Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Litha, or the Summer Solstice

I cannot believe we are almost at Litha already - it seems like only yesterday I was laying out the feast for Samhain!  However unbelievable, the solstice is upon us, but I'm still undecided as to how best to celebrate.

Back when I was single I went to Stonehenge a few times.  The first time was an impromptu visit - the police had allowed people to go there (Stonehenge used to be on lockdown for the solstice because of trouble makers) and there was nothing on tv.  No, really.  So my brother suggested going down there, and as soon as mum found out, she wanted to come too.  That first dawn was magical.  There were only a couple of thousand people there, and everyone wanted to enjoy the experience.  There was no trouble, just an anticipatory vibe as dawn grew closer.  It was a beautiful clear night, and the sun rose above the horizon through to distant trees, and everyone cheered.  Truly spiritual.

The next year, some friends came too, but the experience was quite different.  Ok firstly it rained, so dawn was grey and dull, but the number of people had grown to be about 14,000 - it was more like a festival atmosphere and far less spiritual.  There was a lot more drunkenness, and people were disrespectful and climbed on the ancient stones, though the crowd always acted to stop them.  The third year was just me, mum and a chap that, at the time, was my new boyfriend (he's now my husband) and it was a totally different experience again.  The crowds had swelled to nearly 30,000, and the event had become, for many, just another date on the festival calendar, alongside Glastonbury and such.  I still had a good time, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for spiritually.

So now my Litha celebrations are much more private.  I'd love to have a gathering with friends and family; fire up the barbecue, light the fire pit and dance the night away until the sun rises, then have a celebratory breakfast.  However, there's just me and my husband.  So this year, like last year, I'll do some spiritual work the night before, set my alarm, and get up before dawn to have a private moment with the Sun God, and spend as much time in nature as possible until night falls once again.

Blessed be )0(