All About Litha

Posted in Sabbats on June 20, 2015 – 2:13 PM
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All About Litha: History, Chants, Poems, Recipes, Activities, Rituals, Spells, and More…

Posted and Edited by:  Magickal Winds

 

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Litha poems and chants

Summer Solstice
by Rhiannon Cotter
Summer Solstice, the longest day,
represents a turning point from Spring to Summer
during which the Sun God directs the ripening
and blossoming of the grain and fruit.
Here in the heat of the Summer,
the crops are transformed as are our actions, thoughts and plans.
All things are tempered by the heat of the Sun.
Blossoming and ripening of our works are manifested,
or they shrivel and die in the heat. All the while, sexual energy is growing.
The Sun God impregnates the Earth Goddess in a sweet
“petit mort“–as the cup is to the Goddess, so too is the athame to the God.

 
Midsummer
by JT
Midsummer –
Longest day
Shortest night
Longest light
Shortest dark
The world within
Echoes the world without
Lush foliage, leaves unfurled
Soft springy grass dotted with
Brightly colored flowers peeping through
The earth is green and bright
With warm sunny days
Clear velvety blue skies
Gentle cool breezes
Nature in glory
Our hopes blossom
Creativity flowers
With the season
The seeds of the fruit
Our desires will bear
Can be seen
On the stems
Of our dreams
Summer Invocation
by Trish Telesco
Fireflies and summer sun
in circles round
we become as one.
Singing songs at magick’s hour
we bring the winds
and timeless powers.
Turning inward, hand in hand
we dance the hearth
to heal the land.
Standing silent, beneath the sky
we catch the fire
from out God’s eye.
Swaying breathless, beside the sea
we call the Goddess
so mote it be!

 

 
Litha Short History
Litha is the Wiccan Sabbat that marks the Summer Solstice and usually occurs around June
21. It marks the first day of summer on traditional calendars, but it is actually the Midsummer mark for Pagans.

Litha marks the longest day of the year, the day when the sun reaches its apex and is aspected to zero degrees Cancer. This is a day that celebrates the God in all his glory.

It is also the time of year when the Goddess is glowing with motherhood in her pregnancy.

In Wiccan lore, once again the Holly King and the Oak King battle. This time, it is the Holly King who is victorious, and from this point on, the days grow shorter.

For those of you familiar with Shakespeare, you might remember the play centered around the Solistice: “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream“. It is believed that Midsummer Night’s Eve is a special time for those who believe in the Faerie traditions. Like Samhain, this is a day where the veils are thin between the realms of the Sidhe (the Faerie realm) and the world of mortals. It is a time for merriment and the making of wishes.

Litha marks the first of three harvest celebrations. This is the time to gather the herbs from your garden. Tradition suggests using your boline or a scythe to cut the plant by the moonlight. Some suggest chanting the use of the planet while doing so.

Honey is a popular symbol for this time (one of the names of the June Full Moon is the Honey Moon). Serving Meade as well as dipping your cake in honey during the feast part of your ritual, symbolizes the sweetness of life and the season.

As we’ve seen happen in the past, Christianity has tried to hone in on our holiday. They have declared it John the Baptist’s birthday. I’ve read that other Saints in the Church are remembered on the day they’ve died. But not so with John the Baptist. He is the only Saint recognized on his birthday. They celebrate the Solstice with the Jack–in–the–Green to the Feast of St. John the Baptist, often portraying him in rustic attire, sometimes with horns and cloven feet (like Pan).

Litha Long History
Litha, or Mid–Summer’s Day, falls on the Summer Solstice and is known as one of the ’quarter days’–Equinoxes and Solstices–that divides the year evenly into quarters. The Summer Solstice occurs when the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer, hence this is the date the sun also enters the astrological sign of Cancer. For the northern hemisphere, this is when the planet is tilted to give us the most sunlight. Although this day is the longest of the year it is generally not the warmest. It is the day that the sun overpowers the darkness, and it is this source of energy that we use in our magic with themes of power and protection. The date of the Solstice varies from year to year, falling sometime between June 20th through 23rd. Old calendars marked time from sunset to sunset, so you may want to start your celebration on the eve of the Solstice which is after sunset on the day before the Solstice.

Litha is a celebration of the bounty of Summer. There are many flowers, with the bright pastel spring blooms giving way to the rich intensity of Summer flowers. The fields have been seeded, the plants are growing, some early crops may be harvested but most of all there is promise of the larger harvest to come in both the field and trees. Now we must trust that there will be enough rain and sun, and not too much of either or of the wind, so that we may harvest sufficient amounts to see us through the coming winter.

The youthful energy of spring and Beltane have mellowed into maturity; emotional maturity and love now matches the sexual maturity or lust of the earlier season. If Beltane was the lustful courtship of the Lord and Lady, this is Their wedding. Their passion is no less, but has increased in depth. Love is now their guiding force, and Lust is merely the spice .

This day is also known as Midsummer, because, for the pagan community, Summer officially starts at Beltane (on May 1) and ends on Lughnassahd (August 1) with this day falling in between the two. Other names that this holiday is known as are Litha and St. John the Baptist Day. For those who are of the Christian faith this the date chosen for honoring John the Baptist, cousin and fore–seer of Jesus Christ. The Christian church began doing after realizing how widespread and ingrained the festivals of this day were. St. John, the cousin of Jesus of Nazareth, was considered one of the most important saints, leading you to see the importance that the Christian church put in “claiming“ this holiday. Litha is a word supposed to derive from one that is Saxon denoting the opposite of Yule.

Traditionally, Litha is a time sacred to the Sun King, for this is when He is at His strongest. The God is in his prime. He has reached the peak of His power, and His rays are such that none dare look at Him for fear of being blinded by His light. With this power comes the heat of Summer, the promise of fruit and grain, and a great harvest to come. His potency ensures the continuity of life in the face of the oncoming darkness. He is ever–living, ever–returning with virility, fertility and strength. He guides us in our own personal growth, just as he guides the crops and creatures of Earth. His marriage with the Goddess now makes Him Her protector as well as her lover. He is a full grown man, and due to the merry making of Beltane, a father.

At Litha the God can be seen in many different traditions and mythologies. In the Oak King/Holly King myth, the Sun King has two separate personalities. These personalities are so strong that, to some, they become different entities, the Oak King and the Holly King, each ruling one half of the year. The Oak King was born at Yule to the Great Mother, and in his light and splendor begins to turn the Great Wheel and start the lengthening of the days. The beginning of the sun’s decline is symbolized by the return of the Holly King, the Spirit of Winter, at the moment after the Solstice. It is on mid–Summer that the dark half of the sun god begins to gain power. Often, mock battles are played between representatives of the two gods who fight over the attentions of the lady Goddess. At the Summer Solstice the dark Holly King (to some beliefs as the Wren) slays his light twin the Oak King (to some beliefs as the Robin) and begins his half–yearly reign which ends with the Holly King’s death at midwinter when the scene is reversed and the Oak King is triumphant. The eternal dueling of these light and dark brothers gives life to the primary tenant of western Goddess worship, “there is darkness in the light and light in the darkness.“ Although the Dark God is defeated, he has weakened the God of Light who has now begun to die. As everything in nature comes to its peak and then declines, so too must the God in His aspect of the Sun. With decline comes transformation, and so it is with the God, who takes on many aspects and wears many crowns.

The Earth Mother is also at Her finest at this time. The Goddess is becoming Mother, the seed that was planted earlier in her womb is growing with the son/sun. She blossoms just as the earth blossoms with abundance. She basks in the light of her lover and grows with child each day. The land is glowing with flowers and ripening fruit as the Goddess glows and ripens, as well. Like the animals and plants, we feed off of this warmth, and take a moment to rest on this Sabbat.

Once again, thinking back to our ancestors, we know that they found this to be a peaceful time. The crops were planted, their animals had usually birthed by this time and they had a slight lull as they awaited the time of the first harvest. Among humans there is change in the type of energy. Where spring made us sprightly, Summer makes us passionate. Flesh is revealed; sensuality is at its highest expression; heat makes us languid, yet the cooler nights are energizing.

Mid–Summer is said to be a mystical time when the forces of magic are increased and fairies roam our world. Fairies, elves and sprites are purported to be most easily seen at Mid–Summer, dancing in fairy rings. As portrayed in Shakespeare’s “A Mid–Summer Night’s Dream,“ it is a night much like Samhain, when the veils are once more thin between the realms of the Sidhe (or fae) and the world of mortals. This is the night when mortals have strange experiences, and when faeries troop across the land. Litha is a “day outside of time,“ and the strange experiences one might have are likely to be comic, harmless, or even beneficial. Litha has an “upside down“ quality about it – things are often reversed or mixed–up. It is a time for merriment and the wish making. There is a tradition of celebrating Litha where one makes wishes after gathering flowers(especially St. John’s Wort) either to hang in your home as protection amulets or to tied onto the tops of roofs as a symbol of a wish that you want carried into the next world.

The Sun festival was a noisy time, with singing, dancing, and drumming lasting the whole night through. In some places in Germany, tall fir–trees were set up in open places and decorated with flowers, and red and yellow eggs. The younger folk danced around these trees during the day, and the older ones during the evening.

Homes would frequently be decked with such plants as birch, white lilies, roses, and Saint John’s Wort. Saint John’s Wort was of particular importance to the Mid–Summer celebrations and in addition to wearing it and spreading it about the house, young girls would often use it to help divine the future of their love lives. Mistletoe, Mugwort, Vervain, Basil and many other herbs are harvested in ritualistic manners to preserve their energies for use in the colder times on Litha. Amulets of the past year are buried or burned and new ones, often for protection, are made for hanging around and outside the house.

Mugwort, in particular, was gathered on the mid–Summer’s eve, to be worn as head wreaths during the next day; these were then hung on the house or barn to act as protective charms for the ensuing year. To gather this herb today you would be barefoot, ideally, and cut the stems with an iron–free blade or “snip“ them by pinching with your fingers.

First ask permission of the mother plant, explaining why and how you will use the plant; then offer something in exchange. Custom says silver, but compost, fertilizer pellets or a special stone are also fine “payment“. Don’t let the herb touch the ground once it’s cut, but place it on a white cloth. Act quietly and with reverence.

As the days start to lose their light from this point, many cultures encouraged the Sun to return. Bonfires were representative of the Sun and they are still used on this day for that reason. Other sources of flame would include lanterns carried by revelers “walking the march,“ who were often attended by dancers and costumed players dressed as a variety of costumes. Flaming torches were carried around the fields and orchards to drive off insect infestations and other detriments to a good harvest. In Germanic countries smaller lanterns were set afloat on rivers and lakes as well. In other areas people would extinguish their home–fires, and then re–light them with a flaming torch or brand from the Mid–Summer fire.

In many cultures the bonfires were attended by all the villagers. Each person who attended would have contributed to its blaze. Besides adding light for the nighttime festivities, the fires where thought to ward off ill–meaning spirits and leaping of bonfires for purification, health, fertility, and love was common with the height of the leap thought to govern the eventual height of the crops in the fields. The bon fires are traditionally kindled from fir and oak with assorted herbs throne upon the flames. This was a time that might also entail the members of a village straddling brooms, pitchforks or other tools and jumping as high as they could to show the crops how high to grow while circling the bonfire or the fields themselves. In Germany, Mugwort and Vervain were tossed into the Mid–Summer fire upon leaving it, with the words, “May all my ill–luck depart and be burnt up with these.“ Herbs were also used by some peoples as a smudge, the smoke clearing bad influences from crops, animals, and people. Pigs and cattle would be driven between two fires to preserve their health and ensure their fertility or they might be driven through the fires to cure the sick and protect the sound. Afterward, some of the ashes from the herbs and charred wood of these huge fires would be taken to spread in the gardens among the cabbages. These ashes would keep the cabbage worm under control and it is not known if it was done for this purpose, alone, or if this was merely a beneficial “side effect.“

In Europe, it was a festival of lovers as well as that of fire. As each young unmarried couple leapt the flames, others speculated as to who would marry within the year. In other traditions lovers would leap fires together, or throw flowers to each other across the fire. Both flowers and fire were used to give omens for love and marriage. It is not surprising that roses, which bloom at this time, were used in many festivals and divination rituals, for their fragrance was said to be as sweet as love.

In many places sun–wheels were common on this holiday and that of Lughnasadh. They were wheels that were often rigged with straw and pitch, set aflame, and sent rolling down the hills toward a stream, pond or other body of water. Two young men would do their best to guide it, while one or more followed with torches to re–light the wheel should the fire die out. The longer the blaze, the better the harvest. A successful roll, extinguished in the watercourse, guaranteed an abundant harvest, as well.

Saint John the Baptist also has much importance in relation to this holiday. It was the custom in England, on St John’s Eve, to light large bonfires after sundown, providing light for the revelers and warding off evil spirits. There would be feasting and partying, dancing, games, bartering and all forms of celebration and, as in other areas, leaping the fire was a common practice. It should be noted , interestingly enough, that St. John, though a Christian figure, was seen by the early Celtic–Catholic people as a very pagan one. He was known as “the Oak King“ and had a strong connection to the nature in the wilderness . He was often depicted as a horned figure and, at times, with the lower portion of his body as a satyr, as though people regarded him as a Christian Pan.

This may seem very odd to a modern person, but keep in mind the fact that the early Christians, particularly those it the British Isles often simply put knew names to old deities. Modern day Christians celebrate mid–Summer is Saint John’s Day and celebrates his birth, much as Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ in coincidence with Yule. The reason given as to why Saint John’s birth is celebrated when every other Saint’s day occurs at death is that John is a special case since he was born exactly six months before Christ to announce the coming of the Messiah.

In ancient Rome, a “festival of jollity and drunkenness“ was celebrated by the Plebeians and slaves in honor of Fortuna, the Roman Goddess who was the personification of good fortune. She was originally a Goddess of blessing and fertility and in that capacity she was especially worshipped by mothers. Because she was considered the Goddess of Luck the word fortune comes from her name. At first, she was regarded as a kind of fertility Goddess or bearer of prosperity but, gradually, she was invoked exclusively for good luck–or lamented to for the lack of it! As the Goddess of Chance, she was consulted about the future at her oracular shrines in Antium and Praeneste (now Anzio and Palestrina). A favorite subject in ancient art, the Goddess Fortuna is usually depicted holding a rudder in one hand and a cornucopia, or horn of plenty, in the other. The rudder signified that she guides the destiny of the world; the cornucopia, that she was the provider of abundance. Known as Tyche to the Greeks, Fortuna was worshipped extensively throughout the Roman Empire and had oracular shrines at Antium and Praeneste (now Anzio and Palestrina). . The festival involved features of both fire and water. (The water link is noticeable in the Church’s choice of St. John the Baptist for this day.) Events included foot–races and boat–races, and plenty of wine and merry making. During the Middle Ages, she was depicted as Dame Fortuna who, spinning the wheel of fortune, seemingly at random, would grant goodness to one while she beset others with misfortune.

In nearly every culture, the Summer Solstice has been recognized, revered and even feared. The Sun is at its height, but at the same moment begins to decline. Only hope, ritual and belief would ensure its return at the Winter Solstice to our ancestors. Litha is a time for healing of all kinds, and protection rituals. This is a good time for clearing away non–useful energies, and establishing a stable base. Litha is about joy. It is about being completely alive, as the earth is at its zenith. Everywhere you look, it is green and life is abundant. Weave flowers into your hair – dance and frolic, take a big, deep cleansing breath of Summer air. Pick summer strawberries or other early fruits and vegetables. Know how fortunate you are to be a part of this wonderful circle of life and the turning wheel of the year.

 

 

 

Litha Recipes
Shakespeare’s Tea for a Midsummer’s Night
2 cups mint (peppermint or spearmint or 1 cup each)
1/2 cup marjoram
1/3 cup whole savory leaves
1/4 cup lavender flowers
Mix thoroughly and store in tightly covered container. To use, steep one teaspoon per cup of briskly boiling water for 10 minutes or so to taste.
Potato Crust Vegetable Pizza
4 medium baking potatoes, peeled
1 medium onion
2 beaten eggs
1/4 cup all–purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
2 medium yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow sweet pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 5.3–ounce package soft chevre (goat cheese)
16 cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
Fresh basil sprigs (optional)
Finely shred potatoes and onion into a bowl of water; drain well, squeezing out excess moisture. In a large bowl combine potato mixture, eggs, flour, and salt; mix well. Press into a well–greased 15x10x1–inch baking pan. Bake in a 425 degree F. oven for 15 minutes. Brush with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil; bake 10 minutes more. Place under the broiler; broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the zucchini, yellow squash, yellow pepper, red onion, and garlic. In a large skillet heat the remaining oil; cook the vegetable mixture, 2 cups at a time, until vegetables are crisp–tender, stirring often. Spread goat cheese over potato crust; top with cooked vegetables and tomatoes. Sprinkle with basil and mozzarella. Bake in a 425 degree F. oven for 5 to 7 minutes more or until cheese is melted. If desired, garnish with basil sprigs. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Solar Tea
1 large jar with a very tight fitting lid
cold water
2 tea bags for each quart of water
1 orange, unpeeled, well washed, and cut into small pieces
1/2 lemon, unpeeled, well washed, and cut into small pieces
Fill the jar with water. Add the orange, the lemon, and the tea bags. Place in full sunlight for two hours. Refrigerate immediately. Serve over ice.
Cucumber Salad
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon chopped chives
3 small cucumbers, thinly sliced
Combine the sour cream, parsley, vinegar, sugar, and chives.
Gently fold in cucumbers.
Cover and chill.
Sun’s Up Cobbler
1–1lb 14oz can (3 1/2 cups) halved peaches
3 slices slightly dry bread (toast on light)
1 tbs. cornstarch
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbs. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Drain peaches, reserving 1 cup syrup. In a pan, combine cornstarch and salt and slowly blend in reserved syrup. Over med.–high heat, cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and cook and stir for 2minutes. Add lemon juice, butter or margarine and peaches. Heat JUST to bubbling. Pour into 10x6x11/2 inch baking dish.
Cut bread lengthwise into 1 inch strips. Dip into 1/4 cup melted butter, then into mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Arrange over peaches. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until toasty. Serve with cream (optional) Makes 6 servings.

 
Lunch Time Cranberry Sun Mold
2 –3oz packages orange flavored gelatin
2 7oz bottles ginger ale
1 1lb can whole cranberry sauce
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 83/4 oz crushed pineapple, un–drained
1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
In saucepan, combine gelatin and cranberry sauce. Heat and stir until almost boiling. Stir in un–drained crushed pineapple and ginger ale. Remove from heat and stir until fizzing has stopped. Pour into round mold. Chill until set. Un–mold onto a serving dish with a layer of lettuce leaf bedding.
Garnish with orange and grapefruit sections. Top with alternating orange and grapefruit sections in a “pinwheel” array. Serve as salad or dessert.

 
High–In–The–Sky Sunny Sandwiches
4 French rolls
4 slices pressed ham
Butter or margarine, softened
4 slices salami
Several lettuce leafs
2 hard cooked eggs, sliced
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
French salad dressing
Split rolls lengthwise, cutting to but not through crust at back. Spread cut surfaces with butter or margarine. For each sandwich: Cover bottom half with a couple lettuce leafs, then slice cheese and cut lengthwise for julienne strips and add a few strips, fold slices of ham and salami and add. Place egg slices (3) atop folded meats. Drizzle approximately 1 tbs. of French salad dressing over each sandwich. Makes 4 servings.

 

 

 

Litha Activities and Ideas
Go berry picking. Have the children chose their best berry and throw it back into the berry bushes as they thank the Goddess and the bushes for the fruit.
Make a Wicker Man and burn him in your Litha bon fire.
Burn your remnants of your Yule Tree or Wreath in the bon fire or try using Wreaths of Vervain and Mugwort which were burned in ancient times at the end of the festivals to burn away bad luck.
Many families placed roses on the altar, as this is the Goddess flower for this time of the year. Try this yourself for a beautiful and fragrant decoration.
Leave out milk and honey as an offering to the Fae folk
Have a mock battle between the Oak and Holly King. Remember that this is part of the cycle and as the wheel turns the Holly King will rise again at Winter Solstice
Put a ring of flowers around your cauldron or around a bowl full of mugwort
Hang a bundle of fresh herbs out to dry and use them to spice up a Litha feast of cooked summer vegetables
Light a white candle and place it in front of a mirror. Say your own Litha prayer over it, and then let it burn out
Make a charm to hang around your neck with a seashell
Jump the balefire or cauldron
Offer a gift of lavender to the Gods in a bonfire. Pass St. John’s Wort through the smoke and then hang the herb up in the house for protection.
Make your own Stonehendge at the beach like you would a sand castle
Have an outdoor breakfast picnic to welcome the Solstice
Stay up and watch the sun go down on the longest day of the year!
Draw a picture of the sun at sunrise and sunset
Try a fire divination, stare into the coals of your bonfire as it settles or look for forms in the leaping flames.
Create a ritual to bring healing and love to Mother Earth
Dispose of those qualities that trouble you: project them into a burn–able (bunch of dry twigs, paper, etc.) and thrust the mass into a cleansing fire
make staffs
make dream pillows
make herb craft items like wreaths
make a witches’ ladder
Make a Catherine Wheel, or frame of sticks and withies (slender, flexible branches) with flammable material among the spokes. At the climax of your ritual, ignite the wheel and send it rolling down a hillside into a pond or lake. (obviously the hillside should be stone, bare earth, or covered with moist vegetation–no dry grass or underbrush!)

 

 
Litha Correspondences
Colors: gold, red, orange, blue, and yellow, green, white

Herbs & Plants: Apple, Chamomile, Chicory, Chickweed, Mugwort, Mistletoe, Heather, Peony, Pine, Roses, Vervain, Heartsease, Houseleek, Lavender, Rowan and Saint John’s Wort

Incense: Sage, Cedar, Frankincense, Lemon, Myrrh, Pine, Rose, and Lavender

Activities and Rituals: bonfire leaping, herb drying, protection, luck, health, transformation, community, career, and relationships

Tools: drums, rattles, bonfire, mirrors for reflecting the sun or bonfire, Earth circles of stone energy

Stones/Gems: all green stones, especially Emerald and Jade, Lapis, Diamond

Symbols & Decorations: flowers and fresh early garden produce, the spear or sword of the sun god and the bountiful cauldron of the goddess ringed in flowers, solar cross or sun symbols, fireworks, sea shells

Foods: all early summer fruits and vegetables, ale and mead, honey cakes, rose ice cream, melted cheese dishes, mangoes, whipped cream on fruit, red wine, strawberries

Deities: Fotuna, RA, Arinna, Bast, Grainne, Shamash, Helios, Mother Earth, Mother Nature Father Sun/Sky, Oak King

Animals: butterflies, caterpillars, sea creatures, wren, robin, horses, cattle, satyrs, faeries, firebird, dragon, thunderbird

 

 

 

Litha Ritual
Background
This is the time to rededicate yourself to your spiritual path and to ask for Lugh’s blessings. In this ritual marigolds are used to pay homage to the Lord. This flower has been associated with the sun since ancient times and abounds in stories of Apollo, the Greek sun god. Marigolds were believed to have magical properties, and that to look at them or smell their fragrance would remove sorrow and burdens.

The ancient people of Europe left their legacy in stone all over the Continent, the Mediterranean area, and the British Isles in the form of standing stone circles, alignments, and dolmens (chambers formed of standing stones). It has been known for a long time that these places mark the rising and setting of the sun at the Winter and Summer Solstices. They also mark lunar cycles, eclipses, and other astrological events.

It is worth noting that these sites were observatories as well as places of ritual. Science and spirituality were not separate compartments of reasoning and belief. Observing and honoring the natural world were integrated practices.

Stonehenge in England and Newgrange in Ireland are the most well–known sites, but the Brittany coast of France has the greatest number of standing stones. In this ritual, conjure up images in you mind and the energy of Carnac in Brittany where within a five–mile area there are 3,000 standing stones. Some are in circles, some are alone, but most are in rows that run for several kilometers. And for many centuries people danced and celebrated among the stones.

Setup
Items for this ritual include: Six candles for the altar; A basket of cut flowers; enough to lay out your circle (there can be space in between them); A basket of marigolds; Drums, rattles and other percussion instruments. If working solo or if these are not available you may want to use taped music such as Loreena McKennitt’s Huron “Beltane” Fire Dance; If doing ritual out of doors, find six to eight large rocks and set them in two rows with enough room for people to walk between to simulate the rows of standing stones at Carnac. If no large stones are available you may want to arrange a pile of smaller stones. If you are doing ritual indoors, use multiple baskets of flowers or potted plants. Be imaginative.

The Ritual
As you place flowers on the ground to mark your circle (large enough to encompass your “standing stones”) say:

Spring ends and summer comes upon the land. As the days grow in warmth, I ask the Lord and Lady to awaken the sacred flame within my soul. With this fragrant circle, sacred is this space decreed.
Go to the edge of your circle and face each direction, respectively. After speaking, light a candle on the altar. Face the altar when evoking the Goddess and God.

I look to the North and call on the powers of Earth to join me in my circle. Your body sends forth the blooms of early summer with rich sensuous colors. Be with me as a bright red flower.
I look to the East and call on the powers of Air to join me in my circle. Caress me with your warm breezes that sweeten my life with soft scented flowers and plants. Be with me as the fragrant Linden.
I look to the South and call on the powers of Fire to join me in my circle. Your growing heat transforms the world into a lush garden. Kiss me gently with your warmth.
I look to the West and the powers of Water. Your gentle rains banish thirst and wash me clean. Touch me with dew–filled mornings.
Sun King, Lord of Summer, I welcome you at your zenith, your last full shining. Tomorrow you begin your descent, but today I celebrate you.
Lady of All, Queen of Summer, I welcome you in your full mother aspect as the fields begin to ripen and you awaken a spark of divine love deep in my soul.
Stand facing your altar, and say:

This day I use marigolds to honor Lugh and ask for his blessing to further my spiritual journey.
Bow and then place a flower on the altar, saying:

Lugh, Beli Mawr, I thank you for your many blessings and reaffirm my spiritual path. Even though you will soon fade, your bright spirit will remain in my heart throughout the year. So mote it be.
Begin the taped music or do your own drumming and start a free–form dance weaving in and out among your “standing stones”. Chant:

I call to Lugh on Solstice Day,
Shine bright before you go away.
Sun King, Lugh, bring summer heat,
Blessed be and merry meet.
Continue until you feel the energy reach a peak, and then bring the music, drumming, chanting to a close. You may want to take time to meditate on your blessings as well as the reasons that you reaffirm your spiritual path.

Use your usual method for grounding energy or playback a recorded centering exercise.

Extinguish each altar candle before or after each devocation:

Lady of All, Queen of Summer, thank you Great Mother for the richness that unfolds around me and within me. I thank you for your presence with me this day and ask for your blessing as you depart. I bid you farewell.
Sun King, Lord of Summer, thank you for your bright spirit. I thank you for your presence with me this day and ask for your blessing as you depart. I bid you farewell.
Powers of Water, thank you for dewy mornings and gentle rains. I thank you for your presence with me this day and ask for your blessing as you depart. I bid you farewell.
Powers of Fire, thank you for your transforming flame. I thank you for your presence with me this day and ask for your blessing as you depart. I bid you farewell.
Powers of Air, thank you for warm breezes that sweeten long summer days. I thank you for your presence with me this day and ask for your blessing as you depart. I bid you farewell.
Powers of Earth, thank you for the sensuous colors and fragrance that enrich my life. I thank you for your presence with me this day and ask for your blessing as you depart. I bid you farewell.
And so my spiritual journey continues as the Wheel of the Year turns ever onward. My circle is open, but unbroken. May the peace and love of the Goddess remain in my heart. In faith and unity, blessed be.

 

 

 

Quick Palmistry
The Fingers
This area represents the mental element. If the fingers predominate, the subjects sphere has a mainly mental atmosphere.

The Upper Palm
This area represents the abstract element. If the middle portion of the hand is more pronounced, this would indicate the subject excels in ambition, shrewdness, and/or aggression tempered by prudence.

The Lower Palm
This area represents the material element. The development of the lower portion of the hand has a tendency to indicate a cultivation of not so nice motives, directed towards self–gratification and selfishness.

A hand with all three areas proportionate represents a bright and intelligent nature.

Seven Types of Hands
There are seven types of hands classified in Palmistry which relate to the general shapes. This is but a brief generalized overview.

The Elemental Hand
Often of the “clubbed” type with short thumb and stiff heavy fingers. To these hands belong war and colonization. Usually music lovers. Most are laborers.
The Square Hand
A square appearance as a whole including the palm and fingertips. Large thumb. This is the hand of practicality. Indications of a love of order, neat and tidy, courteous, patient and with an element of foresight.
The Spatulate Hand
The nail area of the hands give an appearance of a more or less flattened–out spatula. Usually large thumbs. Manual labor with a bit of love of adventure thrown in. Extremely self–confident, excellent leaders for a cause.
The Philosophic Hand
This hand has a large palm, the fingers are “knotty”. The top portion of the fingers have an oval egg–shape but appear flattened. When the hands are large, they incline toward analysis. They seek knowledge. The knotty fingers indicate a gift of calculation and deduction. Usually poetic in nature.
The Conic Hand
Also known as the Artistic Hand. Fingers are tapered, moderate sized palm, small thumb. Indicates he/she is impulsive, imaginative, a bit self–indulgent, and a lover of beauty.
The Psychic Hand
The most beautiful hand of all. Conical fingers, small, delicate, smooth and tapering. The upper phalanges are long. They tend to love beauty, are ethereal and imaginative. Poetic, enthusiastic but can also display a nervous tendency.
The Mixed Hand
Mixture of two or more types. A little of that one and a little of this one. The hand of versatality. “Jack of all trades”. Clever but has a tendency to be a bit erratic in his/her undertakings. Changing their minds constantly.

Major Lines
The Line of Life
The line of Vitality. Usually curving around the outer boundary of the Mount of Venus up towards the index (Jupiter) and middle (Saturn) fingers. Indicates constitution but also areas of major change in ones life.

The Line of Head
The line of Thought. Usually begins very near, with or above the Life Line at the base of the index finger (Jupiter). Indicates decision–making abilities, a strength of mental powers and concentration and your ability of thought processing. Can also show spine problems and upper thoracic pains.

The Line of Heart
Usually begins below your little finger (Mercury) through to the middle (Saturn) and index (Jupiter) fingers. Indicates both love (mentally) and condition (physical) of the heart. A h5 line shows mental and physical stability.

The Line of Fate
This line rises from the base of the hand up towards the middle (Saturn) finger. If this is deep, indicates perseverance against heavy odds. If it is a bit wavy, there will be ups and downs all through your life. If it goes all the way up to the Mount of Jupiter, success in everything you put your mind to.

The Line of Apollo
Also known as the Line of the Sun. This line runs up to the Mount of Apollo under the ring (Sun) finger. Indicates that with correct guidance and direction, you are capable of accomplishing much. A line of capability, possible accomplishments.

 

 

 

Purification Bath Before Ritual
Light incense and one taper candle. Place some sea salt in a white dish and water in a cup or vial (chalice). Make sure you’re not disturbed. No electrical lights, just light white candles. Pick up taper candle and make three passes over the water as you say:

By this element of fire, do I purify this ritual bath. May all impurities flee before its life.
Pick up salt and sprinkle 3 pinches of salt into bath water while saying:

By this element of earth do I purify this ritual bath. All impure creatures may not approach it.
Slowly pass the incense 3 times over the bath while saying:

By this element of air do I purify this ritual bath. May my hopes and aspirations rise upon the smoke to be carried by the winds to the Lady.
Pour the water into the bath next and say:

By this element of water do I purify this ritual bath. May the bath contain the waters of life that spring from the heart of the Mother.
Lay in the bath and let your troubles seep out of you and into the water. Dry off with a white towel and light clothing. Meditate if desired and apply any annointing oil.

 

Posted and Edited by Magickal Winds

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