piece on your journey through the solstices!

Candle Magic

Light some candles 🔥 Since the Solstice revolves around the sun, a candle should be lit for the entire day, especially if it is cloudy or raining. Good candles to burn on this day are; sage, mint,lavender and basil scented/oil infused ones. Candle colors of greens, oranges or purples set the theme nicely.

Personally, my favorite way to honor the solstice is a fire burning ritual.

1. On a piece of paper, write down what you’re ready to release. What can you make a conscious effort to shift in your life? How can you dissolve old beliefs or habits to help use your light to drown out the darkness that surrounds us all? How can your inner power be a catalyst for the liberation of all beings?

2. Let it burn. Use a candle or if you have a fire pit or bonfire burning, even better. Put your paper and your intention in the fire. Watch the smoke rise and let it be a symbol of release.

This has always been a simple but powerful ritual. However you celebrate today, there’s no right or wrong way. Show gratitude & appreciation for the life that surrounds us thanks to the sun, and then think about how you’re going to use your own light and power to make this world a better place.

The Summer Solstice Cave Meditation Ritual

You will need…

  • Candle
  • Yoga props, cushions or pillows, something for seated comfort
  • Tastes of the season (fruits, veggies, etc…), enough for you to eat in one setting
  • Florals of the season (fresh flowers)
  • Mirror
  • Journal or notepad and something to write with

This should be done in the morning on Solstice day. Find a protected room or even a closet, where you are completely undisturbed. Create an atmosphere in which you feel comfortably seated and secure. Place a candle (safely) and surround yourself with scents and maybe even a seasonal food that you like. Take a mirror and look at yourself for at least 15 minutes. Ask yourself the question “Who am I”? You can calmly address it to yourself repeatedly. Make sure you stay in eye contact with yourself through the mirror. Write down all of your answers. Then tell yourself that you trust yourself while not losing eye contact. What happens if you can trust yourself? Write down all feelings and emotions that arise. Conclude your ritual by eating the food that you have made available. Be aware of how the sun nurtured it just as you are nurturing yourself, as it was in the womb. And as you feed yourself, thank the sun and yourself for it. Finally, after eating and journaling, emerge reborn from your cave and go ioutside and soak up the Solstice sun!! You can also incorporate this ritual into your routine after the summer solstice in order to build more connection to your inner nourishing power.

Summer Solstice What Should The Future Bring?

What you’ll need….

  • Candle or bonfire (lit)
  • 8 rounded stones or rocks
  • Any other symbols of power or energy to you (see below)
  • Journal or notebook and something to write with

This ritual is performed with fire or with a candle, depending on what’s available. Place a circle of 8 rounded stones or rocks around the fire or the candle, they will represent the 8 sun festivals, the 4 cardinal points and the 4 elements. You can also place other items like flowers or power animal (oracle/totem) cards in or on the circle, whatever feels right for you. Have your paper and pen ready. Before you start the actual ritual, find a space of silence for a moment. Come into the here and now – and let yourself be guided by the power of the summer solstice and love. Then it’s time to reflect. What has happened in the past six months, what do you want to let go of and what are you thankful for? You can write these questions down on the paper provided and then burn them in the fire (or candle). Fire has a very transforming power. Give up everything and let it go – so that new things can emerge from the ashes.

Bath Ritual

It’s time to clear our energetic field, get some relaxation and re-energize! Things to have on hand:

  • Epsom salt (Dr Teals makes a salt that has different essential oils in it, it’s only about 4.99 a bag, you get a lot, you don’t need fancy salt.
  • Essential oils: For this ritual we will use Eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary and orange. All of these are for fatigue.
  • In addition you can also eat an orange and breathe in the peelings. A scented candle works too. While in the tub!
  • Incense help put you create a sacred space.
  • Music, soft instrument that you like. (I like pan flutes, and medieval music!
  • Candles
  • Something to sip on, maybe some sun tea or herbal infused tea.
  • Extras: Any flower petals or herbs and a sachet bag or fabric bag if you don’t wanna clean up a mess. Use any crystals associated with the Summer Solstice like; .
  • Optional: tint your bath water with safe food coloring or a bath bomb, (stain free). If you don’t have these, just imagine the color.

The colors to work with are blues like the sky or oranges and yellows like the sun, your choice! When you close your eyes see the color in your mind, imagine your tub water is that color.

Place a picture in your mind or you can look at a physical picture of one of your happiest days. Breathe in deep and hold it and as you let the breath out imagine all your worries, stress and cares fall off of you into the salt water. Don’t worry your body inst soaking in it, the salt is soaking it up.

As you drain the tub anything negative will go down the drain. EXTRA: A bowl of ice water with some lavender in it, maybe a lemon or orange slice ( keep your eyes closed) put some soft rags in it beside your tub, ring the rag out and place it over you eyes or your whole face.

By: Sage Goddess

Meditation

Sunrise Meditation

One option is to set sacred space adorned with with candles, incense, etc.,  Or you could be present at sunrise at the Solstice hour to do the meditation. Read slowly and reflect. Or you could memorize and meditate from memory and visualization. Or follow my lead…

Take a moment and be aware of where you are. Look around and make note of the space you are in and what surrounds you. How much of what you see is here with you because of sunlight? If you’re in a wood built building, physically connect with the trees that became the the building, even the furniture you sit upon daily. All made possible because of the sunlight that shines down on the trees. If you’re surrounded by a wooded area, look up and see the trees reaching towards the sky, the sunlight! Most of what we need to survive is connected to the sun. The food we grow, the chemical in our body called, serotonin boosted by the sun gives us energy and helps keep us calm, positive, and focused. Reflect on all the sun does for you in your daily life, consider what it would be like if the sunlight were permanently turned off. How much do we take for granted that the sunlight makes possible? Perhaps make your own list of what important things you have been gifted by the sun..

The Meditation

Turn your imagination towards the sun. You can close your eyes or not, you may prefer to see the shadows cast as the Solstice sun rises. Remember a time and place when you enjoyed the warmth of the sun on your skin. When you noticed your skin grow warmer and felt the warm air on your skin. Maybe it was at the beach or swimming pool, maybe it was the surprising warmth in winter as the rays of sunshine enveloped your car. Or when you were out sledding and the sun kissed your cheeks. Remember a special time with you and the sun, even if it was just sitting on your porch on a fall day when the sun broke through the chills on a windy day.

Now, visualize yourself back in that feeling, at that time, of enjoying the sunshine in its glory. Imagine that the sun is alive. Stars have life cycles. They are born, they have long lives, and they die. Is it possible, then, that they just may have a consciousness, too? Perhaps not a consciousness like we know consciousness to be, but unique unto itself. The ancient people believed that the sun was alive. So today in this moment, set aside all the logic you learned in school and believe that the sun is intelligent and all-seeing. Imagine that the Earth, too, has a consciousness, and that she is a child born of the Sun. You, in turn, are a child of the Earth. Without the Earth, there could be no humans. The Sun then would be our benevolent grandparent.

Take a moment to be in these benevolent rays of the warmth of the sun. Feel nurtured. Connect with the power of the Sun while in the protective cocoon of the Earth. Imagine the Sun giving you a tiny, tiny pinch of its power and placing it in your belly (sacral chakra). Wiggle your toes on the ground beneath your feet knowing that you are rooted in the Earth in innumerable ways. Smile. Feel the Sun and the Earth smiling with you.

This new little pinch of power is the Sun’s solstice gift to you. You can use it as you like. You can let it grow and share it with others. You can let it expand around you nurturing your aura. Think of all the ways you could use this pinch of Sun to make your life better. Feed it and let it grow, then give some of it back to the Earth and the Sun. It will have your fingerprint on it. We all have parts of us that can benefit the world and the cosmos. The Sun can help us activate them.

It is time to leave this contemplation but you can take it with you as you go do the things you have to do that don’t feel very magical. Remember the Sun and give your heart to it.

Sunset Meditation

Try celebrating the summer solstice with a seated meditation at sunset. The benefits involved when you meditate, such as calming the nervous system and improving a general sense of well-being, help to prepare the body and mind for a good night’s sleep. Conclude the extended solstice day with a few minutes (or an hour if you have time!) of silence and contemplation for deep relaxation….

Summer Solstice Meditation at Sunset

Summer Solstice Intentions/Activities

  • Bring the power of flowers🌼 into your home. Putting fresh flowers in your living room or using a fragrant garland would also elevate your spirits and inflow a calming positive energy for all family members.
  • Create a Summer Solstice altar, meditation space, prayer space, or simply decorate your fireplace hearth or around your home. Use whatever connects you to the summer sun, your own passion and light. Orange and red candles, gemstones such as; carnelian, fire opal or sunstone. Extra special is to use gemstones designed like flames. Gather summer flowers such as; calendula, sunflowers and roses. They are all associated with the Summer Solstice!
  • Charge your gemstones by summer sunlight. Sunlight just like Moonlight, brings it’s own energy to gemstones. Just bring them in before sunset (a couple hours in the sun is all they need) because after sunset they will begin being charged by the Moon.
  • Watch the sunrise and then watch the sunset.
  • Milk is associated with Summer Solstice and those who are followers of the Fae path will leave milk out for the Fae.
  • Make a Litha decoration from dried oranges.
  • Make or buy sun catchers and hang them!
  • Have an outdoor picnic to celebrate the sun and to welcome the Solstice.
  • Make some sun tea.
  • Make solar water by leaving a glass bowl or pitcher of spring water under the sun at midday for a few hours. Wonderful for plants after its cooled!!
  • Go on a hike.
  • Cloud divination.
  • Make flower and herb infused oils (see more below in links)
  • Make solar fruit water by leaving water with fruits in a closed glass jar for an hour or two in the sunshine.
  • Bird watch.
  • Build a faerie house.
  • Light a bonfire in the morning and keep it attended to and burning all day till sunset.


Foods Of The Summer Solstice

Herbal Lemon Cookies
(Author Unknown)
  • 1 cup Butter or margarine
  • 2 cups Sugar, divided
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3 cup Lemon Grass, Lemon Balm or Lemon Basil  chopped


Cream the butter and 1-3/4 cups sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and herbs. Add to the creamed mixture and mix. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls, 3 inches apart, on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork or cup bottom. Sprinkle lightly with the remaining sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until barely browned. Cool slightly, then remove to a rack.

Vegan Lasagna with Roasted Vegetables
  • 1/2 pounds eggplant (about 1 large or 2 small eggplants), sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 3/4 pound zucchini or yellow squash (about 2 zucchini), sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 10 ounces lasagna noodles (about 10 to 12 noodles)
  • 2 packages extra-firm tofu (about 28 ounces), drained of liquid
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried oregano)
  • 1/2 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • 12 to 15 torn basil leaves (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400° F. Arrange the eggplant slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with coarse salt. Allow them to sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Pat the eggplant slices dry to remove any moisture that has collected. Arrange the zucchini slices on another baking sheet. Brush all of the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and just browning. Remove them from the oven and reduce oven heat to 350° F.
  3. While the vegetables are roasting, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the lasagna noodles until they’re just al dente. Drain them and set aside. Next, use your hands to crumble the tofu finely in a large mixing bowl. Add in the nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice, oregano, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and black pepper to taste. Continue crumbling the mixture with your hands until it resembles ricotta. Check for seasoning and add lemon, dried herbs (if desired), and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Lightly oil a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce over the bottom of the dish. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles over the sauce, and top the noodles with half of the roasted vegetables. Spread half of the tofu mixture over the vegetables.
  5. Arrange 4 noodles and 1 cup of marinara sauce over the tofu. Cover the marinara sauce with the remaining roasted vegetables and tofu. Cover this layer with the 4 remaining lasagna noodles and a final cup of marinara sauce.
  6. Bake the lasagna for 40 minutes, or until noodles are crisping at the edges and everything is bubbling gently. Allow the lasagna to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Arrange the basil leaves, if you like, over the top of the lasagna. Cut and serve.
Raw Vegan Summer Recipe Fresh Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb broccoli florets
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced

Dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pinch lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon coconut vinegar
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnuts, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon basil, chiffonaded

Begin by adding your broccoli florets and cherry tomatoes to a mixing bowl. Now it’s time to make a dressing. In a separate bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice, and zest. Throw in some Dijon mustard, vinegar, black pepper, and salt. Give it a whisk until it’s an almost milky consistency. Pour the dressing over your broccoli and tomatoes, toss with your hands, then let sit for about an hour in the fridge. Add some hazelnuts and fresh basil, and there you have it. A fresh, raw, gluten-free salad for your mouth and your tummy!

Summer Solstice Strawberry-Mint Sun Tea

Ingredients:⠀

  • 6-8 C Water⠀
  • 4 tsp Ceylon OP⠀
  • 2-4 Mint Springs⠀
  • 30 Strawberries, frozen⠀
  • Ice cubes⠀
  • Simple Syrup or Honey to taste⠀
  • Fresh Strawberries and Mint leaves for garnish

The Magick Kitchen⠀
Get the Recipe here:  http://www.themagickkitchen.com/summer-solstice-strawberry-mint-sun-tea/

Rose Petal Almond Ice Pops

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • Petals from 3 organic roses
  • 1 cup rose water
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds
  • 4 ice pop wooden sticks
  • 4 9oz disposable paper cups
  • 4 4-inch aluminum foil sheets

Instructions

  1. Rinse rose petals in a bowl full of water. Drain and chop in small pieces.
  2. In a medium saucepan, over low to medium heat, place rose water, 1/2 cup water and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add rose petals.
  3. Heat for approximately 3 minutes, do not boil. Add milks and chopped almonds. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat.
  4. Pour half cup of rose/milk mixture in each disposable cup and cover with aluminum foil sheet.
  5. Carefully insert a wooden ice pop stick in the middle of each aluminum foil cover.
  6. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until completely frozen.
  7. To unmold the ice pops, run them under lukewarm water for 10 seconds then slide them from the molds.

SUMMER SOLSTICE SPARKLING CHAMOMILE SANGRIA


Summer Solstice Links

Summer Solstice in yogic tradition
Healing Herbs: Learn to Make Infused Oils and Balms
What is the summer solstice? Here’s what you need to know.
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge – English Heritage
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge Live