Tag Archives: Litha

Celebrating the Pagan Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice—Midsummer

Link to Author's Blog, Irish Gypsy's Parlor

The word “Solstice” comes from the Latin words, sol sistere – “sun stand still”. Indeed the sun does seem to stand still as the sun reaches it’s furthest point from the equator. Summer Solstice harkens the longest day of the year, when warmth spills upon the land and fruitful bounties are enjoyed by all creatures. In the northern hemisphere of our planet, the summer solstice occurs during June. This year it is June 21st and many pagans will be celebrating this one day with reverence and celebration.

Long ago, pagans didn’t denote “midsummer” as the first day of summer—for it wasn’t then and isn’t now—save for our modern society deemed the day so. How ironic that after this longest day the daylight gets shorter! So our ancestors realized Summer Solstice is the beginning of the END of summer.

Our ancestors were not ruled by convention or committee—no, they were ruled by the seasons of harvest, sexual awareness in the Spring of all living creatures and the need to store for the winter months ahead. Survival depended on their sensitivity to abnormal weather patterns, bad harvest years, the swelling and receding ocean waves for good fishing days.

The summer solstice is often the time of the first harvest and hence a celebration of this bounty has been held for hundreds of years. The day lasts so long, the gaiety lasted well into night, with dancing, food, mead, wine and merriment. The sun, Sol, brings life to growing crops in the field and warmth to the bones of the workers who harvested. This is reflected in the midsummer rituals or plucking herbs, for this special day brings added vigor, potency to the herbs for medicine and spells.

When night approaches, the pagan fires will burn brightly in honor of the sun. This is a time to strengthen the bonds between the participants as they chant to Sol’s continued service to the earth and it’s creatures. Some sacred sites, around the world will draw huge crowds as the Summer Solstice is honored. Stonehenge has an entrance-way that was aligned with the solstice sunrise and is a popular gathering place for modern druids and others enthusiasts on midsummer’s day.

For Wiccans, Midsummer is one of the four “Lesser Sabbats” or “Low Holidays”. Some now call this day Litha, the day of the Lord of Light, the Oak King who sits solidly on a greenwood throne.  Across the world, many pagans will throw off the hooded robes and bath skyclad under the sun while honoring Sol. Gypsies will also honor this day in similar abandon to their hard work during harvest and their respect for Gaia.

So as the Celts & Slavs celebrate with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun’s energy, the Chinese honor Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light. One of the most enduring rituals of the Summer Solstice is were the Druids’ celebrate of the “wedding of Heaven and Earth”, that brought about our present day belief of a “lucky” wedding in June.

Pagan spirit gatherings or festivals are very common in June and I will festival, eat and drink all day with pagans. Women will wear braided circlets of clover and flowers on their hair, wrists and ankles. Men will wear chaplets of oak leaves and flowers around their heads in honor of the Oak King. On Midsummer’s Eve, I will join the group, assembling to light a sacred fire, then stay up all night to welcome the moon and the dawn. For this year’s “Honey Moon” I will drink the mead made from fermented honey, leap through the edge of the bonfire flames and pick herbs to use in white magick throughout the remaining year. I will wear the protective garland made of herbs and flowers and little else as I bath in the moon’s glow, skyclad. Being Irish I will place yarrow under my pillow to dream of my next lover.

Life comes from Sol, we are all dependent on this magnificent ball of gas, and for one day I will be pagan and in awe. I will give respect and honor as would a child, bearing witness to the beginning of “dream-time” as visions of future events will unfold at nightfall. I will throw nine different types of herbs on the balefire. Just picked-Mistletoe, vervain, St. John’s Wort, heartsease, lavender, and others chosen from herbs typical of this season such as fresh yarrow.

I will swim in the lake as water is an important part of the Midsummer pagan ritual. Like in times past we will swim in waters, flowing toward the rising sun as it climbs in the Summer Solstice morning sky. This is healing, cleansing and protective. Gathering the dew of Midsummer bestows health to whoever drinks the elixir. Fetch running water of Midsummer morn and mix it with ashes from the bonfire that night. On the next day at home, sprinkled the mixture around the house, yard and on loved ones to bestow protection and luck.

May you have wonderful dreams, a fruitful harvest and find the love you search during this Summer Solstice.

Blessed Be,

Chérie Angélique de Sues, Romance Author

The First Third Wednesday

bloodiedquill

Well, merry met, everyone, and before I forget – Happy Litha!

Since this is my first post, I thought I might just take the moment to introduce myself and tell you a bit about the projects I work on. Please excuse the rambling why my mind wanders… I’m quite a topic hopper when left to my own devices.

My name is Jodi Lee; that is my professional name as well as my actual birth name. I do have a last name, but I rarely use it, only when I absolutely have to. Like on government documents and signing permission slips for my daughters’ school activities. I’m a single mom, divorced for a couple of years, separated longer than that. My daughters and I are very close, and I always say we’ve had to be. Although their dad had them every weekend for the first year, gradually his interest in being a father waned, and for the past four years it’s been just the three of us.

We do pretty well for ourselves. I am a work at home mom, due to circumstances somewhat beyond my control, but I love the work I do, and hey, who doesn’t want to go to work in their PJs? 😉 I am a freelance editor and graphic designer. My more recent positions include editor in chief of LBF Books and senior editor of Lachesis Publishing, although I recently turned in my resignation for both those positions in favor of some very lucrative freelance work. I also run a small webzine, The New Bedlam Project.

Time flies, it really does. It was when I was working on notes for a project (I’ll get to that one in a moment) that I realized I’ve been pagan for very nearly 25 years. I’d say that’s not bad for someone my age, but it makes me feel a bit older than I actually am. 😉

My grove will celebrate it’s ninth anniversary this weekend. My daughters have been studying for going on two years now. I can look back and see where the time has gone, and yet still wonder how it went so fast. In the past nine years, under my chosen name, ierne LloerCariad, I’ve been involved with the Pagan Pride Project, WARD Canada, Gaia Gathering, and written nearly a hundred articles and twice as many book reviews. I’ve taught numerous forms of energetic healing. I became disillusioned with being a public pagan and stepped back from it all, only to find recently that I miss some of it.

So here I am, taking baby steps into writing more spiritual non-fiction, but tying it in to what I do every day. My daughters and I spent all of March working on a chapbook series, which we market as an ebook or handmade chapbook on Etsy and one of my websites. We recently launched the series by releasing Litha, just in time for the Solstice.

Over the past few years, I’ve had to reconcile my choice of genre with my beliefs. I write horror, usually what’s called ‘splatterpunk,’ meaning the very bloody, visceral fiction that doesn’t appeal to many folks. It is through that fiction that I’ve worked out a lot of issues, a lot of tension and anger. The Rule of Three is less likely to come into play if the victim is a fictional character. Occasionally I have twinges of guilt for manipulating the Hollywood-vision of a witch into something so very foreign to what we actually are. I tend to steer away from the gore then, and focus on mind-twisting paranormal thrillers.

I have a wonderful, unofficial mentor who I’m proud to call my friend and colleague. He has managed to work the old ways into his murder mystery series, and I shall ever aspire to do as well with what I write. Granted, my writing will never come to what his is, but… all I can do is try.

I’ll be stopping in here—with my mixed bag of tips, tricks and general musings—every third Wednesday, bringing what I can do this wonderful forum of fellow pagan writers.

Here’s a collection of my links, in case you are so inclined as to follow the breadcrumbs into the woods. I promise, I’ve kept the monsters at bay this morning, for now. 😉

New Bedlam – http://www.newbedlam.com

Sacred Triskele – http://www.sacredtriskele.net

My author blog – http://www.jodilee.ca

Our Etsy shop – http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7269725

My portfolio – http://tinyurl.com/JodiLee

My design portfolio – http://tinyurl.com/LeeLite

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/bychwych

Myspace – http://www.myspace.com/jodileebleeds

Associated Content articles – http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/189545/jodi_lee.html