Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Celebrating the Summer Solstice/Litha

Celebrating Summer Solstice/Litha!

On the Summer Solstice/Litha, the earth is ripening with life, fertility and abundance.  This time of year, when the sun is at its zenith, many cultures and traditions still honor the sun and the Green Man, both in their full glory.  The date can vary slightly, and generally falling on June 20th to 22nd.  From this day forward, daylight will diminish by a few seconds each day, until day and night are equal again on the Autumnal Equinox in September.

The Green Man, Hauntingly wise Green Man "speaking" in hawthorn leaves, Parish Church in Sutton Benger, UK   (c.1300)  
In Celtic lore, as well as many other cultures throughout recorded history, the Green Man is a symbol of rebirth, representing the expansive cycles of growth.  The power of the sun at Litha is at its most potent, as one can see all around with the bounty of growing life.  This is a time of year of brightness and warmth, when crops are growing in their fields with the heat of the sun.  In addition to festivities honoring the plentiful sun, the 'yang', male energy that is so verdantly abundant, Summer Solstice/Litha is a time when the Holly King retakes his throne.  It is reminiscent of the battle between light and dark.  The traditional lore follows that the Oak King, who rules the half of the year from the Winter Solstice to the Summer Solstice, relinquishes his power on the Summer Solstice/Litha to the Holly King, who then rules from the Summer Solstice through to the following Winter Solstice.

Litha is a wonder-filled time to celebrate outdoors, especially if you have children.  Go swimming or turn on the sprinkler and run through it.  Have a bonfire or barbeque at the end of the day.  Make it a special night with music, storytelling, holiday sparklers or dancing at dusk with the magical fire-flies.  Consider letting them stay up late to say 'goodnight' to the sun.  Be sure to take a moment to appreciate the gifts that each season brings.  Blessed Be!

[Above graphic is of the Wise Green Man speaking in hawthorn leaves.  Found in Parish Church in Sutton Benger, UK  (c.1300)]