Litha Short History

Litha is the Wiccan Sabbat that marks the Summer Solstice and usually occurs around June 21. It marks the first day of summer on traditional calendars, but it is actually the Midsummer mark for Pagans.

Litha marks the longest day of the year, the day when the sun reaches its apex and is aspected to zero degrees Cancer. This is a day that celebrates the God in all his glory. It is also the time of year when the Goddess is glowing with motherhood in her pregnancy.

In Wiccan lore, once again the Holly King and the Oak King battle. This time, it is the Holly King who is victorious, and from this point on, the days grow shorter.

For those of you familiar with Shakespeare, you might remember the play centered around the Solistice: “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream”. It is believed that Midsummer Night’s Eve is a special time for those who believe in the Faerie traditions. Like Samhain, this is a day where the veils are thin between the realms of the Sidhe (the Faerie realm) and the world of mortals. It is a time for merriment and the making of wishes.

Litha marks the first of three harvest celebrations. This is the time to gather the herbs from your garden. Tradition suggests using your boline or a scythe to cut the plant by the moonlight. Some suggest chanting the use of the planet while doing so.

Honey is a popular symbol for this time (one of the names of the June Full Moon is the Honey Moon). Serving Meade as well as dipping your cake in honey during the feast part of your ritual, symbolizes the sweetness of life and the season.

As we’ve seen happen in the past, Christianity has tried to hone in on our holiday. They have declared it John the Baptist’s birthday. I’ve read that other Saints in the Church are remembered on the day they’ve died. But not so with John the Baptist. He is the only Saint recognized on his birthday. They celebrate the Solstice with the Jack-in-the-Green to the Feast of St. John the Baptist, often portraying him in rustic attire, sometimes with horns and cloven feet (like Pan).

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