Celtic – Litha 3 Rituals

litha-sun

How to Hold a Midsummer Sun Ritual

Midsummer is the time of the summer solstice, the Litha sabbat, and it’s the longest day of the year. Falling around June 21 in the northern hemisphere, and around December 21 below the equator, this is a time to celebrate the warmth and power of the sun. It’s a great time of year to get outside, enjoy the extra hours of daylight, and celebrate the season with family and friends. You can do this ritual as a group or adapt it to perform as a solitary practitioner.

You’ll need the following items:

  • A larger candle to represent the sun
  • An individual candle for each participant to hold

Also, be sure to decorate your altar with symbols of the season – solar symbols, fresh flowers, in-season summer produce and crops that you’ve harvested. You should do this ritual outside if at all possible, so you can take advantage of the sun’s light and energy.

If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, go ahead and do that first.

Take a moment to ground and center, and get yourself focused. Bask in the rays of the sun, feeling its warmth on your face, and welcoming its power into you.

The person who is leading the ritual – for ease of purpose, we’ll call that person the HPs – should stand at the altar.

HPs: We are here today to celebrate the power and energy of the sun. The sun is the source of warmth and light around the world. Today, at Litha, the summer solstice, we mark the longest day of the year. From Yule until this day, the sun has been moving ever closer to the earth. Flowers are blooming, crops are growing, and life has returned once more. Today we honor the gods and goddesses of the sun.

The HPs lights the sun candle on the altar.

HPs: The sun is the ultimate source of fire and light. Like all sources of light, the sun shines brightly and spreads around the world. Even as it gives its light and power to each of us, it is never diminished by the sharing of that energy. The sun passes over us each day, in the never-ending circle of light. Today, we share that light with each other, passing it around the circle, forming a ring of light.

Using the sun candle, the HPs lights her own candle, and turns to the next person in the circle. As she lights the next person’s candle, she says: May you be warmed and rejuvenated by the light of the sun.

The second person turns to the third, lighting their candle, and passing along the blessing. Continue until the last candle in the circle has been lit, returning back to the HPs.

Remember, this is a joyous celebration – feel free to include dancing, clapping, music or even a drum circle as you enjoy the power of the sun!

As each person in the group holds their lit candle, the HPs calls upon the gods and goddesses of the sun. Feel free to add or substitute different solar deities as your tradition or needs require.

HPs: Gods who bring us light, we honor you!
Hail, Ra, whose mighty chariot brings us light each morning!
Hail, Ra!
Hail, Apollo, who brings us the healing energies of the sun!
Hail, Apollo!
Hail, Saule, whose fertility blooms as the sun gains in strength!
Hail, Saule!
Hail, Helios, whose great steeds race the flames across the sky!
Hail, Helios!
Hail, Hestia, whose sacred flame lights our way in the darkness!
Hail, Hestia!
Hail, Sunna, who is sister of the moon, and bringer of light!
Hail, Sunna!

We call upon you today, thanking you for your blessings, accepting your gifts. We draw upon your strength, your energy, your healing light, and your life giving power!
Hail to you, mighty gods and goddesses of the sun!

Each member of the group should now place their candles on the altar, surrounding the sun candle.

HPS: The sun radiates out, never dying, never fading. The light and warmth of today will stay with us, even as the days begin to grow shorter, and the nights grow cold once more. Hail, gods of the sun!

Invite everyone to take in the warmth of the sun once more, and when you are done, end the ritual as you normally would.

 

 

How To Hold a Midsummer Night’s Fire Ritual

The Summer Solstice, known to some as Litha, Midsummer, or Alban Heruin, is the longest day of the year. It’s the time when the sun is most powerful, and new life has begun to grow within the earth. After today, the nights will once more begin to grow longer, and the sun will move further away in the sky.

If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, consecrate a space, or call the quarters, now is the time to do so. This ritual is a great one to perform outside, so if you have the opportunity to do this without scaring the neighbors, take advantage of it.

Begin this ritual by preparing the wood for a fire, without lighting it yet. While the ideal situation would have you setting a huge bonfire alight, realistically not everyone can do that. If you’re limited, use a table top brazier or fire-safe pot, and light your fire there instead.

Say either to yourself or out loud:

Today, to celebrate Midsummer, I honor the Earth itself. I am surrounded by tall trees. There is a clear sky above me and cool dirt beneath me, and I am connected to all three. I light this fire as the Ancients did so long ago.

At this point, start your fire. Say:

The Wheel of the Year has turned once more
The light has grown for six long months
Until today.

Today is Litha, called Alban Heruin by my ancestors.
A time for celebration.
Tomorrow the light will begin to fade
As the Wheel of the Year
Turns on and ever on.

Turn to the East, and say:

From the east comes the wind,
Cool and clear.
It brings new seeds to the garden
Bees to the pollen
And birds to the trees.

Turn to Face South, and say:

The sun rises high in the summer sky
And lights our way even into the night
Today the sun casts three rays
The light of fire upon the land, the sea, and the heavens

Turn to face West, saying:

From the west, the mist rolls in
Bringing rain and fog
The life-giving water without which
We would cease to be.

Finally, turn to the North, and say:

Beneath my feet is the Earth,
Soil dark and fertile
The womb in which life begins
And will later die, then return anew.

Build up the fire even more, so that you have a good strong blaze going.

If you wish to make an offering to the gods, now is the time to do it. For this sample, we’re including the use of a triple goddess in the invocation, but this is where you should substitute the names of the deities of your personal tradition.

Say:

Alban Heruin is a time of rededication
To the gods.
The triple goddess watches over me.
She is known by many names.
She is the Morrighan, Brighid, and Cerridwen.
She is the washer at the ford,
She is the guardian of the hearth,
She is the one who stirs the cauldron of inspiration.

I give honor to You, O mighty ones,
By all your names, known and unknown.
Bless me with Your wisdom
And give life and abundance to me
As the sun gives life and abundance to the Earth.

I make this offering to you
To show my allegiance
To show my honor
To show my dedication
To You.

Cast your offering into fire. Conclude the ritual by saying:

Today, at Litha, I celebrate the life
And love of the gods
And of the Earth and Sun.

Take a few moments to reflect upon what you have offered, and what the gifts of the gods mean to you. When you are ready, if you have cast a circle, dismantle it or dismiss the quarters at this time. Allow your fire to go out on its own.

 

 

Ritual To Celebrate Fatherhood

In many traditions of Paganism, particularly those that are Wicca-based, there is a great deal of focus on the Goddess. Sometimes, there’s so much attention to the feminine that the masculine aspects get overlooked. By welcoming the God of your tradition, you can honor the men who have impacted your life — whether they raised you, loved you, or are being brought up by you. This simple rite also offers your menfolk a chance to get out there and dance, and to celebrate the masculine within themselves.

Prior to the ritual, make a headdress for each male that will be present. This can include horns, antlers, branches, feathers, and other symbols of fertility and masculinity. Headdresses are fairly simple to make – use a strip of heavy fabric or cardboard cut to size, and just glue items on it. If your boys are younger, this is a fun craft project. Assign one male to act out the part of the Horned Godin the ritual.

Also, give each member of the group some sort of noisemaker — drums, rattles, bells, etc.

This is a ritual best performed in a group, either as a family or coven. If you normally cast a circle or call the Quarters in a ceremony, do so at this time. Light a red or gold candle in the center of your altar to represent the Sun.

The High Priestess (HPs) or whoever is leading the ritual should face the sun, and say:

We are here as a family (or coven)
On this longest of days.
The power of the Sun is above us,
and its heat and strength reminds us
of the power of the God.

At this point, the group members should shake their rattles, bang their drums, ring their bells. Do so slowly, almost at the tempo of a heartbeat.

The HPs continues:

The God is strong and powerful,
he is virile and fertile.
He is the Lord of the Hunt,
the King of the Forest,
and with the Goddess, together they create Life.

At this point, speed up the beat of the drums and rattles just a bit. We honor the God today, and celebrate the masculine within him.

The HPs goes on and says:

I call upon the Horned God!
Cernunnos, Herne, Apollo!
We ask you to honor us with your presence!

Now the drumming should speed up even more. The man or boy chosen to be the Horned God leads the male members of the group around the altar clockwise in a dance, keeping up with the rhythm of the drums and rattles. As the males circle the altar, they should move faster each time.

Allow the men and boys to dance around the altar as many times as they like. As the dance gets faster, the music will get faster too, until there is a palpable hum of energy. This sensation is often indicative of the presence of the Divine. Let the music run its course — it will end when it’s ready to end, and at that time, the dance should stop too.

Once the dancing and drumming has ceased, the HPs should call out:

Horned one, God of the Hunt,
Lord of the Forest!
We honor you tonight, on this longest day.
We celebrate the men in our lives,
those who raised us,
those who love us,
those that we are raising.
We honor them in Your name.

Each member of the group, both male and female, may make an offering at this time. If you have a fire burning, through your offerings into the flames. If you don’t have a fire, place your offerings on the altar instead.

Take a few moments to reflect upon the balance of male and female in your life, and in the world. Think about the men you have known, and those you will know in the future. Recognize the qualities that make them honorable and worthy of your love.

When you are ready, dismiss the quarters or close the circle.

Tips:

  • Decorate your altar with the colors of midsummer — golds and reds and yellows. You’ll also want a candle in one of those colors.
  • If you don’t have drums, rattles or bells, clap your hands or clack two sticks together!

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