Litha — the summer solstice — falls on June 21st this year. The exact time is at 8:54 AM, PDT. The summer solstice means different things to different pagans, and all of these traditions can be right.
In my tradition, we usually celebrate the Oak King/Holly King duality, when the Oak King falls in battle, along with the waxing half of the year, as the Holly King rises to rule over the waning half of the year. At times we have held ritual battles — ritual theater, so to speak — to portray this. Other times we just acknowledge the battle going on between the light and the dark, between the seasons of planting and growth, and the seasons of harvest and fallowness. And this year will be no different, as we honor the fall of the Oak King and cheer the rise of the Holly.
But it’s also the season of the Fae, and since I serve a goddess of Dark Fae (Mielikki is also a goddess of the Hunt), I always acknowledge the Fae at this time of year, for it seems to be the height of their interaction with our world.
The summer solstice is the dividing point between seasons. I’ve always viewed it as Midsummer instead of the beginning of summer.
From my perspective:
- Summer begins at Beltane and ends at Lughnasadh. (Beltane & Litha)
- Autumn begins at Lughnasadh and ends at Samhain. (Lughnasadh & Mabon)
- Winter begins at Samhain and ends at Imbolc. (Samhain & Yule)
- Spring begins at Imbolc and ends at Beltane. (Imbolc & Ostara)
On summer solstice, it’s a good time to look toward the coming autumn, and decide what projects you want to engage in your life come the autumn months. The harvest is a busy time, and the lazy days of summer die away quickly, so it’s always good to get a head start by planning out what projects you want to begin at the next turn of the wheel.
The summer solstice is a the best time to recharge from the long winter, to shore up your health with fresh vegetables and fruits, and—if it doesn’t bother you — get some much-needed vitamin D into your system. You might choose to plan a camping trip during Litha, and celebrate it by the side of a river, or maybe at the ocean shore.
Whatever you choose to do, I encourage you to leave an offering out for the Fae. At this time, more than any other, we can use their help in the gardens and with our plants and our yards. The Fae who are nature spirits, as opposed to some of the Tuatha De Dannan, need to be acknowledged for their part in the Turn of the Wheel. It never hurts to leave a reminder of how much we appreciate their help and presence in our lives. Some sparkly stones for your garden, a jug of cream, a dish of honey, a bottle of wine, anything but money is usually appreciated.
I wish you a wonderful summer solstice. Have a blessed Litha, as we head into the waning half of the year. Blessed be, Yasmine.