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Let Your Litha Shine at Summer Solstice

Let Your Litha Shine during Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice presents us with a time to celebrate! The Summer Solstice arrives on the longest day and the shortest night of the year. Solstice happens twice each year – in Winter near December 21 and in summer near June 21. The festival is sometimes called “Litha,” which means light. “Solstice” means sun stand. The sun is at the height of its power during Summer Solstice and appears to linger at the same point on the horizon in its rising and setting for the days surrounding solstice. For most of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is directly overhead at midday during Summer Solstice. Try standing outside and see how little shadow you cast. The ancients believed that only spirits didn’t cast shadows, so Summer Solstice provides a “thin place” to commune with the spirits of the Otherworld.

Summer Solstice Overflows

Since the bleak midwinter, the sun’s litha has been steadily growing. The earth is bursting with beauty and bounty. The Mother Goddess is great with child at Summer Solstice and the Oak King is at his height of power and success. Now is the time to notice and appreciate fullness, blooming, creativity, individuality and fulfillment of promise.

Summer Solstice Lights the Night

As with each of the Celtic festivals, fire plays a huge role in the lore and legends surrounding Litha. Traditionally, Summer Solstice fires were lit at twilight and kept burning all the short night through. People danced and sang around the Solstice fire. They drove their livestock between fires to purify and protect them. Women jumped the flames to invoke fertility. Finally, everyone took a brand from the Summer Solstice fire back to their homes to start a new fire in the hearth to light the coming dark half of the year.

Roll On, Summer Solstice

From Summer Solstice to Winter Solstice, the Holly King will again gain in prominence as the sun’s power wanes. Some stories refer to the Holly King as the Oak King’s twin. Some legends refer to the change in dominance as a “battle” between the two, but these times are really the mirror image of the same cycle. As the wheel of the seasons turns, recognizing the cycles in the natural world provide us with balance and continuity, along with a good excuse to bring the community together for a party!

Light Your Solstice Fire in a Glass

When you plan your Summer Solstice bash, add the seasonal flavor of Midsummer Solstice Gin. Midsummer Solstice marks the first gin released from master distiller Lesley Gracie’s “Cabinet of Curiosities” in her recently established Hendrick’s Gin Palace in Girvan, Scotland. Look no further than The Whiskey Snug at The Celtic Ranch to find a few precious bottles of the spicy and floral flavors that capture the fruitfulness of summertime and the primal glow of Summer Solstice.


Lori McAlister
Wrangler of Cultural Affairs

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