Spirit Message of the Moment – Time to Celebrate Litha 2013

Pagan Holiday Litha History – Celebrating the Summer Solstice 2013

An Ancient Solar Celebration
“Nearly every agricultural society has marked the high point of summer in some way, shape or form. On this date – usually around June 21 or 22 (or December 21/22 in the southern hemisphstonehenge1ere) – the sun reaches its zenith in the sky. It is the longest day of the year, and the point at which the sun seems to just hang there without moving – in fact, the word “solstice” is from the Latin word solstitium, which literally translates to “sun stands still.” The travels of the sun were marked and recorded. Stone circles such as Stonehenge were oriented to highlight the rising of the sun on the day of the summer solstice.

Traveling the Heavens
Although few primary sources are available detailing the practices of the ancient Celts, some information can be found in the chronicles kept by early Christian monks. Some of these writings, combined with surviving folklore, indicate that Midsummer was celebrated with hilltop bonfires and that it was a time to honor the space between earth and the heavens.

Fire and Water
In addition to the polarity between land and sky, Litha is a time to find a balance between fire and water. According to Ceisiwr Serith, in his book The Pagan Family, European traditions celebrated this time of year by setting large wheels on fire and then rolling them down a hill into a body of water. He 935935_513514102030876_2146289176_nsuggests that this may be because this is when the sun is at its strongest yet also the day at which it begins to weaken. Another possibility is that the water mitigates the heat of the sun, and subordinating the sun wheel to water may prevent drought.

Saxon Traditions
When they arrived in the British Isles, the Saxon invaders brought with them the tradition of calling the month of June Aerra Litha. They marked Midsummer with huge bonfires that celebrated the power of the sun over darkness. For people in Scandinavian countries and in the farther reaches of the Northern hemisphere, Midsummer was very important. The nearly endless hours of light in June are a happy contrast to the constant darkness found six months later in the middle of winter.

Roman Festivals
The Romans, who had a festival for anything and everything, celebrated this time as sacred to Juno, the wife of Jupiter and goddess of women and childbirth. She is also called Juno Luna and blesses women with the privilege of menstruation. The month of June was named for her, and because Juno was the patroness of marriage, her month remains an ever-popular time for weddings. This time of year was also sacred to Vesta, goddess of the hearth. The matrons of Rome entered her temple on Midsummer and made offerings of salted meal for eight days, in hopes that she would confer her blessings upon their homes.

Midsummer for Modern Pagans
Litha has often been a source of contention among modern Pagan and Wiccan groups, because there’s always been a question about whether or not Midsummer was truly celebrated by the ancients. While there’s scholarly evidence to indicate that it was indeed observed, there were suggestions made by Gerald Gardner, the founder of modern Wicca, that the solar festivals (the solstices and equinoxes) were actually added later and imported from the Middle East. 0029-Arch-Druid-in-his-full-Judicial-Costume-q75-356x500Regardless of the origins, many modern Wiccans and Pagans do choose to celebrate Litha every year in June.

In some traditions, Litha is a time at which there is a battle between light and dark. The Oak King is seen as the ruler of the year between winter solstice and summer solstice, and the Holly King from summer to winter. At each solstice they battle for power, and while the Oak King may be in charge of things at the beginning of June, by the end of Midsummer he is defeated by the Holly King. This is a time of year of brightness and warmth. Crops are growing in their fields with the heat of the sun, but may require water to keep them alive. The power of the sun at Midsummer is at its most potent, and the earth is fertile with the bounty of growing life.

For contemporary Wiccans and Pagans, this is a day of inner power and brightness. Find yourself a quiet spot and meditate on the darkness and the light both in the world and in your personal life. Celebrate the turning of the Wheel of the Year with fire and water, night and day, a155207_1553836443019_1476986_nnd other symbols of the triumph of light over darkness.

Litha is a great time to celebrate outdoors if you have children. Take them swimming or just turn on the sprinkler to run through, and then have a bonfire or barbeque at the end of the day. Let them stay up late to say goodnight to the sun, and celebrate nightfall with sparklers, storytelling, and music. This is also an ideal Sabbat to do some love magic or celebrate a handfasting, since June is the month of marriages and family.”

Excerpts from Patti Wigington

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Spirit Message of the Moment – Let Your Radiance Shine – Celebrate Summer

CELEBRATE THE SUMMER SOLSTICE 2013
RADIANCE
“The word solstice originates from the Latin word solstitium, which means ‘stationary or stopped sun’. This is because twice during the solar year, the sun appears to rise and set in the sam481039_316692948446262_1762232647_ne place for several days. It seems to be taking a much-needed rest before making the next circuit across the sky from one solstice to the next – its ceaseless, predictable certainty having existed since before the time of our ancestors. There are stories in many cultures that personify the sun as deity, either male or female, often riding the sun across the sky in a boat or chariot.”

“With the summer solstice comes the culmination of the sun’s travels that have led to the longest days of the year. The light is now at its fullest and has provided its own brand of nourishment to the land and all of its inhabitants. Celebrations and ceremonies abound. Passion and playfulness are themes. We feel an innate desire to be outdoors in the natural world and reap the benefits of the longest days of the year. We instinctively seek the light, and during this cycle, there is an abundance of it.”

MESSAGE FOR YOU
“Let the radiance of the sun inspire your inner radiance to shine forth. Release your concerns about what may happen in the future, and focus on appreciating everything you have that is good and right. Allow Father Sun to take away your worries and cares. Do something physically active to stimulate your in581463_507895599270420_1543139927_nner light. Dance. Sing. But most important, get outdoors. Do not let any negative thoughts or habits stop you.”

“When you are in love with Life, you naturally radiate that love. During this part of your cycle, your capacity to love is greatly amplified. In one of those supreme ironies of Life, the more love you give, the more returns to you. It starts by allowing the radiant Being you truly are to be expressed into the world. Smile a little more. Notice the Beauty of Nature. See the humor in the paradoxes of Life. Show your love, especially to those with whom you are closest. Then smile even more, and watch how the world around you lights up!”

Today’s guidance is from Earth Magic Oracle Cards by Steven D. Farmer

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Spirit Message of the Moment – Celebrate Your Surrender to Change

THE PHOENIX
“This card represents resurrection and a surrender to change. The Phoenix appears as your Ally to celebrate your journey and to ensure your ultimate success. This is true even if it appears that you’ve just passed through a metaphorical experience of phoenixdeath or are currently enduring a perception of failure in your life.”

“Death and rebirth are related when you enter the realm of the Phoenix. Seen in this light, nothing truly dies, but rather changes from one ending directly into new beginnings. The Phoenix is constantly reinventing itself and rises up whole and new and even more powerful with every death it experiences. This could signal an end of a relationship, or of a dynamic within one, or an end of a job, a project, or even a life. Perhaps no failure is involved, but it’s time for a complete overhaul of your circumstances. You may be tired of what you’re doing, or you may know intuitively that it’s time to move on, make a change, or try something new. Whatever the case, a death of the old and a celebration of new life are called for! Whatever you do now will indeed be a successful endeavor, for a rebirth is imminent!”

MESSAGE FOR YOU
“When the Phoenix challenges you, it’s really just a gentle reminder to let go and let what doesn’t work fall away. Maybe you’re holding too tightly onto the present and not allowing things to change because you’re more comfortable with the familiar, even if you know that it’s not the best you could create for yourself.”

“Fear of change is a crippling experience, as it works against Nature itself. The task at hand is to allow for an ending, as it’s timely and right that you do so for the highest good of all. In surrendering to the fundamental purposeful change, you will most definitely find yourself in better circumstances. The action needed is allowing. A rebirth is assured.”

MESSAGE FROM SPIRITBLOGGER
405368_10150500037554734_1317162623_nThe significance of the Phoenix card reminds me that the one thing we can always count on – is change itself. Things, people, places, and circumstances are always in a constant state of flux and experiencing cycles of various changes. I think it’s important that we find a way to gracefully accept, adopt, and move with these changes which bring our future closer to us, if we are truly learning, expanding, becoming more aware, and growing as an individual.  While it’s critical that we learn to fully enjoy the moment we find ourselves currently in, it’s also as important to develop a skill set that both allows us to happily resonate with our state of being, mind, body, and emotions – and look ahead with a clear vision to what lies just ahead on our life journey; so we can choose what’s next for us. After all, each change we’ve gone through and experienced, has helped to create who we are today.

A great book comes to mind called Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. The forward I’d like to share with you includes a beautiful parable about the importance of Letting Go and accepting change to go with the flow. To me, it serves as a great Zen reminder to be like water, be fluid to move through life and all of its changes, obstacles, and tough circumstances. Water is a powerful and strong source, but can also be soft and yielding in its strength.
– Angela
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raging river

Letting Go

Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all — young and old, rich and poor, good and evil — the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.

Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current was what each had learned from birth.

But one creature said at last, “I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.”

The other creatures laughed and said, “Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed against the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!”

But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.

Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.

And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, “See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the messiah, come to save us all!”

And the one carried in the current said, “I am no more messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.”

But they cried the more, “Savior!” all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a savior.

– Richard Bach, Illusions