Litha: The Summer Solstice + Ritual
Posted on June 20 2018
The following is an excerpt on the holidays of the witch and the Summer Solstice (Litha) taken from Gabriela Herstik’s book “Craft: How To Be A Modern Witch.”
Holidays Of The Witch
The witch lives by the cycle not only of the Moon but also of the Sun. We acknowledge the Cosmos as these heavenly bodies are reborn, growing and dying each year. Each month, witches celebrate the full Moon through gatherings known as full Moon esbats, although esbats can be held at other times depending on when a coven chooses to meet up.
Witches celebrate sabbats to mark the passing of the seasons. These include the Equinoxes and the Winter and Summer Solstices, as well as the days falling halfway between these, which are known as cross-quarter days. The sabbats are the high and holy days for the witch, when the atmosphere is charged like electricity for magick, manifestation and reflection. The right sabbatas from what’s known as the Wheel of the Year.
We celebrate the sabbats as a way to connect with the Earth and her changing seasons. We celebrate as our ancestors did thousands of years ago- to connect us to that ancient power that comes from living by the cycles of the Sun and Moon.
Each holiday is celebrated with a corresponding altar and ritual. Read through each holiday below a couple times so you grow familiar with all of them. All of the suggestions can be adapted; get creative if you wish to celebrate with your loved ones or friends. The ritual should feel good for you.
The Wheel of the Year is different depending on which hemisphere you live in . The diagram shows the Wheel of the Year for the Northern hemisphere, when summer falls in June and winter in December.
Lap it up, baby! It’s summer! Time to let go of the winter blues and step into your most beautiful, expansive self. Midsummer is the longest day of the year and the shortest night. It’s also the beginning of the waning season. Today is the energetic climax of the year, when the Sun is at his peak. It’s time to celebrate all the love we’ve given, all the ass we’ve kicked, all the work we’ve put in and all we’ve accomplished in the past six months. Midsummer is when the Cosmos is holding and supporting us, when we’re allowed to release anything we’ve been keeping in. What creative venture is waiting to burst forth? What can you continue to nurture into the next season?
How to decorate your altar: roses and other summer flowers; red, gold or orange candles; a chalice or cauldron filled with water; bundles of red and white heather; oak and holly leaves; and the Sun tarot card.
Non-ritual ways to celebrate: make a bonfire; swim in the ocean or a pool; take a walk in the park; and leave an offering for the faeries. You can drink wine in a field with lovers or friends; buy yourself some flowers; wear sunny, golden colours; make love and enjoy the energetic peak of the year.
You’ll need: a rose for each person taking part; a cauldron or bowl; oil with properties that relate to what you’re manifesting (if you choose); herbs such as lavender, St John’s wort, sage, mint (which are all linked to this time of year); crystals like carnelian, clear quartz, citrine, tiger’s eye and garnet; a pen (gold or silver ink would be best, but black will still work).
» Find a space where you can remain undisturbed.
» Ground yourself.
» Cast a circle.
» Settle yourself down in the centre of your circle with your roses and crystals.
» Then say: ‘On this Summer Solstice day, these roses listen and hear my prayers. May they manifest with ease and grace, all while working in my highest favour.’
» State an intention as you pick a petal from the rose. You can use the same intention on multiple petals, picking them individually or as a bunch, dropping each of them into the cauldron or bowl.
» If you are performing this ritual with others, take turns, with each of you holding the space as the other declares his or her intention.
» If you wish, write what you want to manifest on the petals.
» Continue until your roses hold no more petals.
» Now make an offering of your herbs and oils, adding these to the cauldron or bowl. The flowers are beings who hear you: know that they are listening, and feel what it will be like when you manifest your intentions.
» Imagine the energy accumulating from the ritual you’ve just completed, then rising in the form of a cone of power, extending from the base of your circle and tapering up over your head. This is when you’re releasing your magick and energy into the Universe so it can do its work.
» Feel this energy leaving you until you feel settled.
» Close the circle.
» Ground your power.
» Take the rose petals somewhere outside. If there is a natural body of water near you, this would be ideal. Cast the petals to the wind or water, thanking them for their work and returning them to the Earth as an offering. You can also make oil from the roses, or sew them into a pink sachet with rosemary and tuck it into your pillow.
Gabriela Herstik is a writer, fashion alchemist, witch and author of "Craft: How To Be A Modern Witch," and the upcoming "Inner Witch" out through TarcherPerigee September 2018. Follow her on Instagram: @gabyherstik