How to Celebrate Summer Solstice With Associations and Traditions
About the Summer Solstice
The Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer or Litha, is a stop half-way around the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. Midsummer is truly the “noontime” of the year; it’s the zenith of the summer season. Falling between the busy yet joyous planting season and the hectic and somewhat reflective harvest season, the Summer Solstice is a time to truly let loose and enjoy all the pleasures of life.
The spirit of the season lies in true joy—a time to break loose and have lots of fun. Folklore tells us that this is also one of the most magical nights of the year, and it’s a night when the veil between the world of humans and the world of the ‘wee folk’ is thin.
You don’t really need a guide—just look around and use your senses. Check out the blanket of greenery and blossoms coating the Mother Earth, the bees and butterflies and animals frolicking and basking in the long, warm days. See the people at the beaches and pools and the children out playing ball in the fields. It’s not hard to see the kinds of things that are ideal for incorporating into your Summer Solstice ritual, activities and feasting.
Just in case, here's an easy reference guide for you to make sure you haven’t forgotten any of the details!
A merry Midsummer to you!
Summer Solstice Details
Summer Solstice Date:
Summer Solstice in 2014 falls on June 21st in the Northern Hemisphere, and on December 21st in the Southern Hemisphere.
Time of Day:
True Midday (the time that falls midway between sunrise & sunset).
Forest green; Solar colors – red, yellow, orange.
Solar symbols; fires; woodland creatures; fairies and the “wee folk”.
Candles; fire; wand; staff
The Summer Solstice Altar
If you can, set up your Summer Solstice altar outdoors and hold your celebration there under the sun. If indoors, bring the outdoors inside. Start with a rich, green altar cloth or perhaps a fiery orange-yellow altar cloth.
If you have statues of your deities, place them prominently upon the altar. If not, use candles of bold summer colors.
A tall Sun Candle takes center stage on my altar. This is a large, yellow pillar candle decorated with orange and red glitter paint. Fiery solar symbols are scrawled on it and we light it at the sabbats. For Midsummer, I sit it in a cauldron representing the Goddess’s womb. This reminds me at Midsummer that the Sun Lord, born of the Goddess, has reached his height of power and strength, and though his power will now begin waning his seed is planted in Her sacred womb so that he may return to us. We light it at sunset on the eve of the Solstice and let it burn for 24 hours (as long as we’re home! Unless you live in house of stone, never leave candles burning unattended!).
Flowers in full bloom make the best Litha decorations in my opinion. Whether it be bouquets set in vases, or daisy chain wreaths encircling the items on the altar, it certainly brings in a cheerful atmosphere.
I like to make seasonal food and drink part of our sabbat celebrations and place them right upon the altar—after all, the Wheel of the Year is based on the agricultural cycle. Not just offerings to the Gods and household spirits (though we often set out a special bowl just for those), but food for us to enjoy in our celebration as well.
Give prominence to any tools associated with the season and the Element of Fire. In my trad, that would be wands or staves. It’s also a good time to start making one, or to consecrate one.
Likewise, crystals and stones associated with Fire like red agates, citrine, tiger's eye or amber. You may even wish to face your altar south, the direction associated with the Midsummer sabbat.
Summer Solstice Deities
Any Gods or Goddesses associated with the Element of Fire or the Sun should be given special attention at this time of year. Some of these include Belanos, Hephaestus, Horus, Lugh, Ra, Sol, Vulcan, Amerterasu, Bast, Brigit, Hestia, Kali, Pele, Sunna and Vesta.
Which pantheon do you connect to primarily? Is it the Greek? Roman? Norse? Celtic? It’s time to raid some history and mythology books. Find out which of the Gods and Goddesses had festivals or special days of worship near the Summer Solstice.
Of course, you should also make a place for your Patron or Matron God and/or Goddess as well. They should be included in all of your celebrations.
Summer Solstice Activities
Have fun on the Summer Solstice! That's kind of what the season is all about-- taking time to smell the flowers and enjoy nature in all its glory.
Plan games like feats of strength, tug-of-war, relay races or pie-eating contests. One tradition popular in some villages was to roll a burning hoop down a hillside into the water—I don't actually recommend lighting a hoop on fire, but you might have fun by racing with some solar-colored hula-hoops.
If you're hitting the beach play some volleyball, Frisbee or splash around. Drum, build a bonfire, dance or tell stories about fairies and the wee folk.
how do you like celebrating Midsummer?
Summer Solstice Decorations
Bring out your bold colors to decorate your home to remind you of the splendor of the summer season going on outside your door. You might wish to sprinkle some solar symbols and colors around the house – red throw pillows, yellow curtains, or an orange vase here and there.
My son once made a lovely solar symbol out of poster board paper, it was a sun with eight wavy spokes. In the center he made a big, glittery spiral. That hung high above our altar for many Solstices, but unfortunately paper does not last forever. It was such a splendid effect, though, and made a great decoration. Now that I think about it I might have to have him make me another!
The woodland creatures are also appropriate for home decoration, or the altar— any little figures you might collect of animals are perfect decorations. Salamanders are ideal because they are the prime symbol of the southern direction and the Element of Fire. Animals associated with fire in particular – snakes, lizards, lions and other felines, fireflies, glow worms, rams, lizards and horses. Mythical creatures like the chimera, dragon and phoenix are also appropriate.
And don’t forget the wee folk! Images and little trinkets that represent fairies, pixies, elves and sprites are perfect décor. If you have a fairy house, set it out, or put one outdoors. Make a fairy stone circle in your yard—you never know! You may have unexpected visitors on this magical night!
Summer Solstice Food and Drink
Food for the Solstice should reflect what’s seasonal and ripe at this time of year. In my area, it’s the season of cherries, peaches, nectarines and plumbs. I like to put out a fruit basket on the altar for everyone to help themselves.
Drink-wise, I always make lemonade sweetened with honey, and “sun tea” made of herbs like chamomile or mint, and I always include lemon balm and stevia (an herb sweeter than sugar!). I pick the herbs early in the morning and fill a clear jug with them, fill it with water and set it out on the porch in the direct sunlight. By the time we’re ready to feast, it’s done and needs only ice.
Speaking of feasting, because we tend to spend more of the Summer Solstice outdoors, we prefer to barbecue. Most of our Midsummers are spent at the beach with friends, we set up an altar right there on the picnic tables and we fire up the grill for roasted vegetables and whatever meat my husband decides to cook—some years past this has included lemon pepper chicken, fish stuffed with herbs and lemon slices, grilled salmon with dill and lemon, tender pork and coleslaw sandwiches and even something as simple as burgers and hot dogs.
Summer Solstice Spells and Magic
Litha is a time that is appropriate for all types of magical workings; this sabbat just gives a major boost to anything you wish to accomplish.
Any magic spells involving the Element of Fire or fresh herbal magic are excellent choices for Midsummer, as the element of fire and those herbs bursting with freshness are particularly potent! It’s a good time to plan candle magic spells and combine it with herbs in the form of incense, or used in petitions.
If you need energy, strength, resolve, will power or any of these qualities to enhance your life, or if you need something to be seriously charged, now is a good time for such magical workings. Invoke a Sun God and ask Him to lend you some of His power while it’s at its height.
A blessed Summer Solstice to all!
© 2014 Mackenzie Sage Wright