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Tomorrow Litha marks the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. We will enjoy 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight with the sun rising at 4.52am and setting at 9.26pm.

Traditionally people would gather together on Solstice Eve for a candle-lit procession, music, dancing and plays. Gathering around a bonfire (‘bon’ fire – good fire) they would stay up all night until dawn to watch the Sun of the new cycle rise.  

Many still gather at Stonehenge, which is believed to be an important spiritual site used by early Britons, nearly 4,000 years ago. The rising Sun to the North East aligns with the Altar, Heel and Slaughter stone on the summer solstice.

However, ours is not the only ancient culture in which the Summer Solstice was significant.  In Greece it marked the one month countdown to the opening of the Olympic Games. It was associated with the feminine force of Yin in China and the Romans celebrated the goddess Vesta in the days leading up to it. Germanic, Slavic and Celtic pagans believed that the celebratory bonfires would increase the sun’s energy, in turn securing a good harvest in the fall. It was also a key time of the year for Vikings who would discuss legal matters and resolve disputes around the Summer Solstice.

As well as celebrating the new cycle, it is a time for us to release and let go of anything that we don’t want to take into the new half of the year. A time to reflect and contemplate on what we would like to welcome in as the sun rises on this new cycle.

Here are some great resources that you can use in your practice:

  • Oil/Incense: lavender, rosemary
  • Candles: red, yellow, orange
  • Flowers: honeysuckle, lavender, roses
  • Crystals: carnelian, citrine, moonstone

The Oak tree is also heavily linked with this celebration.