Nearly every agricultural society has marked the high point of summer in some way. For Pagans, there are many different ways to celebrate the Summer Solstice, also known as Litha, but nearly everyone takes it as a time to celebrate.
In my house, there is a lot of excitement about the longest day of the year. We talk about the great battle between the Holly King and The Oak King. Going into June, the great Oak King is at the height of his power, ruling over the season with unmatched strength. It is on the Summer Solstice that a great battle takes place, and the Holly King defeats the Oak King and we enter into his reign, which will last until the Winter Solstice in December. So while it is hot and we will enjoy the warmth and sunshine for months to come, we are reminded that change is already occurring in preparation for the next seasons. This is how our world works, it never stays still, there is always change, and even though we should live and enjoy the moment, we must also keep one eye to the future and the things to come.
It is also a time of great abundance. Our gardens are bursting with colour and beauty. Our herbal gardens are so prolific, it’s difficult to keep up with the picking of them! The birds and animals around us seem happy, they find plenty of food and are focused on raising their young now that summer is here. The Great Goddess is giving birth to new life everywhere and it is a time of celebration.
For me, spiritually, there is plenty do do on the week leading up to Summer Solstice. With the Oak King at his strongest, it’s a powerful time. I practice a few rituals, including making this sun amulet. It’s also a good time to call for new friends and renew bonds with old ones. I also made some Summer Solstice-related toys for the kids. This year it was star wands and sun medallions.
So on this longest day, we get out and enjoy it! We eat fresh-picked wild strawberries from our place. We picnic and cloud-gaze.
We try to enjoy water, in reverence to our ancestors who celebrated Summer Solstice by rolling great wheels of fire into lakes or other bodies of water. Some years we are lucky enough to get to the beach, but this year we enjoyed a splash pad and our own pool.
Sun had a softball game later that evening. It was threatening to storm all afternoon and evening. There was one heck of a wind blowing, but it never did storm. Wolf played with some friends at the ballfield and I ate some more fresh strawberries while watching the kids play ball.
We would have BBQ’d, had there been time, but even on the longest day of the year, the kids still have to get to bed at a decent hour for school the next morning! So instead we enjoyed a simple meal and some summer treats outdoors. And of course, the kids got their presents.
On most years we would also change over our Fairie Garden to a summer one. Didn’t get done this year though! Maybe we will find the time next week when the Sun is out of school!
We had a pretty good Summer Solstice this year. My only lowlight was that it was so overcast, I didn’t get to see the Strawberry Moon. This year there was a phenomenon in which the Summer Solstice and the full moon occurred on the same night. This happens only once in a lifetime! That’s ok though, I know it was there even though I didn’t get to see it with my own eyes!
Enjoy summer, everyone!!