This is a fertility festival for crops and animals as well as humans.
“Summer is coming, summer is coming, I know it, I know it…”
Monday, June 20, 2016, is the Summer Solstice, aka Litha, Midsummer. There is a Full Moon on this day, a Mead or Honey Moon. This is a Fire Festival, so be sure to have fire burning for your celebration and put blue, green, and yellow candles on your table or altar. This Solstice is when the Holly King, king of the waning year, triumphs. It is time to notice the steadily waning daylight time, time to prepare for withdrawal into the dark time when energies will be best put toward meditation and renewal.
Use the colors White, Red, Golden Yellow, Green, Blue, and Tan in your decorations and attire. Serve your guests a menu including any orange and yellow foods, fresh fruits (especially oranges and lemons) and veggies, summer squash, pumpernickel bread. Flaming foods and foods prepared over a fire are also appropriate. Traditional drinks are ale, mead, and fresh fruit juice (although mimosas wouldn’t be amiss).
Decorate with sunflowers, seashells, sun wheels, bunches of fresh herbs tied with yellow ribbons. A cauldron filled with fresh flowers would make a delightful centerpiece. Heliotrope is a nice, sweet-smelling flower that is appropriate for this celebration, as are lemon flowers, roses, lavender, hemp, wisteria, and verbena. Any herbs gathered and harvested on this day are said to be exceptionally potent; remember that herbs should be picked before 10 a.m., while the oils are richest.
Celebrate vitality, creativity, valor, health,
This is a fertility festival for crops and animals as well as humans. Celebrate vitality, creativity, valor, health, and abundance. Celebrate both work and play. Celebrate the changing season. The rotating seasons can be thought of as a way to monitor the rotating needs of us all. There should be a time to work, a time to play, a time to think, a time to act, a time to laugh, a time to cry. There is time enough for everything we need and want to do, it just comes at its own time and pace.
Make a fire, traditionally with fir and oak wood, and toss dried herbs onto the fire to create a blessing smoke for you and your guests. Any herbs that promote prosperity, peace, and forward motion will serve this purpose. Bless all your animals as well as you and your guests by wafting the smoke all around, even under the soles of the feet. Any amulets that have lost their usefulness or achieved their purpose should be destroyed by casting them into the ceremonial fire. When cool, the ashes from this fire should be scattered across your land. This action brings blessings to the land and promotes prosperity.
Be kind to field and forest elves, sprites, and fairies today. Leave them an offering in the evening, but do not leave a lighted candle for them as it is taboo to give away any fire from this festival. It is also taboo to sleep away from home or neglect animals today, another reason to include pets and work animals in your celebrations.
In days of yore, women would walk naked through their gardens on the Summer Solstice to ensure continued fertility during the next growth season. Nowadays, unless your gardens are quite secluded, making sure some blessing smoke is wafted across all garden areas will do just as well.