Happy Litha everyone. Today is the Summer Solstice or Midsummers Day in the Northern Hemisphere. The word Solstice comes from the latin “sol” meaning sun and “sistere” meaning to stand still. It is the longest day of the year with 15 hours of sunshine. The sun is at its most powerful today. Celebrated by almost all cultures historically, it is an important time of the year for Pantheists as one of the four major solar festivals. In Druidry is it called Alban Heruin, meaning Light of the Shore, and its a time to celebrate by having a BBQ and bonfire on the beach and to honour the Celtic sea deity Manannan.
Crops have all been planted and are growing strongly, the earth is alive with blooming flowers, green trees and insects busy collecting pollen and making honey. It is a time to rest, to have fun and to celebrate before the hard work of the harvest begins. From now on the days begin to shorten again as we move back towards the winter.
It is traditional to celebrate this festival by having BBQ’s and Bonfires with friends, watching the sunrise and eating summer foods e.g. salads. It is a good time to be outside, to collect herbs, to go hiking or camping, to have a water fight and to make mead. It is a time to be thankful for the sun and to enjoy its light and warmth.
I will be doing a ritual from the ADF Solitary Fellowship at the time of the Solstice (5.04am GMT) and hopefully watching the sunrise at 4.40am. I will be spending some time outside in nature and will be decorating my altar with solar symbols like oranges, some oak leaves and some sunflower seeds. I will be having a big party with friends (hopefully at the beach if the weather is good) and will also do a beach clean to honour the earth today.
Below are three videos, the first is about the summer solstice, the second a music video to get you in a summery mood and the final one is a sun salutation to do in honour of the sun today….