Celtic Traditions: Litha

Our Scottish ancestry is rich in Celtic traditions

The Celts follow an Earth based seasonal wheel. The Celtic year is divided into two halves, the dark beginning with Samhain and the light beginning with Beltane. In between these are Imbolc and Lughnasadh/Lammas. These key points of the Celtic year were recognized as doorways, when the veil between the worlds are thinnest.

These quarters are further divided by the solstices and equinoxes:  Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, and Autumn Equinox. These were referred to as the Albans.

We’re all familiar with the solstices as they are noted as the longest (summer) and shortest (winter) days of the year. The word is derived from the Latin sol meaning sun and sistere meaning to stand still.

Equinoxes also occur twice a year, when day and night are equal lengths. In fact, the word is derived from the Latin aequus meaning equal and nox meaning night.

Today is Litha (pronounced LEE-tha)

Here we are, at the peak of the Solar year. Litha (mid-summer) is the summer solstice, astronomically the longest day of the year, and falls between June 21st and 22nd.

The Goddess is pregnant with Child and the Sun God is at the height of His virility. This is a time to celebrate achievements, embrace the abundance of the Earth, and experience the joys of fertility.

Fire represents the sun, a constant and daily reminder of the power of the God. In ancient times, Celts would light balefires on hills and sacred places from sunset the night before Midsummer until the sunset of the following day. They would stay up all night, dancing around or leaping through the fires, to welcome the sunrise. Afterwards, the coals would be scattered in the fields to ensure a good harvest.

Today, especially if a cloudy or rainy day, a candle should be lit for the entire day.

Litha was the time to formalize handfastings, couples together for a year and a day, from the previous Beltane. A time to renew wedding vows.

Decorate your home with dried herbs, potpourri, seashells, summer flowers, and fruits. Scents to include are sage, mint, basil, Saint John’s Wort, sunflower, lavender.

How about giving one of these a try?

  • Build a sundial
  • Make Lavender Syrup (here’s one such recipe:  Lavender Simple Syrup)
  • Wildcrafting in the woods (grab a book or pamphlet on local edible herbs and berries you can forage)
  • Hit the beach (gather shells, bits of driftwood, or other interesting goodies you can use for magic)
  • Litha is all about the sunny weather – get outside and enjoy it!

May your joys be contagious to others today and always!

Sherri Siggy


2 thoughts on “Celtic Traditions: Litha

  1. Today is a nice, sunny day here in Kitchener, Ontario. So, as a part of the rehab for my newly-replaced knee, Marg and I took my first walk outdoors since the surgery. It wasn’t much as walks go. But it was outdoors, and in the sunshine.
    Also, for what it’s worth, tonight is also the Muslim faith’s “Night of Power,” the 27th night of Ramadam. This is a night when they also believe that they are closer to God than usual. A bit of a similarity there with Celtic traditions. Blessings…Ron Watson


    1. “A bit of similarity…”

      When people stop to share their faith it is amazing the similarities they find.

      Glad to hear the new knee is doing its job! XOXO


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