At Litha, we celebrate the sun at the height of its power. This is the longest day and the shortest night, and the highest that we’ll see the sun overhead this year. This is also the calender’s beginning of the Summer season, though the weather has been hot for weeks or months now. This is also a traditional time to contact the world of faerie or nature spirits that are active all around us.
We’re still celebrating fertility, and enjoying the first Summer fruits and veggies to come ripe. Tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and zucchini are everywhere!
In the agricultural world, we’re starting to harvest on a small scale, though the larger scale harvests are still to come. We’re still caretaking our gardens and fields, trying to give the crops the best chance at survival by weeding and nurturing them. We’re gearing up for the serious work of the harvest that’s coming up, and enjoying what rest we can.
In the non-agricultural world, we feel ourselves at the height of our powers, mirroring the sun. This is a time of being outside, enjoying leisure time with friends and family, and also getting things done. Even in the non-agricultural world, we’ve planted metaphorical seeds that we’re tending to now, hoping for a strong harvest in our own lives.
Let’s look at some ideas for how to decorate our Litha altars!
Colors (for altar cloths, flowers, candles, and decorations)
Green is great right now to celebrate nature, plantlife, and the world of the fae. Yellows and golds represent the sun at its height, and I like to include the red of roses that are blooming right now. The blue of a starry night can be nice, too, as it’s a great time to spend evenings outdoors. It’s also appropriate include rainbows for the fae and for Gay Pride month!
The scents of milk and honey draw the fae, as well as floral scents and the scents of green, growing herbs. I love the scents of basil, thyme, and mint right now as a reminder of all the good things that are happening in the garden.
For incense, those same green herbs are a nice addition, and frankincense has a nice warm scent that invokes the sun. Wildcrafted pine resin can be a fun and easy way to add your local nature to your incense blend.
- The sun. Any representation of the sun is a great addition to your Litha altar. Sunflowers are also festive and fun as representations of the sun right now.
- The fae and anything that attracts nature spirits. Light bells, dancing lights, and offerings of bread, milk, and honey are perfect to add to your offering bowl now.
- Bees, honeycombs, and honey. What better way to celebrate the sun and spirits of nature than by honoring honey and the collective spirit of the sacred honeybee? This was a time when honey was traditionally collected and made into mead to celebrate Summer’s weddings. Mead-making and weddings at this time of year is where the term ‘honeymoon’ came from.
- The oak tree. The oak is symbolic of the God principle, strength, and longevity. This is the God at his height, at the pinnacle of his power.
- Sacred water. There are water celebrations that take place around now in many cultures, and it’s a nice counterpart to the traditional solar symbolism. Feminine water provides a counterbalance to the sun and this is a time when we seek out water as a relief from the heat of the height of Summer. Images of the ocean, rivers, waterfalls, and rain can be a nice addition to the Litha altar.
Are there other Litha images and symbols that you like to add to your altar? Let me know what’s meaningful to you around this time of year. Happy Litha and blessed be!