Summer Solstice

Since the bleak midwinter, the sun’s litha has been steadily growing. The earth is bursting with beauty and bounty. The Mother Goddess is great with child at Summer Solstice and the Oak King is at his height of power and success. Now is the time to notice and appreciate fullness, blooming, creativity, individuality and fulfillment of promise.

As with each of the Celtic festivals, fire plays a huge role in the lore and legends surrounding Litha. Traditionally, Summer Solstice fires were lit at twilight and kept burning all the short night through. People danced and sang around the Solstice fire. They drove their livestock between fires to purify and protect them. Women jumped the flames to invoke fertility. Finally, everyone took a brand from the Summer Solstice fire back to their homes to start a new fire in the hearth to light the coming dark half of the year.

From Summer Solstice to Winter Solstice, the Holly King will again gain in prominence as the sun’s power wanes. Some stories refer to the Holly King as the Oak King’s twin. Some legends refer to the change in dominance as a “battle” between the two, but these times are really the mirror image of the same cycle. As the wheel of the seasons turns, recognizing the cycles in the natural world provide us with balance and continuity, along with a good excuse to bring the community together for a party!