Litha: The Summer Solstice of the Northern Hemisphere

Summer has begun! The longest day of the year and the beginning of all those Summer fun events, like the beach. In the Northern Hemisphere the Solstice occurs around June 21st, although it fluctuates anywhere between June 20th through June 22nd, depending on how the Earth and the calendar are aligned with the Sun.  The day is celebrated by almost every culture throughout the Northern Hemisphere, either on the actual astronomical Solstice or any given time between June 19th through June 25th.

The celebration of the Summer Solstice goes by many names. The most commonly heard name is Midsummer, but since this is actually the beginning of Summer, there is also the name Litha in the Wiccan community. I have been on a campaign for many years to stop using the name Midsummer because it isn’t the middle of Summer. The name Midsummer emerged not because it is the middle of Summer, but it is the middle of the year. I prefer Litha, which comes from Bede’s De temporum ratione, a treatise that provided Anglo-Saxon names for the months roughly corresponding to June and July.

Down off my soapbox. Now that Summer has started it is time to tend the crops, the ones in the field, and in your life. Have some Summer fun, but don’t forget to use the power of the Sun at its mightiest to light up all the shadows in your life. Nothing can hide in the full force of the Sun’s light. Once the dark areas are lit up, you can stop being afraid, and set into motion the changes you wish to make. Litha is about committing to something larger than your small self. Now you can see what the outcome of those crops might be, if they get enough rain, enough Sun, and enough fertilizer.

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