Monday, June 13, 2016

5 Ways to Celebrate Litha Without Spending a Dime!



(Notice wonky grammar? I capitalize seasons and natural entities when speaking of them in a spiritual manner. Rhyme unintended...)


Ahhhh Litha. The Summer Solstice (for us Northern Hemisphere folks). The turning point of sunlight. This year Litha is celebrated on June 20th. Come the 21st, the days will already begin to shorten, the nighttime hours overcoming the sunlight by just a tiny interval every evening, gaining momentum for the fall. 

When I was living in New England, Litha was always tinged with a morsel of sadness. New Englanders spend all winter craving sunshine (at least when the weather wasn't so wacky. Much has changed in over a decade). It is ironic that the first day of summer is the same day the sunlight begins to lose its battle for dominance, beginning its descent into darkness. It's beautiful in a way, once again reaffirming that nothing in life is permanent. But as a teenager who spent her summer nights on the beach or at a bonfire (I basically grew up in an episode of The Gilmore Girls, familial strife and parental disappointment included) I dreaded that first summer night when the darkness gained footing and you began to notice the daylight hours wane.

But as I said, much has changed in over a decade. I now find myself in the desert, a harsh landscape known for its brutal summers. And I mean B-R-U-T-A-L! Litha in New Mexico means the summer heat is amping up, devouring small children and unicorn wishes all in the name of blazing temperatures. 

...At least that's what it feels like. Maybe no children are harmed. It's really hard to tell with the empty streets and blasting air conditioning and all. (Oh sweet Universe, thank you for air conditioning!)

Michaela in her thirties (Early thirties. Early!!) now welcomes Litha, seeing it as a milestone. A small one, but a marker nonetheless. Litha means one step closer to fall, one step closer to reprieve from the blistering sun. (Well, sort of. It's still the Southwest.)

There will come a time when I relish those summer days again, this I promise you. I long for the humid days, the sultry nights, the pleasure found in a refreshing ocean breeze, the excitement felt in a cooling afternoon thunderstorm. When I lived in New England, I adored summer time and it's carefree nature. In the Southwest, summer is our winter. And a nuclear one at that. (New Mexico joke! Ahhhh radiation posioning...what a barrel of laughs).

Anywho, I'll put aside my slight resentment of summer to honor the Sun. After all, we'd be sort of dead without it. (Of course, you can be very dead in the desert sun as well. Okay, okay! I'll stop!!)

This year Litha is pretty special! Litha is the height of the Sun's power, yet it falls on the night of a full moon. How magickal is that?! The peak of sunlight is accompanied by the apex of the moon's cycle. I find that so wonderfully beautiful and poetic. Goddess and God in perfect harmony. This will be a fantastic time to cast spells for balance or to reflect on your life. Are YOU keeping balance? Is there an area of your life that isn't getting as much love as it needs? Now would be the perfect opportunity to address that.

Being that this is a celebration of the Sun (we're celebrating the Sun's strength whereas Yule is celebrating the return of the Sun), yellow and gold are very appropriate. Whether you decorate your table in yellow or choose golden foods (like carrots, oranges, or lemonade) anything sun colored is perfect to honor the God! Keep foods fresh and in season. This Sabbat is particularly easy to cook for because gardens are thriving.

How else can you celebrate Litha without spending a dime? Let me show you!

Make Sun Tea
I didn't know about sun tea until I lived in the Southwest. It's very common for people to leave a sun tea jar in their window pretty much all the time. Admittedly, I don't make sun tea often, but I DO make sure to brew a batch on Litha! It's super easy, super quick (hands-on time, at least), and mighty tasty! Simply take a few bags of your favorite tea (herbal or otherwise) and toss them into a large jar. Cover with water and place in the sun for several hours. When you return—voila!—tea! You can purchase beautiful containers with spigots specifically made for sun tea, but I personally use a clean jar. Free and environmentally friendly! ;)

Have a Picnic
It seems like most Pagan Sabbats come back to eating a meal outside. But that's because there's nothing more basic and innate than eating a meal in nature. Plan a meal based around the sun—fresh fruits and vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes, a favorite spicy dish (hot like the sun!) and hit your favorite picnic spot. Watch nature. Take in the butterflies. Smell the fresh blooms. Enjoy the bare grass beneath your feet and the warm sun on your shoulders. Take a nap in the shade of a willow tree. Rinse. Repeat. I never regret an afternoon spent in the grass. Never! [she yelled, shaking her fist at the nearest cactus.]

Make a Sun Dial
Sun dials are pretty cool. As a person with no children, I'd totally make one for my garden. But if you have kids, what a cool way to teach them about the sun! In a world of smartphones, I'm betting most children don't realize time used to be kept by that wonderful sphere in the sky. It's a really neat way to teach children about our innate connection with nature. And it can be done with supplies from your craft closet! (Or from a pizza stone for adults! How creative!)

Get Out in the Sun!
Yours truly is routinely heard during the blistering desert months of May-October whining saying, "I have Celtic blood! I don't belong in the sun!" If you've never experienced the infamous sear of the Southern sun, you can't fully understand when I say that I can maybe manage two minutes of midday June sun before my skin begins to burn. Literally two minutes. So Miss Michaela may be watching the sunset, but you won't find me frolicking around in a flower crown and white sundress soaking up the rays come noon. (Am I the only person who desperately wants a flower crown???) Take a walk. Sit outside and sip lemonade. Read a book. Or best of all—do nothing but watch the nature around you! Enjoying the sunshine is an easy, free, and pleasant way to celebrate Litha!

Have a Fire-Cooked Meal
Fire is always a perfect way to honor the God. And cooking a meal over a fire means you'll probably start before sundown, thus putting you under the Litha sunlight. Cooking with fire also means you'll be imbuing your food with all that lovely God energy (and tasty campfire smoke!). Roasting food over a fire connects us to our native roots of living in nature. It's a time for us to slow down and relish the experience of preparing a meal, something we don't often do in a microwave, fast-food world. Just make sure you're stocked up on wood. You'll want to continue the party under the Litha full moon!

Blessed Litha, Everyone! And Happy Full Moon!


What do you do to celebrate Litha? Do you have any special plans for the Litha Full Moon?

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8 comments:

  1. I can't imagine moving from the NE to New Mexico. Georgia summers are awful too. Hot and humid and too much. I long for actual seasons. Its either summer or winter here with no in between. I'd really like to move to Maine or maybe Massachusetts where there are seasons and mild summers. I bet Samhain is gorgeous in the NE.

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    1. Yeah, the move was most definitely not by choice! =P New England is AMAZING!!! The seasons have gone a little cattywampus since I moved 12 years ago, but the fall is still breathtaking! Maine has super cold and very long winters, but it is gorgeous. And Massachusetts is great! Oh how I miss the ocean! You should try to visit New England in the fall if you can. There's nothing like it! Vermont and New Hampshire are particularly gorgeous with lots of long scenic drives. Just beautiful!

      I heard Georgia is mighty sticky! =P I think we're in different but equal miseries. =P Stay cool, my friend!

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  2. I have never made sun tea and I totally want it! It's so awesome to meet another pagan blogger too :) Thanks for the tips, I am so behind on my posts for the summer solstice!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! It's always a pleasure to meet another blogger! I already checked out your blog and made sure to bookmark it! =D Let me know what you think of the sun tea. Mighty tasty!! =D Have a Blessed Litha!

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  3. I'm located in west Texas! Lubbock to be exact, there are absolutely no pages, shops, or other people that practice Wicca :( is it that way in New Mexico as well? Im only an hour from NM.

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    1. Yay, Texas! Are you originally from Lubbock? Pure curiosity. My husband's family is from Austin, so I've visited on occasion. Never been to Lubbock, though. Sheesh, that state is huge!

      While I'm sure there are other Pagans and Wiccans lurking somewhere, I'm unaware of any covens or circles simply because I've practiced in solitude for many years. As far as New Age or metaphysical stores, I'm roughly 100 miles away from anything beyond Walmart in any given direction, so I gave up hope of that a long time ago! =P Thank goodness for the internet, right?! =D

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  4. Great post! My birthday is on the 20th, so my family and I had double reason to celebrate. I enjoy looking into how others do their holidays and, as it turns out, my family and I did nearly the same things as what you mentioned. I had a good laugh at the statement about having "Celtic blood" in the heat. I have made that same remark quite a few times! Actually, on the daily or something close as I live in Florida. This was my first time reading anything from you and I loved it! I will absolutely be looking for more!

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    1. Happy belated! Awww, thank you for the kind words. I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog. Try not to overheat out there in Florida! =D

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