4 Ways to Observe the Summer Solstice
The longest day of the year is upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere. The length of our daylight hours are getting just a bit longer each day, and soon, on the 20th, the daylight will begin to lessen more and more.
This is a time to celebrate being able to be outdoors and enjoy the sun. Celebrating the Summer Solstice, or Litha, is as simple as going outside and breathing in the summer heat. There are, of course, other ways to celebrate this summer holiday.
What is Litha or the Summer Solstice?
Midsummer, also known as Litha or the Summer Solstice, is the time of the year that marks the beginning of summer. In the Northern Hemisphere that occurs around June 21st. It corresponds with the transition from Gemini into Cancer and happens to be the one day of the year where the daylight hours are the longest. From this day forth, the daylight hours will start to get shorter and shorter.
In some Wiccan traditions, the Summer Solstice marks the time when the Oak and Holly Kings confront each other again. This time, the Oak King is defeated, giving way for the Holly King to start ruling the dark half of the year. Other traditions celebrate the Horned God and the changing aspects of the Triple Goddess.
It is a time of sun, light, and abundance. Not yet a time to harvest all the fruits of one’s labor, but a time in which things are beginning to grow more and more. It is an excellent time to work with solar and fire energies. It is a time of action and pushing ahead.
Some Outside Resources and Videos
Aine, Aphrodite, Anuket, Brigantia, Saule, Demeter, Rhiannon, Great Mother Goddess
Ra, Apollo, Belinos, Helios, Balder and Hoder, Oak and Holly King, Green Man
Other Sun deities
Photo by Padre_moovi on Unsplash
Bees, Bull, Butterflies, Cow, Hawks and Eagles, Horse, Swallows
Symbols and Colors
Balefire or bonfire, cauldron, faeries, rosettes and roses, sacred wells, solar cross/sun wheel, spinning wheels, spirals, wand
Gold, Green, Orange, Red, White, Yellow
Food and Drink
Berries, cheese, cinnamon toast, grapes, honey, lemons, oranges, peaches, pears, pine nuts, pumpernickel bread, spinach, summer squash, sunflower seeds, sun-dried tomatoes, barbecue
Ale, lemonade, mead, milk, mint tea, sun tea, wine
Plants, Herbs, Incense, etc.
Cinnamon, Foxglove, Mistletoe, Mugwort, Rosemary, St. John’s Wort, Vervain, Yarrow
Elder, Hazel, Oak, Rowan
Chamomile, Daisy, Heather, Lavender, Marigold, Meadowsweet, Rose
Carnelian, Citrine, Diamond, Emerald, Jade, Peridot, Tiger Eye
Ways to Celebrate
Host a Bonfire
The start of summer is a great time to host a bonfire to celebrate Midsummer. Invite some friends over and get a good fire going. Sit around in the evening around the fire and share some laughs and stories. Relax and make it fun for yourselves. Have your guests pitch in for ingredients to make S’mores or other campfire goodies. Make it a BYOB.
Photo by Tegan Mierle on Unsplash
Many traditions, pagan and otherwise, observe holidays with a period of fasting. This is a time of growth and abundance, so observing with a short fasting period may be a way for you to celebrate this solstice. Take a relatively short fast during the daylight hours of the solstice and eat again at sunset.
* Always check with your doctor first to make sure fasting is safe for you.
If you have started a garden this year, you may have some herbs ready to harvest. Take some time on the solstice to gather the appropriate herbs. As you cut them, focus on the sun’s healing and life giving energy. Then be sure to thank the plant and store the herbs appropriately. The herbs you gather on the solstice will be potent for healing and abundance magick.
Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash
Stay Up All Day and Night
Vigils are a common practice for solstice holidays. If you haven’t done one before, consider waking up just before sunrise on the day of the solstice and stay awake all day and night up until sunrise the next day. Spend time in meditation throughout the day and night when your schedule allows. Be sure to spend time outside in the sunlight as well if you can.
A vigil is a good way to observe the passing of time, taking note of the length of the day and the night.
Additional Ways to Celebrate
- Set up your seasonal altar with images and items from the correspondence list above. Pick an altar cloth in the color of your choice. Print a picture of a deity or animal of choice. Make a sun wheel to decorate your altar with.
- Cast a spell for healing or abundance.
- Spend as much time outdoors as possible to soak up the sun’s energy.
- Work with the faeries.
The Summer Solstice is an excellent time of the year to remember the growth and abundance in our lives. The light of the sun is shining brightly for most days, ready to imbue you with its warmth and healing.
Takes some time to celebrate it this year and share with us on social media how you are observing Midsummer this year.