Tag Archive | Light

Litha~Summer Solstice

“Summer set lip to earth’s bosom bare, and left the flushed print in a poppy there.” Francis Thompson

Many have varying views on summer and it’s significance to them. Take a moment to think about what summer means to you. Perhaps it’s warmth, tank tops and flip-flops, fireworks, road trips, BBQs, and bonfires. There’s excitement, energy, a joy for life, wanting to go-go-go! This type of energy present is very masculine, very active, and very bursting with fruition! There’s still a potentiality in the air though we are beginning to witness intentions set at the new year blossom and grow into manifestation. Amazing, huh?

Carnival

4th of July Celebration @ Fairview Park | Centralia | Illinois | United States

Well, the very first day of summer (the summer solstice) marks the celebration of all of this and more. Also known as Litha, this sabbat is overflowing with light, passion, creativity, and oh so much more. It’s when the Sun God is at His height of power and this is evident by this being the longest day of the year. He is basking and shining radiantly upon all His children. The Goddess is pregnant with (1) the harvest we’ll reap in the fall and (2) the Sun God who’ll be reborn at Yule. While it’s most certainly a festival of celebration and enjoyment, it is also tinged with a underlying sadness as we understand that after this the God will be in decline as we enter the dark half of the year. Night begins growing once more as we head towards Mabon (the autumn equinox) where day and night are equal. After that, the nights are longer than the days.

No reason not to celebrate what we have presently though which is definitely a beautiful lesson in being present, gratitude, and making the best of any situation.

“The great gift of the energy of the Summer Solstice is that it’s designed to move you from one phase to the next on your terms.” Deborah King

Litha occurs anywhere from the 20th to the 23rd of June (I just use a farmer’s almanac to 3dcb427f44466b32c9a293a04021e247find the Summer Solstice) though traditionally it happened when the sun was in 1 degree of Cancer. Wait, what? Yeah, I was confused as well. A solar festival—like the BIGGEST solar festival—is during a water sign?! However, I soon realized that was the beauty of it! It’s when the Sun God is at his pinnacle point in the year and alongside Him, equal, is His consort, His wife, the Goddess. Neither one is pushed aside for the other. They both stand together in harmony and brilliance.

“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.” Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty

This is the classic time for magick! One example would be how the morning dew of this day was supposed to be powerful for glamour so young ladies would venture out to bathe in this dew for a youthful appearance. Herbs collected at Midday (when the Sun is at His height of the day) today are incredibly potent. It is also on this day the fairies are 2196a0ced2774b8a0929007a3679ce3dout as they too revel in delight. Invoke their aid and do not forget to thank them—not so much with words but perhaps a bowl of milk or butter! You do not want to offend the Good Folk. Any spells for protection are great for today.

On this day the Oak and Holly Kings dual again with the Holly King winning. This also marks the transition of the Sun God into the Grain God who will be sacrificed during the harvest. The Goddess is mostly seen as Gaia who nourishes and sustains us daily. However, all solar deities are appropriate  as well as Father Gods, Mother Goddesses, and Pregnant Deities.

Local flowers—especially sunflowers, bright colors, and all things that symbolize summer are welcomed on the altar as well as décor around the home. Think of colors you naturally turn to during this time of year and more than likely most of them can be found in nature during this time which means go for them when decorating. Yellow, Orange, Red, Gold, ad Green are traditional with blue being great for Cancer. However, brown and/or tan is also permissible. I like to use many reds and yellows alongside greens for this particular sabbat.

Quick Correspondence List:

  • Symbols: Fire, The Sun, Blades, Oak Trees, Bonfires, Sun Wheels, and Fairies.
  • Animals: Horses, Cattles, and Summer Birds
  • Crystals/Stones: Emerald, Tiger’s Eye, Lapis Lazuli, and Ruby
  • Herbs: Frankincense, Lemon, Sandalwood, Copal, Saffron, Cinnamon, Laurel, and Orange

This is a sabbat of duality. Not only are we celebrating and honoring the Sun God in all His glory but also preparing for the harvest we know is coming. We honor the Pregnant Goddess and the beginning of the waning year. We delight in the light while acknowledging the beginning of the dark half of the year.

 

Some Activities:

  • Watch the Sun Rise and Set
  • Bask in the Summer Heat. Get outside!
  • Give Offerings to the Fairies.—Make Some Fairy Butter!
  • Bless Fathers                                          download
  • Tie Cinnamon Bundles for Protection
  • Create Protective Herbal Blends
  • Communicate with the Fairies
  • Create Smudge Bundles
  • Have a Bonfire
  • Take a Walk
  • Have a Picnic
  • Make Sun Tea (this is a favorite of mine!)

Some Resources:

These are where I got loads of my information. Check them out! 😊

  • Sabbats: A Witch’s Approach to Living the Old Ways by Edain McCoy
  • Solitary Witch: The Ultimate Book of Shadows by Silver Ravenwolf
  • Wicca by Scott Cunningham
  • Wicca by D.J. Conway
  • The Simple Sabbat: A Family-Friendly Approach to the Eight Pagan Holidays by M. Flora Peterson
  • Litha-The Witch’s Zodiac with Laura Daligan and Zoe Hind
  • CharmingPixieFlora’s videos (I don’t think they are still available)

A song that I found on youtube that really reasonates with this Sabbat and connects me to it is: Celtic Woman-Tir Na Nog

I had class on Litha last summer and I listened to this song on repeat on my drive there and back (no joking lol I LOVE it) and it helped keep the vibe going. 😊

 

The Brightest of Summer Blessings,

The Autumn Witch

 

AW Litha

 

 

 

Imbolc

Imbolc was always one of the sabbats when I first started upon my path which didn’t resonate with me nor did it spark any interest within my spirit. I repeatedly skipped over it until I happened upon a video that for some reason really shifted this forgotten sabbat into the forefront for me. Indeed, now I constantly find myself excitedly preparing for this festival of purification and rebirth. I feel it’s one that has slipped into the background for most who simply aren’t certain how to go about celebrating it. This was my problem and hopefully, this post will rectify that for many. This is information I have either gleaned from other sources and compiled or have intuitively decided upon.

Take a moment and let’s imagine: we’ve traveled in time. The winters are harsh and bleak and a good harvest season meant life or death. The food is steadily dwindling, the weather is bitter and cold and yet, despite all of this, you’ve noticed the sun is slowly lingering in the sky but for a moment or two longer. You glance outside and notice a few snowdrops beginning to push their way through the snow. How does that make you feel? You glance up and notice the seagulls are returning and it’s then you realize there are just as many seagulls now as there are blackbirds who have been some of your only animal companions throughout this season. I guarantee one of the feelings you’d be overcome with is relief. Relief as you know spring is coming. It might be a ways off, but sure enough it’ll come.

Very Aquarian sort of energy-the visionary-who can see off and know change is coming. At least, that’s how I understand it and indeed, Imbolc occurs when the sun is in 15 degrees of Aquarius. Typically this is around the 2nd of February and this year this holy day falls upon 1 February 2017. It’s fast approaching and after the revelry of Yule, Christmas, and New Year’s, this sabbat can sneak up on you without much warning! Perhaps, though, that’s because we’ve become to focused and busy on our resolutions and life that we forget to pause and look around at what’s happening in nature. I’ve recently noticed a gathering of seagulls in the Walmart parking lot and laughed because I knew they return near Imbolc. However, I hadn’t realized the date and thought they’d returned a bit too early. Nope. Right on time, as always….or at least where I live at, anyways.

Thinking on seagulls, snow, ice, the cold winter, and snowdrops, it’s easy to figure out the colors for this sabbat which are blue and white. You could say gold or yellow for the sun whose light is slowing returning but green, a deep and dark green, is a traditional color as this is the color of Brigit’s cloak who is honored during this sabbat. One of the other names for this time is St. Brighid’s Day as well as Candlemas. These are the three most popular though there are many others.

Though any Maiden Goddess would be appropriate, and even Mother Goddesses, Brighid is traditionally honored. This made Imbolc also a day I didn’t feel any sort of connection to as I didn’t really follow a Celtic path-though there certainly are Pagans who follow the Wheel of the Year while they walk on different paths. I will do another post on Brighid later, before tomorrow, so you may explore Her a bit more. 🙂 Now, if we look more into what Imbolc means, we find many translate it as “ewe’s milk” since this is when the ewe’s begin lactating which would’ve been a very much welcomed occurrence. Due to the origin of the word, it’s only natural ewes and lambs would be symbols of this sabbat but we also find robins, deer, and burrowing animals. Think-any animals you see at this time of year.

Yes, yes, but what does this sabbat celebrate?! Imbolc marks the halfway mark between the Winter Solstice (Yule) and the Spring Equinox (Ostara). It’s about the returning light, purification, rebirth, and cleansing. This is a good time to make offerings to the Gods. Symbols for this sabbat are candles, The Bride, Burrowing Animals, The Equal-armed cross, spirals, Grain Dolly, Sun Wheels, and Candlewheels. Want to add some kitchen witchery into the mix? Food for this Sabbat are milk, anything dairy, sour cream dishes, spicy food, spiced wine, food with raisins, honey cakes,  honey, poultry, pork and lamb.

This is just a brief picture of this exceptionally bright and exciting time. Following is a list of some activities to celebrate as well as a list of my sources. 🙂

  • Watch the sun rise and set
  • Make Honey Cake
  • Cleanse and Dedicate Tools
  • Give Offerings
  • Perform spells with snow and ice
  • Self-Dedications
  • Use Candles throughout the home
  • Light candles in every room or have the lights on in every room for a few moments to welcome light back
  • Visit any magickal wells within your neighborhood
  • Research Brighid

 

Sources:

 

Brightest of Blessings and Blessed Imbolc,

The Autumn Witch