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In the Northern Hemisphere we have entered the portal of Litha – the golden time of Summer Solstice or Midsummer.

It is one of four high holy solar celebrations in the wheel of the year along with the Equinoxes and Yule, the Winter Solstice.

Astronomically, the day of June 21 marks the beginning of summer time and also the longest day and the shortest night within the annual cycle.

As the light prevails over the shade, we find ourselves in a period of lush prosperity. The juiciness of life is felt everywhere in nature - flowers are in full bloom, vegetables and fruits are ripening to be harvested and enjoyed. It is the season of the mother archetype expressed through fertility and giving birth, both physical and metaphorical. Mother nature is at her peak and shares what she has to offer in great abundance. Take it in with gratitude as you are being taken care of and nurtured by her. Litha is thus a feast of life itself expressed through the extasy of dance and big bonfires illuminating the sky celebrating the life-giving light - within and without.

Solstices are also a reminder of the dance of polarities – whilst reaching the zenith in the sky, the sun is moving into the water sign of cancer. a reminder of the destructive side to overheating light and fire, which the water energies can balance.

As every peak has its balancing point, the lingering promise of decent is in the air as from now on the days are getting shorter and the nights are becoming longer.

Summer Solstice was celebrated amongst different ancient traditions, each one individually celebrating the sun god, the light, the divine spark within all life.

In Celtic tradition, the sun god Baldur, aka Oak King or King of the Waxing Year was honored with bonfires and wheels set afire that were then rolled down a hill into a lake or river. Baldur´s head was cut-off by the Holly King, King of the Waning Year, at Litha at a very significant time of supposed invulnerability, symbolizing the cutting of the sun´s orbit as well as the beginning decent.

The same symbology can be found in the story of St John, the Baptist, whose feast day 24 June is closely linked to Midsummer.

In Ancient Egypt, the summer solstice aligned with the rise of the river Nile bringing prosperity and fertility to the lands. Especially in the temple of Dendera, priest and priestesses of Hathor were devoted to birthing, raising and tending to the sun-child Horus. Various rituals were performed honoring the solar cycle and solar deity in the form of Ra, the leader, the creator. At the same time, the ancient Egyptians understood light as the infinite nature of our souls, divine truth and consciousness within each and everyone of us.

Ancient civilizations even honored the changing cycle of the sun with temples deliberately built in alignment with the solstitial axis.

Stonehenge, England: The main axis of stones is aligned to the solstitial axis marking the sun set and sun rise during the solstices.

Temple of Karnak, Egypt: The holy of the holiest (inner sanctum) and the west entrance portal are aligned with the sunset at the solstices.

Giza Pyramid Complex, Egypt: Facing the Sphinx, the sun sets precisely between the two pyramids of Khufu (The Great Pyramid) and Khafre on the summer solstice.

Pyramid of Chichen Itza, Mexico: At the longest day, light and shadow form the spectacular shape of seven perfect triangles moving over the pyramidal staircase.

Temple of the Sun at Machu Pichu, Peru: Three windows in the temple walls with distinct shapes like a trapezoid align with the sunlight entering at the summer and winter solstices of this solar observatory and one of the most sacred temples at this ancient site.

Often we tend to identify solar energy with masculine energy, whereas indeed there is also a solar feminine. Goddesses that you can connect with to invoke your solar feminine are Isis, Sekhmet, Hathor, Brigid, Juno, Aphrodite.

Let yourself be guided by any of these to find your golden light within.

Questions for reflection:

  • What achievements of the past 6months am I celebrating today?

  • Where am I controlling too much and burning my energy or my fire?

  • In what areas do I choose to invite water energy of flow, trust and letting go into my life?

  • What do I choose to dedicate my energy to?

  • What areas do I choose to no longer waste my energy on?

  • What parts within me are being illuminated at this time that ask me to tend to them (physically emotionally, mentally)?

  • What is it you I like to celebrate in 6months from now?

Some ideas for your Litha ritual celebration:

  • Light a Fire – any type of fire from lighting a candle to a big bonfire outside

  • Practise Sun Meditation, Sun Gazing or Sun Bathing

  • Forage herbs like St John´s Worth, Herb of the Cross (Verveine), Mugwort, Mullein, Lavender for tea or smudging

  • Bind flower girdles as a protective talisman

If you do not have any plans for midsummer yet, you can still join us as we have one spot left in our awesome Summer Solstice Retreat coming up this weekend in the Valley of the Light, Graubünden, Switzerland. Read more about the Summer Solstice Retreat.

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