The Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer, or Litha (pronounced Lee-tha – for my witches out there who celebrate the pagan calendar), is the day in which we celebrate the sun at it’s peak of strength on the longest day of the year. As we bask in the summer solstice, we arrive at a culmination where we celebrate the manifestations of our early spring planting, and the welcome contrast of warmth after the cold winter.
Everything around us is lush and abundant, filled with life. The Goddess is at her peak of fertility, and the God at the full strength of his power. The Summer Solstice is surrounded by endlessly interesting lore and has been honored throughout history by many different cultures with many different traditions, it’s 100% worthy of a research binge.
It was also revered as a sacred day for foraging and collecting herbs used for medicine, as they had been harnessing the power of the sun all summer. Today we can continue to honor the traditions and the power of the summer solstice through our own rituals, manifestation work, and celebration.
When is Summer Solstice?
Every year the Summer Solstice tends to fall somewhere between the 20th-22nd, the day in which the northern hemisphere is exposed to peak sunlight. While the summer solstice is happening for us in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere is experiencing their winter solstice, thus we have the seasons. This year the Summer Solstice falls on June 21st, 2019, specifically at 11:54 am in New York City, (this time changes based on where you are geographically!)
Summer Solstice Rituals and Celebrations
Here are a few rituals and celebrations to make the most of your Summer Solstice.
1. Go Outside
I wanted to start off the list with this one, because while simple, one of the best things you can do to honor and harness the power of the solstice is spend time in nature. Whether by exploring a local park, going on a hike, throwing a party with friends, or simply taking a 10 minute walk while being mindful and aware of your surroundings, the sacredness of the day, and the earth that supports and sustains us; any time spent outside is sacred time on the day of the summer solstice. If you will be spending time indoors, the solstice is definitely a day for keeping your windows open and blinds up.
2. Light Up a Summer Solstice Fire
Fire has always been used symbolically on the solstice. Traditionally people would burn huge bonfires with wood and healing herbs to honor the sun, bring luck, and ward off darkness. Fires would act as centerpieces for solstice celebrations and dancing. In some traditions the ashes from the solstice fires were thought to be so sacred they were even collected for use in magick and healing. If you have access to space for a bonfire, light one up and enjoy it with company. You can also search for events in your area or plan a trip upstate to attend a solstice bonfire. If you think your landlord might not be pleased by you setting fire to tree-branches on your 100 square foot New York City rooftop, you can also honor the solstice with the power of fire by lighting candles.
3. Go Foraging for Healing and Magickal Herbs.
The Solstice has traditionally been a day for harvesting healing plants with the intention to make medicines infused by the full power of the sun at the peak of their healing power. Some plants related to solstice are walnuts, chamomile, st. johns wort, mugwort, mullein, yarrow, vervain, sunflowers, and any plant that visibly displays yellow solar energy. You can also search for local plant walks or foraging walks. Foraging can be done even in New York City, specifically Prospect Park. (Always remember when foraging for plants in an urban environment, especially if you plan on consuming them, to never forage within 50 feet of any sort of manmade structure to avoid ground pollution.) I definitely recommend joining a foraging group or attending an event, especially if you’re a beginner as plant identification and safety is important.
4. Make a Flower Essence.
Flowers have their own unique energies that can assist us in healing and opening the heart. And gathering flowers to make a flower essence on the solstice is even more special, as your essence will be infused with bottled sunshine.
To make a flower essence:
- Put distilled water in a glass bowl, around 2 cups of distilled water will work great!
- Find a flower that speaks to you. Take a moment of silence to meditate, ground, and tune into the plant with gratitude, cultivating a connection, and ask permission to take from it.
- When you feel welcome and ready, using shearing scissors, cut where the stem meets the flower, with your glass bowl waiting underneath to catch the flower as it falls, (it’s best to try not to handle the flower with your hands). Collect enough flowers to cover the top of the water.
- Now that you’ve collected your flowers sitting atop your water, set them out in the sun for around two hours to infuse the water with your flower’s essence along with the solar energy, you can research the meaning of your flower and its healing properties, or grab a notecard and write an intention you want to set as you work with your flower essence that can sit under your glass bowl in the sun while you wait.
- Once you’ve let your water infuse, you have your flower essence! Go ahead and strain the water into a mason jar, add some Organic grain alcohol (at least 40%, such as vodka) to keep it fresh, label and date it, and distribute it into some dropper bottles.
- Add a few drops of your flower essence to your water everyday. Flower essences work in subtle ways but you will definitely experience their effects overtime based on the energy of the flower you’re working with. If you want to learn more about flower essences and how they work, I recommend the book Flower Essence Repertory: A Comprehensive Guide to North American and English Flower Essences for Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz.
(You can also prepare some additional candles in the same fashion, infuse with solstice sun, and save them for other magickal workings to aid in manifestation, vitality, action, abundance, and joy, or for a time when you’re feeling gloomy to bring some more sun into your life.)
5. Perform a Summer Solstice Love Spell
Women casting love spells on Midsummer is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years.
We can still utilize Midsummers energy today to invoke success in our love lives. Below is a simple love spell you can do on Midsummer to attract love in your life.
What you will need:
- A red candle
- Roses, dried or flowering
- A knife or crystal with a sharp point for carving
- Rose Oil for dressing your candle
- Clear Quartz
How to perform your love spell:
- Ground and center yourself, taking a few meditative deep breaths.
- Take your red candle, and using your carving tool, carve into your candle a sun, a heart, and the words “love true + abundant”
- Cover your carved candle with your rose oil, if you have dried rose petals you can also sprinkle some around the bottom of your candle.
- Place your candle on your altar or the place you want to conduct your spell and surround your candle with roses and your clear quartz.
- Let your candle soak up some solstice sunlight for an hour or two.
- When you come back to your candle, light it, and recite the following spell:
Grant me Midsummers solar power,
To grow the seed for a love real and true.
May our true love bloom just like a flower,
As a sunlit path leads me straight to you.
- Let your candle burn to completion.
Wishing you abundance, love, and luck this Summer Solstice. If you choose to do any of our solstice rituals, or have special solstice rituals of your own, feel free to tag us on instagram @thealchemistskitchen so we can see how you celebrate Midsummer! (But actually, we really love it.)