"The Quarrel of Titania and Oberon" by Sir Joseph Noel Paton
Blessed Litha, everyone! Although I do prefer the term Midsummer for this holiday, probably because of the Shakespeare play. It's just more poetic.
Litha marks the day of the Summer Solstice. Many cultures in Ancient Europe had a solstice celebration, but they were particularly important in northern countries like Sweden, Norway, and Latvia. It's still celebrated with great enthusiasm in that region (most likely under the name of St. John's Day). Wiccans believe that during this day the Horned God, as represented by the sun, is at the height of his power.
There is no one god or goddess that is especially important on this day. But you might remember the Holly King/Oak King mythology of the Winter Solstice, which says that the old Holly King is slain by the youthful Oak King. Well on the Summer Solstice, the opposite happens. The kings do battle again and this time the Holly King wins. This day is also a good time to honor any kind of sun god, obviously.
In many ways, Midsummer celebrations look quite similar to Beltane. You still make and wear flower crowns, build a bonfire, and dance around a maypole. But there are a few differences:
- A good way to celebrate the power of the sun and take advantage of all the daytime hours is by spending lots of time outside. This holiday coincides with Renaissance Fair season, which is like catnip to Modern Pagans. If you live in an area that has them, try to find some fireflies at night.
- Another way to celebrate the solstice is by inviting friends for an cookout. Common foods for this holiday include watermelon, strawberries, peaches, lemons, oranges, pineapple, broccoli, leafy greens, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, grilled meats, smoked fish, milk, cheese, pastries, and ice cream.
- This holiday is very much associated with faerie folk, probably more than any other Wiccan holiday. It's very common to dress up as a fairy, make fairy houses, and perform rituals based on A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- Sun related crafts are popular this time of year. You could make sun wheels with colored yarn, ribbons, or paper. They're good for decorating an altar.
- In some countries they release floating lanterns on the night of the Summer Solstice. Yes, like the ones from Tangled.
- Midsummer is a good time to make spells relating to fertility, marriage, protection, communication with the faerie realm, and manifesting goals.
Enough talk, onto the names!
Mythical beings associated with the season:
Oak King (Celtic)
Holly King (Celtic)
Greenman (English folkloric)
Heliodore ("gift of the sun")
Alfred ("elf council")
Aubrey ("elf ruler")
Elvin ("elf friend")
Siofra ("elf, sprite")
Natsumi ("sunny beauty")
Haru ("sun, sunlight")
Super fun combo time: