“What goes up must come down / Spinning Wheel got to go round”
Thursday, Thor’s Day, June 21, 2007, celebrates Litha, the Summer Solstice. Lady Moon is waxing, in her 1st quarter in Cancer. This festival is about the ever-changing yet ever-constant principle of balance and symbiosis. There is a time for Lord Sun’s aggressiveness and an equal time for Lady Moon’s more receptive attributes. One without the other is an imbalance; the pair, sharing responsibility for Planet Earth’s survival, provide balance. Just as there are “up times”, there must be corresponding “down times” or systems (ecological, physical, agricultural, etc.) become confused and disoriented.
To properly celebrate the “changing of the guard”, wear White, Red, and Yellow and use these colors in your altar and table decorations. This is Lord Sun’s last hurrah of the year. You want to give him a fitting tribute. Also use fresh green plants in your decorations, as a representation of the still-growing harvest. Greenery placed over front and back doors is thought to bring good fortune to the people and animals living within, so be sure to decorate there as well. Bunches of fresh herbs are nice for this purpose; if you have hanging baskets of pretty flowers, consider moving them near or above doors for this celebration.
Serve your guests red and yellow fruits and veggies, fresh fruit juices, spicy foods, flaming foods, and foods cooked over direct flame. If you use a charcoal grill, throw a handful of dried herbs such as lavender, rosemary, and St. John’s Wort, and any dried herb easily available that conveys blessings and protection, on the coals and use a feather to direct the smoke to you and each of your guests. This herbal blessing should apply to your pets and livestock, as well.
It is important on the Summer Solstice to not give away any fire and to not sleep away from home. Your guests may take herbs and food and party favors with them, but no candles or coals or ashes.
In the Long Ago, women would walk naked through their gardens on this day to promote a bountiful harvest. In the Now, walking barefoot will do just as well, especially if you carry a sprig of rosemary and use it to direct blessing energy to your plants. Your guests may assist you in this endeavor and may take the rosemary sprig they carry home with them and continue the ritual with their living plants. Remember to include the Fairies while blessing your plants and gardens. Use your blessing-feather to direct smoke into ivy-beds, around backyard ponds, and other cozy, secluded places that attract fairies. Don’t forget to leave a tiny cup of punch and a bit of fruit for them to enjoy.
On a more practical note, recognizing global warming, I urge you to drink plenty of water, dress for hotter weather, use a high SPF sunscreen whenever you are outdoors, and do your exercising and outdoor chores in the morning before 10 AM and in the evening after 6 PM. A popular song of the Not-So-Long-Ago says “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun”. I strongly recommend that you emulate neither!