Litha and Me

What am I going to do to celebrate Litha this year?  Gather Herbs absolutely!  I have already made some AVENS aka HERB BENNET (Geum urbanum) smudges as well as dried some leaves.  Other herbs that are already drying include FENNEL (Foeniculum vulgare), ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis), GRAPEFRUIT MINT (Mentha x piperita f. citrata ‘Grapefruit’) and GINGER MINT (Mentha x gracilis ‘Variegata’).

From the top left the herbs are, Herb Bennet, (Wood Avens) Rosemary, Grapefruit Mint, Ginger Mint, Comfrey and Borage

I will be collecting Elder flowers (Sambucus nigra), Comfrey (Symphytum officinale), which is looking very good at the moment, Borage (Borago officinalis) and too many others to mention… Oh, and the Honeysuckle looks like being a bumper crop this year! 

My Mugwort has not done so well this year, so I may not be able to make smudges with it, but I’ll see how it grows for the rest of the summer.  Mugwort is my favourite herb, so this is quite a disappointment.  Perhaps this will mean I will explore some herbs that I might not have bothered with if Mugwort had been available? [Everything happens for a reason…]

What will you be collecting, drying and making?  Please remember to thank the plant and give something back to it as you take some of it.

I will be meditating on Balance in areas of my life and on what areas need Energising.  To guide my further, I will be making both a Tarot and Ogham reading.

Without question, as at each festival I shall be honouring the God and the Goddess. 

That should set me up for the second part of the Light half of the year!

My sacred space for Litha
My sacred space for Litha

Here is a photo of my Litha sacred space. For the sun there is Yellow, Heliodor x3 and the Sun broach as well as Marigolds (later connected with Samhain). A ram’s horn for the God and a shell for the Goddess. For me, of course and always, the Triple Goddess candle holder. The Tarot cards are from The Wildwood Tarot by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, illustrated by Will Worthington. I have picked the Green Man and the Green Woman and the Sun of Life.

Litha Blessings to you – May the energy of the Sun and the balance of Life be with you!

Litha: Third Thoughts

Things to Do

  • Celebrate unions of all kinds
  • Charge magickal tools, tarot cards, jewellery, crystals etc. (if they require sun energy, but not if they flourish with moon energy)
  • Decorate with bright orange or yellow e.g. candles. Crystals, flowers
  • Drink Mead
  • Eat Honey
  • Gather Herbs
  • Honour both God and Goddess
  • Light a Bonfire (safely!)
  • Light a Citrus Incense
  • Light Candles
  • Make a Divination or scrying to discover how to direct your own power/energy and to what
  • Make a Midsummer Honey Cake (recipe on Litha in pagan festivals page)
  • Make Charms for success, protection, health and anything needed potent energy
  • Make Elder Flower Champagne (recipe on Litha in pagan festivals page)
  • Meditate on the Sun and draw in his energies into your body and life
  • Meditate with the Earth Goddess or with the dark Goddess in the Underworld
  • Visit an Oak tree
  • Welcome and watch the Sunrise on solstice morning

Use Litha to achieve any of these to improve your life

  • Be Empowered by the sun and in turn Empower others
  • Bless the Bounty of the Earth and do not squander it
  • Bring a project to Completion
  • Build your Life Force and use it for the greatest good
  • Celebrate all the good things in your life, people, animals, plants, environment, work, health…
  • Do your workings that need Potency, Power, Strength and Vitality at his time
  • Even at this time of plenty and vigour, remember that Nothing Lasts Forever
  • Give Healing to yourself, others, animals, environment etc.
  • Go to a Hand-Fasting or re-new your vows to your life-partner
  • Increase Fertility in all its aspects in your life
  • Let your Inner Radiance shine through
  • Make a list of all the Abundance you have in your life and be thankful and grateful

You might like to add these, or their representations to your seasonal sacred space

  • Associations: Bonfire, Flaming Wheels, Processions, Candles, Labyrinth (inner journey through fears)
  • Animals: Bee, Bull, Cattle, Horse, Robin, Spider, Summer Birds, Wren
  • Mythical Creatures: Dragons, Faeries, Firebirds, Manticores, Satyrs, Thunderbirds
  • Colours: Gold, Green, Oranges, White, Yellows.
  • Goddesses Mother Earth, the Mother, Pregnant and Dark goddesses, Aine, Aphrodite, Arachne, Ariadne, Arianrhod, Artemis, Ariadne, Astarte, Athena, Danu, Freya, Hathor, Ishtar, Kali, Isis, Juno, Venus
  • Gods: Apollo, Bel, the Dagda, Father Sun, Father Gods, Gwydion, Green Man, Helios, Holly King, Lugh, Lugh, Oak King, Ra, Sol, Sun Deities, Zeus, Thor
  • Element: Fire
  • Food: Honey, Lemons, Oranges
  • Drink: Ale, Mead, sweet Wines, fresh Fruit Juice, Herbal Teas
  • Herbs: Basil, Chamomile, Cinquefoil, Copal, Elder, Fennel, Fern, Honeysuckle, Lavender, Lemon, Mint, Mugwort, Rue, Saffron, St John’s Wort, Thyme, Vervain, Verbena, Yarrow
  • Spices: Frankincense, Sandalwood
  • Trees: Laurel, Mistletoe, Oak, Pine, Roses, Wisteria, Ylang-Ylang,  
  • Stone Circles: Stonehenge, Callanish in Lewis, Ring of Brodgar in Orkney
  • Stones: Amber, Citrine, Diamond, Emerald, Gold Tigers Eye, Golden Topaz, Heliodor, Malachite, Opal, Pyrite, Quartz Rutilated, Sunstone
  • Symbols: Spear (God), Cauldron (Goddess)

Litha: Second Thoughts

The God and Goddess

The God, in his solar aspect is at the pinnacle of his powers before he too, begins a slow descent through dying at Mabon, his death and later rebirth at Yule, and so the wheel keeps turning.  Yet, for now, he still has much to do.  Before that, he is crowned as the Sun God and assumes his responsibility to the land, as consort to the Earth Goddess. Both deities are at the peak of their young, vigorous strength, creativity and fertility and bring joy, abundance and celebration.   

The God and Goddess at Litha, Midsummer
The God and Goddess

The dual nature of the God battles to gain power.  Now the mature Oak King battles with his twin, the Holly King, who presides over winter.  At Midsummer, the Holly King wins the battle and gradually takes the year into the darker, waning, cold and decaying half.  They battle again at Yule, when the Oak King wins to rule the bring light, life and brightness into the world.  Although others may see this fight as being held at Mabon and Ostara, the two equinoxes.

The Oak King and the Holly King challenge each other in their twice yearly ritual
The Oak King and the Holly King challenge each other in their twice yearly ritual

The Sun leaves Gemini (mutable Air) and enters Cancer (cardinal Water) the sign of the crab and of the dark devouring Mother/Goddess, who starts the journey of the defeated King into the Underworld to await rebirth.  

Even as the earth ripens its bounty, the Goddess is now pregnant with the God Child who will be born at Yule.  There are no breaks in the wheel of the year as it continually turns through, birth, maturity, dying, death, decay and birth again.

The Goddess is pregnant with the Sun God, who will be born at Yule
The Goddess is pregnant with the Sun God

What responsibilities are you answerable for?  Where on the turning wheel do you see yourself?  What is within you, waiting to show itself later?  What do you need to grow and protect to bring forth later?

Litha: First Thoughts

First thoughts on Litha, a celebration of the Summer Solstice

Litha is usually celebrated between 20th and 23rd of June.  It is the Midsummer festival, celebrating the longest day of the year.  The specific solar event of the Summer Solstice happens in a moment of time and this year 2020, it falls on Saturday 20th June at 22:43 BST.  That is the precise time that the hours of daylight and night-time are equal.  After that we in the northern hemisphere begin a slow descent into shorter days and longer nights, although the hottest part of the year is still to come. 

Diagram showing the Summer and Winter Solstices and Spring and Autumn Equinoxes
Diagram showing the Solstices and Equinoxes

The Solstice is a pivotal time of stillness and balance, when day and night, sun and moon, the physical and spiritual blend together and is one of three ‘Spirit Nights’ (with Beltane, Samhain). The boundaries are blurred; otherworld beings, spirits and the fae visit; leave offerings of milk and honey to prevent mischief!

Agriculturally, crops are in full growth. They are reaching the pinnacles of maturity and coming closer to the harvest time. Most wild herbs are fully mature by Midsummer and this is the traditional time for gathering magickal and medicinal plants to dry and store for winter use. In Wales, Midsummer is called Gathering Day in honour of this practice.

St John's Wort, traditional harvested at Midsummer
St John’s Wort, traditional harvested at Midsummer

How can you have better balance in your life?  Do you have clear or blurred boundaries?  How are you enjoying the peak of your powers?  What have you grown to maturity?

Your Energy

A reminder that we can give only so much of our emotional selves, before doing so affects the balance of our body. Use your emotional energy wisely.

A branch of a tree, showing a delicate balance between staying alive and well on the tree or snapping under too much pressure.
A branch of a tree, showing a delicate balance between staying alive and well on the tree or snapping under too much pressure.

Life goes on

Even in these most strange times, life goes on. Nature continues on its circle; the wheel turns. Swans and cygnets, ducks and ducklings, having survived predators so far, enjoy a ‘family day out’. So many things we can learn from Nature if we only stop to see, listen, hear and feel…

Gratitude

As we approach the zenith of the Sun, the Midsummer Equinox, it seems a good time to say ‘Hello’ and ‘Thankyou’ to all the recent followers of http://www.mintlawholisticcentre.com  I hope you find some of what you are looking for here. The website is ‘an on-going project’ with frequent additions. Those waiting to be added include articles on Paganism, Crystals, Tarot, non-medicinal Herbs and more. If you would like information on a particular topic, let me know. I look forward to your comments.  Many Blessings to you all!

Thankful, Grateful and truly Blessed poster
Thankful, Grateful and Truly Blessed

June’s Full Moon

This month’s Full Moon falls on June 5th at 19.14 GMT on the 16th degree of Sagittarius, with the Sun on the opposite 16th degree of Gemini. 

This Full Moon is also a penumbral lunar eclipse.  Any eclipse of the Moon can only happen at full Moon, when the Sun, Earth and Moon line up in space, with Earth in the middle. Then the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon, creating a lunar eclipse. There are three kinds of lunar eclipses: total, partial and penumbral.  In a penumbral lunar eclipse, which this one is, only the more diffuse outer shadow of Earth falls on the Moon’s face. This is the most subtle eclipse, and much more difficult to observe, than the other two. At best, at mid-eclipse, a dark shading on the Moon’s face may be seen.

It is known as Strawberry Moon, for the wild and cultivated strawberries that abound during this month.  Other names are Hot Moon for the increasing heat, Lovers Moon for the number of marriages in June and Honey Moon for the gift from the bees as honey or mead.   

This is the month to maintain and enhance what you already have, whether within yourself, family, social circle, workplace or environment e.g. contact the friend who you keep meaning to get in touch with, enjoy time with your family, tidy your garden, learn something new etc.

This time of the year is a resting space between planting and harvesting crops, and so is ideal to take time out for weddings as the weather is warming and the daylight longer for celebrations. Ancient peoples di not want to be thought of as trying to compete with the God and Goddess who joined at Beltane, so couples chose this time of relative ease to commit to each other. The newly wed couples were given food and drink containing honey for the whole month to encourage love and fertility; hence the holiday of newly-weds being called a honeymoon.

Mead with smoker for the bee hive

Some early fruits and vegetables have appeared, the air is full of the aroma of flowers, the days are getting longer, and Winter seems a long time ago.  Enjoy this breathing space between the frantic spring and autumn seasons and the abundance that is now beginning to come in.

What or who will you nurture?  What will you create and love during this honeymoon time?  How much sweetness will you spread?  How will you fill the space between the your seasons?  Looking at your relationships of all kinds, do you wish to maintain them, do they need you to make an improvement?

A little something

Something to think about during these challenging times…

Enough is Enough

Third thoughts on Beltane

Things to do

Bannock Cake

There are many things to do that are appropriate at this time.  Here are some suggestions, obviously some things will need to be adapted for the current situation, but let your imagination go!

  • Ask for the blessings of one of the Beltane Gods or Goddesses
  • Bake Bannock cakes (oats are associated with this festival)
  • Be wild (within reason!)
  • Commune with the faeries
  • Dance around a Maypole – symbol of the Gods potency
  • Do something that enlivens you
  • Draw up the burgeoning energy of the earth into your body to increase your energy flow
  • Find somewhere to commune with nature and/or the Fae
  • Gather the first herbs of the season
  • Jump the Bonfire for Blessings, Protection, Fertility etc (tie the ashes into a bag and carry for fertility)
  • Hang Rowan twigs over doorways for protection
  • Jump the Bonfire for blessings, protection, fertility etc (tie the ashes into a bag and carry for fertility)
  • Make a wish at a Hawthorn tree
  • Make and wear leafy green masks to represent the returning Green Man
  • Make daisy chains, fresh flower wreaths and circlets or wear flowers
  • Mark the boundaries of your circle with oatmeal
  • Meditate on the heart chakra
  • Purify your ritual tools in your Bel-fire
  • Quicken something you have been planning
  • Sow seeds
  • Visit a Hawthorn tree or holy well
  • Wash yourself in May morning dew for magickal potency and ensuring your youth and beauty in the coming year
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