The Summer Solstice simply put is the longest day of the year. It is Midsummer, the point at which the days stop getting longer and start once again to shorten. The celebrations take place at the dawning of the longest day at the awakening of the morning sun.
In Pagan times Midsummer would have been a time of festivity and fun as it traditionally marks a period of rest between the planting of the crops (usually Ostara – Beltane) and the reaping of the crops at Lammas. In modern times Litha has a similar significance in that people are taking holidays from work to enjoy the summer sun. Even in the modern calendar Summer is seen as a time of rest. (Incidentally so is Winter, one wonders when we actually get any work done – must be a Spring thing!)
Midsummer has a magical significance as it provides an opportunity to harness the power of the sun and light at its strongest. It is also an “inbetween time” which is generally the most auspicious time to perform any magic.
In the modern religion of Wicca Litha Midsummer is seen to represent the height of the Sun God’s powers. After Litha he will fade until his death at Samhain. Wiccan rites and rituals will be focused on the worship of the Sun God and this sabbat is a poignant reminder to Pagans Witches and Wiccans of their own immortality for even as we celebrate the power of the Sun we acknowledge the light will soon be conquered once again by the darkness.
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