One way that I like to connect with the seasons and cycles of the earth is by tuning into The Wheel of the Year.
This is a relatively new practice for me, but I’m finding the journey into exploring this way of being in flow with the seasons to be an enjoyable one!
Read on to discover how you can connect more deeply with the earth’s natural cycles in your spiritual practice…
The Wheel of the Year can help you tune into natural cycles and helps you internalize these outward changes in nature as reflections of the growth and evolution you experience in your own life. Living in harmony with the seasons and the ebb and flow of nature helps you to lead a more soulful life and to cultivate a deeper understanding of yourself on a soul level. The Wheel of the Year helps you recognize who you are and your role in the world around you.
So what is the Wheel of the Year?
Separated into 8 main holidays, the Wheel of the Year represents seasonal cycles that focus on the 4 Solar Holidays of the year (also known as the quarter days). This stems from the Anglo-Saxon cultural observations of the solstices and equinoxes, with the addition of the 4 Gaelic, agrarian, seasonal celebrations (the mid-points between the solar holidays known as the lunar cross-quarter days or fire festivals).
Although some of the holidays observed in the Wheel of the Year are quite old, The Wheel of the Year as a whole is fairly modern (being developed in the late 1950s). Though I don’t personally follow the tradition that created the contemporary Wheel of the Year, I find it a helpful way to think about the passage of time and what’s happening at each time of year.
An Introduction to Litha:
Litha, or the Summer Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere, is the second of the quarter days (the solar festivals), which marks the second of the summer holidays (the mid-point between Beltane and Lughnasadh/Lammas). Litha is traditionally celebrated on the longest day of the year, determined by when the Earth’s pole is at maximum tilt toward the sun (this date may range from June 20th-22nd each year in the Northern Hemisphere, and between December 20th-23rd in the Southern Hemisphere). From this point forward, the days will begin to grow shorter until we reach the time of equal day and night at the Autumn Equinox (Mabon), followed by the shortest day of the year at the Winter Solstice (Yule).
Modern Litha celebrations stem from the contemporary Wheel of the Year, where Litha is associated with Midsummer and is celebrated as a time to revere and honor the Sun and the gifts it bestows to us here on Earth. As this day is the longest of the year, it also has the shortest night, and in some modern spiritual paths, represents the death of the Sun King. To honor the Sun King, bonfires are often lit at sunset and a vigil is kept until dawn, to ensure his return.
Set up your Litha Altar with me!
Pyrite (especially Pyrite Sun formations)
- Ethiopian Opal
- Golden Calcite
Green Nephrite Jade
- Golden Healer Quartz
- Rose Quartz
- Lapis Lazuli
- Yellow Calcite
Litha Signifies the Time for:
- Change & New Directions
- Enlightenment, Divine Wisdom, & Illumination
- Peace & Tranquility
- Inner Flame
- Emotional Expression
- Inner Truth
Why celebrate Litha?
Litha celebrates the peak of Summer and honors the light of the Sun on this, the longest day of the year. At this time, plants are lush and full of fragrant blossoms. The air is filled with their heady aroma and the sound of summer birds and insects can be heard for most of the day and the night.
Litha is a time to honor the Sun for its ability to bring lush growth and abundance to the land; it’s a time for great celebration. The Summer Solstice has long held significance in many cultures across the globe, and is still celebrated through ritual work and festivals. In some cultural celebrations, it marks the beginning of Summer, while in others, it marks MidSummer (the peak of Summer).
Ways to Celebrate Litha:
- Feasts are a common way to celebrate Litha
- Create a bouquet of Summer flowers (especially Sunflowers, Dahlias, or Lilies) and place it on your altar or in your home (gather them only from places where you have permission, take only what you need, and leave much more than you take)
- Prepare a salad with summer vegetables (grown yourself or carefully foraged) – even better…turn it into a Summer picnic!
- Go on a walk or hike in nature and take some photos that capture the peak of Summer (you can even print these and put them on your altar or create some Litha-themed Grimoire pages)
- Charge your crystals in the Midsummer sunlight! Place your crystals outside or on a windowsill (direct light is not necessary – and in fact, should be avoided if working with Quartz Crystals since they can magnify the Sun’s rays and start fires – especially Quartz spheres) to capture the energy of this special day and work with it in ritual and ceremony throughout the year.
- Create a nature altar for summer (add your items dedicated to nature, or collect natural items to add – only collect with permission – please be respectful)
- Tend your garden, pick fruits, and harvest summer vegetables
- Make an herbal Sun tea (or an herbal-infused lemonade!) using your favorite Litha herbs (work only with those that are safe for consumption)
- Enjoy the delicious treat of some honey or honeycomb
- Light a bonfire at sunset and tend the flames while reflecting on all that you are grateful for (recognize the bounty in your life) – Before extinguishing the fire, carefully light a candle from the flames of this fire for your altar to carry the energy of Litha into your upcoming magical workings…extinguish the candle once you’ve brought it to your altar, knowing that each time you light it again, you’ll bring in the energy of the Sun (always be safe when working with fire!)
Litha Goddesses, Gods, or Deities:
- Apollo (Greek)
- Hestia (Greek)
- Sulis (Celtic)
- Athena (Greek)
- Minerva (Roman)
- Sol (Roman)
- Olwen (Celtic)
- Macha (Celtic)
- Belenos (Celtic)
- Oak King (Modern Wiccan)
- Artmeis (Greek)
- Diana (Roman)
- Helios (Greek)
- Mother Earth/Mother Nature
- Gaia (Greek)
- Etain (Celtic)
- Aine (Celtic)
- Sunna/Sol (Germanic)
- Hemera (Greek)
- Morgen Gliten of Avalon (Modern Avalonian Priestess Path)
- The Lady of the Lake (Arthurian Legend & Modern Avalonian Priestess Path)
- Domnu/Mother of Water (Celtic & Modern Avalonian Priestess Path)
Sun (also Sun Wheel of Sun Disc)
Coins (especially Gold-colored coins)
Honey & Honeycomb
Cakes (especially honey cakes)
- Peony Blossoms
- Holy Wells
- Birds (especially Hawks, Sparrows, Wrens, and Hummingbirds)
- Bird Nests
- Stone Megaliths/Standing Stones
- Red Clover
- Garden Sage
- Clary Sage
- Dog Rose
- Star Anise
- Echinacea (Coneflower)
- Lemon Verbena
- Elder Flower
- St. John’s Wort
- Tea Tree
Litha is also known as (or is related to):
Summer Solstice (Determined by when the Earth’s pole is at maximum tilt toward the sun, resulting in the longest day of the year in that hemisphere – sometime between June 20th-22nd each year in the Northern Hemisphere, and between December 20th-23rd in the Southern Hemisphere)
- Gathering Day (Welsh – Celebrated on the Summer Solstice – The first of 3 annual harvests when summer vegetables, healing herbs, and honey were collected)
- Alban Hefin (Neo-Druid – Celebrated on the Summer Solstice)
- St. John’s Feast Day/Feast of St. John the Baptist
- The Longest Day
- Kupala Night/Noc Kupa?y (Poland)
- Jaanipäev/St. John’s Day (Estonia)
- Juhannus (Finland)
- Jani (Latvia)
- Rasos/St. Jonas’ Festival (Lithuania)
- Tiregan (Iran)
- Sommersonnenwende (Germany)
- Grianstad an tSamhraidh (Ireland)
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*If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ll be celebrating the festival of Yule today instead of Litha to keep with the seasonal cycles. In the Southern Hemisphere, Litha is usually celebrated during the time of the Northern Hemisphere’s Winter Solstice.
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