The Summer Solstice – Midsummer – the Pagan festival of Litha

June 21st marks the half way point of the year – Midsummer! I can’t quite believe it, as in my part of the world we have barely had any warm days at all!! It certainly doesn’t feel like summer, let alone the approach of Midsummer! As I look out on my garden, it does seem we are about 3 weeks to a month behind on where things were this time last year, and its still quite cool, but I am pleased to say as I write this, things are starting to warm up! Unlike the other pagan celebrations based around the farming calendar, the fire festivals of Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain which would have been flexible, more seasonal, and possibly based around the times of the first full moons after the equinoxes and solstices, so the dates would not have been fixed, the solstices are astronomical events, occurring in line with the suns relationship with the earth.

Sunset

The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol (“sun”) and sistere (“to stand still”), because at the solstices, the Sun’s declination appears to “stand still”; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun’s daily path (as seen from Earth) pauses at a northern or southern limit before reversing direction.

And so the summer solstice is a time to pause… rejoice… its the peak of all life here in the northern hemisphere… we are at our closest to that big fire ball sun – maximum warmth, life, expansiveness!

Our ancestors would have spent the Spring planning, toiling, preparing, sowing seeds and crops, but at Litha, they could kick back and relax a bit, knowing Mother Nature is doing her thing!…  its no coincidence that we still all pause for a break in the summer… the schools break-up, we take our holidays. Now is a social time, a time for community and connection. Its really no surprise that the powers that be have picked 21st June for the “return to normal / relaxing of restrictions”!! (In fact if you look back over this last year you’ll find that many of the announcements and rules were made on or around the time of important sacred dates, moons and astronomical events!… but that’s a whole other discussion!!!)

Stonehenge

All around the world, all cultures and traditions celebrate the solstices in some way, here in the UK we can trace back as far as Stonehenge, which is 5,000 years or more, meaning that honouring this special time has been part of our culture, heritage and in our psyches since the beginning of our history. The Sun is at its maximum power now, energy is high and it is a time for rejoicing, a period of pause when we can bask in its warmth, knowing that the crops are ripening in the fields, the frantic fertile period of Spring has passed, life is filled with abundance. The Solstice was a time of celebration and a break from the norm. Many cultures believed that magic took place on the night of the Summer Solstice, with fairies showing themselves to humans, while evil spirits were dispelled from their lives. Different cultures around the world celebrate the Summer Solstice in different ways, but with the same theme recurring, celebrating the energy and feel good factor of the warmth and light! (more info on how other cultures celebrate can be found in my 2020 Litha blog)

This blog by the Goddess and The Green Man is also lovely, filled with knowledge, inspiration for your altars and recipes.

As with all Pagan festivals and rituals, there is no one “right” way to celebrate, it’s all about doing what feels right for you.

Although the sun is at it’s peak, there is an air of melancholy as we know that it will begin it’s descent into the darker days from now on, and so personal rituals that involve not only manifestation, but also release, are appropriate.

Known as Litha, it is considered one of the most sacred sabbats of the year. This is when people gathered (and still gather) at Stonehenge for day and night long celebrations watching the sun align and shine through a certain point in the structure. In its most basic essence, this day is a celebration of the sun and that it is still shining on us. It will go out one day and we should revel in the fact that we were born at this point in the Earth’s evolution. The solstice also holds deeper nature metaphors for life, fertility, and the cycle of time and seasons. No matter what your view of spirituality or nature, the sun and summertime is always a thing worth celebrating.

Bonfire on the beach

Summer Solstice Rituals

Get outside! Take advantage of the longest day and go for walks (preferably without your phone in tow), go to the beach, to any park or forest or even the smallest park can suffice if you’re city locked.

This longest night is a time to celebrate the seasons and set intentions for the months to come. Sit up all night, watch the sun set and then rise again.

Spend time with the flowers. Garden, buy flowers and arrange them all over your home, or explore a botanical garden. Flowers are symbols of the solstice and have magical energies, and are linked to the Fae on this night, as with all the nights of transition!.

Fire Magic

The sun is the symbol of the fire element of the solstice. Set your intentions with a fire ritual. Some cultures would light bonfires and dance all night until the flames reduced to embers. Then they would jump over the burning coals to make their wishes for the months ahead. A more toned-down ritual can include lighting a candle, setting your wish or intention, and blowing it out (sound familiar? Even our birthday rituals hold pagan roots). It’s easy to bring the element of fire into our gardens these days with a small firepit or chiminea. If you are celebrating outside with a fire, burn plants like chamomile, mugwort, st. john’s wort, rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon balm and lavender for good health, protection and healing, as well as keeping the biting insects away!!

Fire Pit

Ground yourself

Ground yourself with yoga or meditation. There’s strong sun energy brewing on the solstice, which can feel intense for some. Help ground yourself with meditative or yoga rituals. Go to a class, watch a calming yoga tutorial on youtube, listen to meditation music, and try to do these rituals outside if you can. (See my Litha meditations on YouTube.)

Crystal Magic

If there’s a time to cleanse your crystals in sunlight, it’s now, around the time of the Solstice. Let the energy of the sun purify your crystals from built-up negative energy in the longest sunlight of the year and then sleep with the crystals near your bed when you go to bed at night. For extra grounding, hold onto your black grounding stones like obsidian, black tourmaline, and shungite.

Crystals

Ritual Baths

Solstice night is a perfect time for a ritual bath. Light candles, fill your bath with salts and essential oils, even flower petals, or add essential oils to your shower and hang flowers and herbs in bundles from the shower head, or just let them float in the bath – my favourite bath herb bundles at the moment include rosemary, lavender, lemon balm and mugwort. Pamper yourself with a beautiful homemade rose petal infused oil.

Be a Kitchen Witch!

This is a great time to infuse potions and tinctures for summer. Bake cakes infused with honey (the symbol of the June moon), flower treats, and homemade beauty products made from plants and flowers. Make flower garlands for your hair. Decorate your altar, your home and your garden. Make smudge sticks – you can find more information on this on my YouTube channel , and in lots of my blogs from last year.

Smudge Sticks

My Offerings for the Summer

Sacred Elemental Celebrant

The expansive uplifting Spring and Summer energies have certainly been making themselves noticed in my life since I have been back to work from mid-April – my feet have barely touched the ground!

After completing the Sacred Celebrants Training in Glastonbury last year things are really taking off for me, with a handfasting, a baby naming, a house and land blessing, a new decade birthday ceremony booked already, and a passing over ceremony possibly later in the year! I feel totally honoured and blessed to be able to help people mark these important events in their lives in this way, with ceremony and ritual, it feels truly like I have stepped on to an ancient connection and a time-honoured path that I have known before. I look forward to sharing some of the photographs with you later in the year of these special events.

And to add the cherry on the cake, the SCA have asked me to be one of only two trainers in the country to run this training for them locally to me! I have chosen a beautiful venue that I actually had my own handfasting at 6 years ago at Beltane, The Clophill Centre.

If you would like to step fully into your true vocation and become a Sacred Celebrant, I will be running 2 x week long “boot camps” at this magical and sacred space next year – the 12th June and 13th September 2022.

This training is award winning, life changing, inspirational, professional and empowering – encouraging you to step fully into your vocation as a Sacred Celebrant.

Places on this training are limited, so please do get in touch soon if this calls to you to book your place. More information can be found here.

The Earth Chamber

Online Summer Solstice Litha Ritual & Meditation Event

Sunday 20th June at 8pm will be our online connection to meet in ritual and meditation to celebrate the energies of the Summer Solstice 2021.

I am feeling this year is all about Balance and Gratitude. As we are all slowly able to reconnect in the physical once more, it is still so important to be able to continue those online virtual connections that we have made with each other. We will take a journey with the now pregnant Goddess,  the Corn Mother, and the God, the Oak king, the Divine Feminine and Sacred Masculine, to see what guidance and wisdom they have to share with us.

I would love for you to join me in our virtual circle to honour the energies of the summer solstice. All you will need is somewhere quiet to be for an hour or so, if you can be outside in nature all the better – I am going to attempt this one outside by the fire pit, weather permitting! So have blanket to wrap up in, and a candle for focus and to burn your intentions on, a fireproof dish of some kind (if you have joined in on previous events then your eternal flame candle), There will be an opportunity for sharing afterwards, but as always, there is no expectation to do so, you can join us on mute and no video if you choose.

Investment for these events is £9 and is on private Zoom.

Please email me on sam@aurorastar.co.uk to join us, and I will email you the zoom link and prep beforehand.

Reiki Circle

Face to Face Women’s Healing Circle

Now we are finally able to get back to face to face treatments and training, myself and my business partner Simone Mcpherson of Angelic Touch Holistic Therapies & Training have joined our energies together and created Angelic Aurora Holistics. Part of what we offer is a regular Women’s Healing and Sharing Circle.

The strength, connection and healing that can be found when women come together in circle is truly awesome and powerful! Working with the seasons and cycles of the Earth and nature, Simone and I will be holding these events regularly.

In a small group of 6, including the 2 of us, we will be either inside the cosy cabin, or around the firepit if the weather permits. Using ritual, meditation, drumming, song, healing and balancing techniques, tea ceremony, essential oils and flower essences, working with the moon phase, oracle or tarot cards… whatever we are drawn to bring in – no two events will be the same and they are ever evolving – By day we wear the masks that society, our families, our jobs and friends give us,  but by coming together in circle like this we can drop those masks, we can be who we want, by sharing our stories, releasing things that no longer serve us, manifesting what we desire, and creating loving vibrations and intentions, we can weave powerful magic and healing, not only for ourselves but this sends ripples of healing out into the world!

Investment for these events is £20 (£5 non refundable but transferrable deposit is required at the time of booking to secure your space) and includes refreshments.

The Summer Solstice Women’s Healing Circle Event is on Tuesday 22nd June at 7pm – and we have 1 space left, please message either myself or Simone to book on this;

Meditation Bowl

Reiki 2 Refresher Days

Simone and I are also running face to face Reiki 2 refresher days together.

These days are fun and informative, giving you a chance to reconnect with the energies and symbols of Reiki 2, as well as learn one or two new ones. Not only will you get reattuned by the both of us to the original Reiki 2 symbols, (so that’s two powerup reattunements!) we provide a manual with the new symbols in and some new ways of working with the Reiki Energy. You also get the opportunity to meet with and connect with other Reiki people, in a small informal group (we only work with a group of 4 students or less) have a Reiki share, and receive a certificate of attendance.

We held our first one mid-May, and it was a great success. It is always a deep honour to be able to share and enhance the knowledge and passion for Reiki.

This refresher workshop is perfect for reconnecting you to your level 2 Reiki, whether you are already a practitioner, or wish to be more confident so you can start or refresh what you offer to clients, or to just continue and enhance your own self-development. Any type of Reiki affiliation is welcomed, but you must be of practitioner level – proof of qualifications will be required before booking onto this course.

Our next Reiki 2 refresher day is on 28th August, and we only have 1 space left! Investment is £80, £10 (non refundable, but transferrable  deposit secures your place). Please contact either myself or Simone to book.

Summer Flower

Wise Woman Herblore Workshops – Mugwort

Artemesia Vulgaris… Mugwort… a sacred herb of women, and integral to my homemade smudging / blessing / cleansing sticks and personal rituals.

Saturday 10th July – £65 10.30am to 2.30/3pm

Join me for this half day workshop as we journey with the magic of Mugwort! We shall be learning her medicine, and making smudge sticks and dream pillows that you can take away with you.

Manual and certificate of attendance provided.

Making Smudge Sticks

And all the usual offerings!…

I am still busy with lots of holistic therapy training, so if there is anything you wish to learn, either just on a personal level, for healing friends and family, or if you wish to start a new career, take a look through the large range of holistic therapy training courses that I offer.

And if you’re not sure which direction you would like to go, or are getting back into the industry after a break I run refresher days and mentoring sessions by the hour, so please do contact me for a chat.

I plan to run more end of life skills and meditation courses, face to face as well as online, and can run these as one to ones or small groups.

And of course I am still providing holistic treatments myself, having done lots of CPD over the last few months and so have now added bamboo massage to my ever growing list of therapies that I offer, as well as continuing my commitment to the environment, by using more sustainable environmentally friendly products and equipment in my facial treatments.

Whatever you are up to, I hope you find some time to honour the energies of the season, to take some time for yourself, to be able to reconnect with friends and family, maybe even get a break away somewhere! Get out into Nature and find some inner peace, balance and stillness.

Much love and blessings of Litha

Sam XXX

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