XVI - Sabbats: Litha

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Litha is one of the eight Sabbats.

Litha
- Other names: the Summer Solstice, Midsummer

- Date: June 20-22 (Northern Hemisphere), December 20-23 (Southern Hemisphere). The exact date depends on the year – you can find this year's date by googling "Summer Solstice [year]".

- What is the Summer Solstice? Being the exact opposite of the Winter Solstice, the Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year. This means that the Sun rises early and sets late, making the "light time" longer than it is on any other day of the year.

- For some Litha is the beginning of Summer. For others it was Beltane on May.

- Litha is a celebration of the Sun and light; light's power over darkness. It's a time of joy and feasting, when we spend time with our friends and family. Honoring the Sun is a central part of the festival – representations and symbols of the Sun are set up, and we light bonfires like on Beltane.

- Symbolism and meaning: abundance, fertility, happiness, growth, inspiration, joy, life, maturity, power, power of light over darkness.

- Colors: blue, gold, green, orange, red, white, yellow.

- Cardinal direction: South.

- Symbols: acorns, bonfires, early harvest, faeries, fire, fireworks, flowers, honey, leaves, oak, seashells, sunflowers, Sun symbols (such as the solar cross, circles, and discs), roses.

- Stones: amber, carnelian, citrine, diamond, emerald, garnet, jade, lapis lazuli, ruby, sunstone, tiger's eye.

- Incense: benzoin, cedar, chamomile, dragon's blood, frankincense, lavender, lemon, mugwort, myrrh, pine, rose, rosemary, sage, sandalwood, thyme, vervain, wisteria, yarrow.

- Herbs: apple, carnation, chamomile, daisy, elder, fern, heather, honeysuckle, ivy, lavender, lily, mugwort, oak, peony, pine, rose, rowan, St. John's wort, thyme, vervain, yarrow.

- Foods & drinks: ale, fruits, honey cakes, ice cream, mangos, mead, raspberries, red wine, strawberries, vegetables, whipped cream (with fruit).

- Spells recommended for Litha: career, community, empowerment, growth, health, love, luck, protection, transformation, relationships.

- Animals associated with Litha: butterfly, caterpillar, cattle, dragon, faeries, horse, phoenix, robin, satyr, sea creatures, thunderbird, wren.

Litha activities and ways to celebrate:
• Reaffirm your vows to the Lord and Lady or your dedication to following the old traditions, or whatever belief system or deity you follow. Rededicate yourself to your craft.

• Gather some herbs while walking in nature and set them up to dry.

• Build a bonfire in your backyard and invite your friends and family to spend time together and stay up all night to watch the sunrise. You can also jump the fire for purification. If you can't make a real bonfire, make a small indoors one: gather some stones or crystals, and put them in a small circle on the floor. Place sticks in the center, in the shape of a cone, as if you were making a bonfire. Put small Christmas lights on top of the sticks. Turn them on, and you have a tiny bonfire that you can jump! (from chapter XV)

• Go for a hike in the woods or other places in nature. Attune to its energies. Gather some altar decorations. If you go to a public park/beach/etc., bring a plastic bag and pick up garbage while you're there. Have a moment for meditation in a quiet place.

• Do something for charity. Organize a yard sale and donate the proceeds to a local homeless shelter. Collect used summer clothing from your friends, family, neighbors, and your own closet, and give to a local children's hospital. Host a dog-wash for a nearby shelter, and ask customers to either donate cash or pet food. Plan a neighborhood cleanup, and trim and weed common areas in your community. If you don't have time to coordinate a big project (note: age is not a limitation), do things on a smaller scale. Visit an elderly neighbor, help with their housekeeping, and keep company. Offer to do grocery shopping for an ill relative. If you know a mom with a brand-new baby, help out with childcare so she can get a few hours of rest. Offer to walk a neighbor's dog. Tutor a friend's child on math. Volunteer anywhere. There are an infinite number of things you can do to help others, and with the days being longer, there's plenty of time to get things done!**

Sources:
"Summer Solstice/Litha", site: wicca.com

"Litha Correspondences", site: witchery.wordpress.com

**"Ten Great Ways to Celebrate Litha", author: Patti Wigington, site: thoughtco.com

Scott Cunningham, "The Complete Book of Incenses, Oils & Brews", Llewellyn Publications

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