Summer Solstice / Litha

This is the solstice, the still point of the sun, its cusp and midnight, the year’s threshold and unlocking, where the past lets go of and become the future; the place of caught breath.

The first official day of summer — and longest day of the year —for pagans, the longest day of the year is known as the summer solstice or Litha — a spiritual celebration of the sun’s power. This is when the sun reaches its northernmost point in the sky, indicating the start of the astronomical summer and entrance into Cancer season.

The summer solstice is the peak of the waxing year, where the sun is at its fullest expression, it marks a time when the Holly King (God of Winter or the Waning Year) defeats the Oak King (God of the Forest and the Waxing Year), indicating that nighttime will gradually grow.

This has historically been a day when solar power is honored and exalted when we get to connect to the revitalizing and reenergizing spirit of the sun.

In Northern and Central European Neolithic cultures, the summer solstice was typically marked by Celtic, Slavic and Germanic people by lighting bonfires, intended to boost the sun’s strength for the remainder of the crop season and ensure a healthy harvest.

The summer solstice is when the sun is its furthest away from the equator, making it the longest day of the year. It has been marked as the high point of summer – or midsummer – since the Neolithic era. Here we look at the traditions and folklore of this ancient festival and explores how the longest day of the year was observed at the places we care for in days gone by.

Mark And Kat shinning sun20220704_161618

Images: Mark Acuna and Kathleen Reeves

Leather sun mask crafted by Jean Coats


As the wheel turns and marks the Day of Litha, The Sun shines high and long. Farmers anticipate the coming harvests and celebrations last long into the night.



As the day ends, the Sun becomes tired. The longest day is over. The Sun will begin to rest longer each night.

"Don't leave us" pleads the story weaver.

" Nothing stays the same. I am in constant motion and now, I must rest" said the Sun. I have burned brightly with increasing intensity for 6 months. I will take equal time as I rest more each night, until Yule".

Mark and Kat talking sun
Mark and Kat Sleepingsun

"Don't go!"  exclaimed the story weaver

But there was nothing to be done. The Sun had gone to sleep. The three harvest would be followed by winter. The cosmos was in constant motion.


Sounding the Gong:

Ingathering and Purification: spritz all those seated in the circle


Glorious, you rise on the horizon of heaven,

You fill every land with your beauty,

Though you are far away, your rays are upon the earth,

Though you are seen, your movement is not

When you set on the Western horizon the land is dark,

Darkness descends and the Earth is hushed,

The Earth is illuminated when you rise again

You banish the darkness when you cast your rays

* adapted from Hymn to the Aten



I welcome and invite you to celebrate the Summer Solstice, also known as Litha. To Pagans of the European traditions, the Summer Solstice is not the beginning of summer but its central point, hence another of its names, Mid-summer, when the Fairies are wont to flit about, and magic is afoot.

To begin, we light the Peace Candle.

 Lighting the Peace Candle:

In the light of this flame there is peace. May all upon whom it shines be


All Let there be peace

All Sing.” Dona Nobis Pacem (Sing at least 3 times.)

 Call to Celebration:

 The Summer Solstice, also known as Litha, or Midsummer's Night, is the longest day and shortest night of the year; the zenith of Light. This is the time of the Mother at the fullness of her strength, sexuality and fertility.  This is the time when the Lord of the Green is at his greatest strength and virility. There is abundance everywhere, a time for blessing and being blessed, for the fruits and grains of the field and for the rich promise of the harvest to come. We are called to toss away the stuffiness of civilization and adult formalities for a while, to seek the mystery and join in singing and dancing with joyful abandon. Yet as we look about us to the hills and wild places, we see that it is also a time when repose and luxuriant restoration, soaking up the sun, is also in order. Come, let us celebrate the season, The Light that Awakens, joining those of generations past in a direct line of praise and honor to our Earth.


 As we cast the circle this evening, let us focus on the transformative qualities of fire and our life giving Sun. For Fire is the Sun’s emissary on the earth. Fire can be contained, but not controlled.  Fire is the element of transformation and illumination.  The old is burned away, and what comes out is totally different: The blacksmith transforms ore into steel; raw meat becomes a delicious meal; logs become embers, and darkness becomes light. Today the world is in dire need of transformation: swords into plowshares, hate into love, indifference into caring, war into peace.


Sixty four hundred kilometers below our feet beats our planet’s flaming heart—As above, the solstice fire evokes the season, so below, the living planet answers with a promise of transformation from within. As we cast our circle this evening, let us use the transformative power of Fire, symbolically and literally, to light the Flame of Peace into the world.


Litha Speaks: Stands in the South, holding a gold sun mask, or sun symbol.

I am Litha!

I am the fire that burns within your soul

I am the Holy light that fills and makes you whole

I am the flame that never dies

I am the sun that will forever rise


I am the fire that clears away the old,

I am the holy light that guides your soul

I am the flame of love for which you yearn

I am the sun that will always return.

*By Lisa Thiel


All: "Middle of the year, we welcome the sun!

        The garden is growing and we shall have fun!

        Everything's sunny and everything's bright

        At this shining season of love and delight."

 Calling the Directions and Casting the Circle: single voice does the call, all respond

Call to East:

Into this sacred circle I call the Northern Lights

I call the flare of summer lightning

The sudden flash of insight

I call the wind driven wild fire

I call the spark of life

Fire of Air, I call you


All: Elements of East, of Air and of Knowing, we know you are always present, please join in our circle now.


Call to South:

Into this sacred circle I call the Sun

I call the torch of righteous anger

I call the candle of devotion, the flare of passion

I call the Fire’s transformation

Fire of fire, I call you             


All: Elements of South, of Fire and of Will, we know you always light our way, please join in our circle now.


Call to West:

Into this sacred circle I call the hot springs and the geysers

I call hot showers on cold mornings

I call the steam of a whistling kettle;

Hot tea shared with a friend

I call you to strengthen my resolve

Fire of Water I call you


All: Elements of West, of Water and of Daring, we know you always flow amongst us, please join in our circle now.


Call to North: 

Into this sacred circle I call the flowing Lava

I call the ruddy heat of the forge

I call the glowing core of Earth

I call your purifying heat

Fire of Earth, our center, I call you


All: Elements of North, of Earth and of Growth, we know you are always sustaining us, please join in our circle now.


Setting the Circle:

By noontime heat and the sun’s last light

By midnight clear and the dawn’s first dew

I cast this circle on this night

To dedicate our work to you

Full spiral round below/above

I cast this circle in trust and love

This circle is cast . . . . .We are between the worlds


Circle Blessing by all:

May this circle be set apart for our holy purpose.  So mote it be.


Invoking the Spirit of Fire:

I call to the spirit of the blazing fire

Radiant one of illumination

Inspirer of men, power of the divine

Transmute our hearts and minds into instruments of peace

Come, if you will into our circle this evening

 Lighting the Litha Flame: Sample of Chant

All sing Rise up O Flame (sing at least 3 times)

Rise up O flame

By thy light glowing

Bring to us beauty

Vision and joy


Invoking the Goddess: 


Earth Mother, Birth Mother, Birch Mother,

Sea Mother, Stone Mother, Star Mother!

Queen of night and death and birth,

Womb of deep and fertile earth,

Dame of heaven's silver wheel,

Lady of the greening field,

Keeper of the apple grove,

Mistress of the arts of love,

Shine out in the fearsome dark –

Teach us how to strike the spark.

People, we can feel Her near!

She is coming! She is here!


Invoking the God:


Sky Father, Wise Father, Wine Father,

Sun Father, Sap Father, Song Father!

Lord of forest, field and beast,

Lord of harvest, hunt and feast,

King of heaven's golden fire

Dancer of the soul's desire,

Master of the drum and flute,

Keeper of the vineyard's fruit,

Shine on us and warm our souls –

Teach us how to make us whole!

People, we can feel Him near!

He is coming! He is here!


All Sing: Lady Weave your Circle Bright: Sample of Chant

Lady weave your circle bright

Spin  a web of dark and light

Earth, Air, Fire and Water

Guide us to her


Lord lead your dance tonight

Bathed in your Lady’s golden light

Earth Air Fire and Water

Guide us to him

Lord and Lady with your light

Keep us always in your sight

Earth, Air, Fire and Water

Guide us to them

Call and response:

Facilitator: (F) Celebrants(C)

Let us do this next part together. I will read the parts marked F, and you, the circle will read the parts marked C.

 F This is the time of crossing

Changing from Season to Season

From balance to balance

The circle moves on

The wheels of the seasons turn in their time.

C The wheels of the seasons turn in their time.

F Blessed be the growing night as Summer high

To Winter low must come.

C As Summer high to Winter low must come.

 F Now the Lord and Lady of Moon and of Night

Race faster than the Lord and Lady of Sun and Of Light

C Blessed be the growing Night.

F Blessed gods of Summer come

Circle here and with us drum

C Blessed be the growing Night

F Blessed be the sycamore, the redwood and the oak

C Blessed be the growing night

F Blessed be the Lady of the Winds

C Blessed be the growing Night

F Blessed be  the Sky-cloaked Wanderer

C Blessed be the growing Night

F Blessed be Balder, beloved of us all

C Blessed be the growing Night

F Great horned Pan, Lord of Summer

Sing the Sun to shorten the shadows.

C Blessed be the growing Night

F Lady Demeter, Mother of Grains

Sweeten your children in Summer’s embrace

C Blessed be the growing Night

F Moons of Summer of growth and life

Grant us the pleasures of wild Summer nights

C Blessed be the growing night

F Keepers of the Southern Gates

Open wide our arms tonight

C Blessed be the growing Night

F Blowing seed of Summer winds

Fill and feed us ‘till balanced time binds

C Blessed be the growing Night

F Spirits of the wild Rose, the Berry and the Violet

Crown our shafts with floral wreaths

C Blessed be the growing Night

F Spirits of Mind, of Thought and of Hope

Fill our minds in sweet Summer dreams

C Blessed be the growing Night

 F Spirits of Healing within, without

Heal us in sweet Summer’s light

 C Blessed be the growing Night

 All Sing: Round and Round  Repeat several times Sample of Chant

Round and round the earth is turning

Turning always round to morning

And from morning until night


Affirmation By Selena Fox




voice 1:

I am a Pagan. I am a part of the whole of Nature.

The rocks, the animals, the plants, the elements are my relatives.

Other humans are my sisters and brothers, whatever their races, colors, ages, nationalities, creeds, or sexual preferences.

The earth is my Mother and the sky is my Father.

The sun and moon are my Grandparents, and the stars my ancestors.

I am part of this large family of Nature, not the master of it.

I have my own special part to play and I seek to play that part to the best of my ability.

I seek to live in harmony with others in the family of Nature, treating others with respect, not abuse...

All Facilitators : I am a Pagan.


Voice 2:

I am a Pagan. I pay attention to the seasons within myself - of beginnings, growth, fruition, harvest, endings, rest, and beginnings again.

Life is a Circle with many cycles...

I am a Pagan.

I acknowledge that the Divine is everywhere in the energy of life.

I am Animistic. I sense the life force in the oak tree on the hill, in the herbs in the garden, in the birds singing at my window, in the boulders on the hill, in myself, and yes, even in "things "such as my car and computer.

I understand that everything has its physical and non-physical aspects. The physical and spiritual are deeply intertwined, not separate, and one is not better than the other.


All Facilitators : I am a Pagan.


Voice 3

I am a Pagan.My worship is one of communion, not groveling.

I share my views with others when I sense it is right, but I do not proselytize - there are many ways, not one way, of spiritual growth.

My holy places are under the open sky ... in the Stone Circle ..  in the oak grove ..  on the top of the mound ... on the Vision Rock on the high cliff ... in the Garden . .in the fields ... in the Sweat lodge .. by the stream ... by the clear pool of the Sacred Spring ... in the Rainbow Cave ..  in the valley.

Yet my worship can be anywhere ... my magic circle is portable.

I can call to the four quarters, to the earth and sky, and to the central spirit point wherever I may be.

All  Facilitators: I am a Pagan.


Voice 4

I am a Pagan. I journey to the Otherworld in my dreams, my meditations... I fly with my consciousness through time and space.

I return with insights.

I go between the worlds for healing, growth, and transformation.

Psychic perception is a natural, not supernatural, part of my daily life.

I am a Pagan.

I attune myself to the four elements of Nature - Earth, Air, Fire, Water - and to the fifth element, Spirit, which is the force that connects all.

I see these elements as parts of my self - my physical body is my earth, my intellect my air, my will my fire, my emotions my water, and my inner self is my spirit.

I endeavor to keep myself healthy and in balance in all these parts of Self.

All  Facilitators: I am a Pagan.


Voice 5

I am a Pagan.

I hear the cries of Mother Earth.

I see the pollution of the air, the soil, and the waters.

I see the games being played by nations with the fire of nuclear weapons.

I see spiritual pollution, too - selfishness, hatred, greed for money and power, despair.

I sense these things, but I sense, too, a cleansing, healing energy manifesting on the planet at this time.

I know that I can help bring the planet into greater balance by seeking balance in my own life.

I know that my attitudes and my way of living can make a difference.

I endeavor to be a channel for healing and balance.

All Facilitators : I am a Pagan.


Feasting: Is included in the ritual.  Everyone bring your food to the Tables outside, and we will eat after this short blessing. We will open the circle at the conclusion of the feast.


All: Blessing of the Feast


Blessed are all who gather here

Blessed is the bounty we share

Blessed are those who are not here to share it

Nourished are we by this feast

Nourished are we by each other

Joyous are we on this beautiful occasion.

                                        Blessed Be


Opening the Circle: Facilitator and Celebrants


F Will every one Please stand as we open the circle

F This is the night of crossing

Crossing from Season to Season

Long are the days

Short are the nights

From Balance to Balance

The circle moves on.

The wheels of the Seasons turn in their time

C  The wheels of the Seasons turn in their time

F The ring of the Year continues

C Without beginning and without end

F The first half of the year has come and gone

The time for our blessing has ended

The time for our blessing has ended

F All Summer’s Gods and Goddesses came

They came here to sing, to dance, and to drum

And like us, their Time will end and renew

C They came here to dance

    And like us, their time will end and renew.

All: (face the North) North will end and renew


     (Face East) East will end and renew

      (Face South) South will end and renew

      (Face West) West will end and renew

      (Face the Altar) It is ended



The light of the Universe surrounds me

The love of Goddess unfolds within me

The power of the Goddess flows through me

Wherever I am, the Goddess is, and I am well


I am Litha. The wheel has turned another notch and the darkness is behind us, yet it is in front of us too, even as the summer sun is at its highest. Our Mother Earth is clad in green, crops are growing and the hay awaits cutting. Long days in the fields will be rewarded soon. Though the sun will slowly sink toward the dark time, our full summer heat has yet to descend upon us.  Soon the green will turn to brown, and our plants will sleep through the heat, until winter rains bring them to life once again.


All Sing: (Three times)

          The circle is open yet unbroken

          May the love of the Goddess

          Be forever in our hearts

          Merry meet, and merry, part,

          And merry, meet again.

Blessed Be!




Summer Solstice Eisteddfod

In Welsh culture, an eisteddfod is a festival with several ranked competitions, including in poetry and music. The term "Eisteddfod", which is formed from two Welsh morphemes: eistedd, meaning "sit", and fod, meaning "be", means, "sitting-together.





Divine Power of the Sun

Hail to you, Sun of the seasons ,banisher of darkness

Hail to you, strider of the sky,

illuminator of the souls of men.

Hail, fire dancer and earth-waker—

God of the thousand rays,

gilding the green-faced land

and shimmering on the timeless waters

of the Mother’s wisdom


Solstice Song

I am the calm, I am the quickening,

I am the silence, I am the singer

I am the stallion galloping to its source.

I am the bright pavilion and the feasting,

I am the wedding couple and the bed,

I am the morning chorus and the heartbeat,

I am the goal to which all paths are led.


Greetings to the Summer Solstice

Glory to the Day Star, hail!

Lifter of the Light, Burnisher of the sky.

Gifts of love to earth are bringing,

Summer’s shimmer, dew’s delight.

Dancing be the heart within us,

Open be our souls to bliss,

Courage to vanquish every shadow

Greet midsummer with a kiss.


Solstice Chants

Sun spirit shine with might

Goddess rock us through the night

Living, Breathing, lighted flame

From deep within they rise again


At this time of life and joy when summer’s reached its height

I honor the season and the sun with glowing flames burning bright

And as the year begins to wane, I’ll keep with me this light

To fill my heart and warm me when shortest day turns to longest night


Turn, turn, turn, turn, the Litha fire is burning

Walk the circle, chant the song, the year’s great wheel is turning