LITHA – THE SUMMER SOLSTICE
Saturday, June 2oth, 2009 at 10:45pm is Litha. Also known as Old Midsummer, Feast of the Faery, Summer Solstice, and St. John’s Eve; it is the longest day of the year and the shortest night. The midsummer bonfires, lit with Oak, are said to be remnants of Druid rites to ward off evil spirits or sacraments to honor the Sun. Fennel and St. Joan”s wort were hung on doors, no doubt to discourage the pranks of faery folk. One legend holds that, at twilight on Litha Eve, the door to the Middle Kingdom opens and those who seek it may come and go freely. Another says that one must rub eyelids with fern seed at the stroke of midnight to see the Fayerie. Others suggest making offerings of wild thyme to draw them out. Several magickal plants had to be collected on Litha Eve if they were to render full potency. These may have been vervain, St. John’s Wort, roses and trefoil. Some covens still make garlands of mugwort, vervain and St. John’s Wort to wear during midsummer rites.
“When this card appears, it signifies that existing bonds endure, the light triumphs. Stand together and success ensured. It can also mean not to forget to celebrate achievements. It is time for fullness, unity, and harmony.”
“Litha is the time of acknowledging the fullness of the season. The Goddess and God are wedded as the divine couple of nature. The card depicts the ritual setting for the Litha festival, which is marked by the summer solstice. Statues of the Goddess and God appear behind an altar, with the sun at its zenith above in the daytime sky. Here they stand as the Lady of the Flowers and the Lord of the Woods.”
“The statue of the God and Goddess are bound by the intertwined red, black, and white woven cords of the mystery tradition. Red represents the living blood of our ancestors that flows in our veins. Black represents the deep shadows that contain the enlightenment awaiting the true seeker. White symbolizes what remains behind, a metaphor of the bone, representing the wisdom and knowledge left behind by our ancestors.”
“In the center appear a pair of mandrake roots with red and white roses, tied together to symbolize the union of the mated couple. Like the sun and the moon, which reside in the Underworld and rise daily to journey across the world of mortal kind, the mandrakes are symbols of the mystical Otherworld journey. The antlers of the God hold oak leaves and acorns, reminders of his fertile woodland nature. On his statue is an array of mistletoe, representing his mystical nature as Lord of Life and Death.”
“The Goddess statue holds a lighted candle, symbolizing her divine presence. She wears a crown of vervain blossoms, denoting her connection to the Faery realm. At her feet is a cauldron filled with sprouted grain, which symbolizes the seed of the God contained within her womb. Between the statues the altar is set with the wedding cake indicating the divine marriage. It is flanked by two green candles representing the balance of the fertile polarities and forces of nature. Placed upon the altar are two chalices that symbolize the sacred essence of the Goddess and God, from which both will deeply drink. Rose petals are strewn across the altar, symbolizing the divine love.”
THE SHADOW’S EDGE
“The Litha or Summer Solstice card addresses the concept of marriage, whether it is physical, mental, or spiritual. It is the union of the essence of creation with the substance of creation; conjoined, the two manifest whatever concept is channeled through them. this is, in a spiritual sense, the divine marriage or the Heiros Gamos. It is following the summer solstice that the waning year commences. The divine marriage of polarities at this time ensures that one season does not annihilate the other. Instead, each polarity shares an equal portion of the year.”
Today’s message is from The Seeker’s Guide to the Hidden Path by Raven Grimassi and Stephanie Taylor with art by Mickie Mueller.