Litha is a festive Pagan holiday marking Mid-Summer and the Summer Solstice. Cultures from around the world have been celebrating this celestial event since antiquity. According to the Pagan calendar, summer begins on May 1st (Beltane) and ends on August 1st (Lughnassadh) with Litha marking the Mid-Summer point. On this day the sun reaches its apex and Litha the goddess of the Summer Solstice bestows upon us her blessings. She is the goddess of fertility and children. With her blessings we celebrate the riches and abundance of nature in full bloom.
During Litha the web between worlds is said to be very thin; making this a time of powerful magic. The most favored incantations at this time are those spells for love, healing, protection and prosperity. On this day the powerful energies of the sun have had extra time to infuse the planets herbs with sacred powers thus making this one of the best times to pick St. John’s Wort, yarrow, wormwood, mistletoe and mullein. When picking herbs remember to be mindful and ask the plants permission.
Legends states the ancient race of forest elves, fairies and sprites come out in great numbers to participate in the glorious celebration of Litha, thus making this a stupendous time to commune with them. It is customary to leave them offerings of herbs and food at dusk.
Litha fires are believed to possess tremendous powers as well. In ancient times courting couples would jump over the coals, hand-in-hand three times to ensure prosperity, children and happiness. Ember and ash from the fires were sprinkled around farms, crops, orchards and grain fields for protection and to ensure a bountiful harvest. It was also believed that keeping a fire lit until midnight would induce lucid dreaming, enhance luck and divination.
Traditional Litha festivals include: signing, dancing, storytelling, village bonfires and torch-lit parades. Also common were feasts made from the bounty of the land and the wearing of garlands and flower crowns which were made specifically to include the yellow blossom of St. John’s Wort.
Litha is a reminder for all to remember balance and it encourages us to enjoy the warmth and healing energies of the sun. It is a celebration of the fertility of live and the fertility of all earthly creatures.