Oak King vs Holly King the Bi-Annual Battle of the Ages Saga by Rob Traquair

Good information for everyone, but most especially if you’re thinking about acknowledging the Witch in you.

Preparing for Litha by Greenhaventradition

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Midsummer is the Summer Solstice, also known as the Pagan holiday of Litha.  Vestalia is a Roman version.  The summer solstice occurs on June 20-21.  There are multiple themes connected with Midsummer that can inspire your ritual and other activities.  Good books include Midsummer: Magical Celebrations of the Summer Solstice and Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Beltane to Mabon.

Honoring the Green Ones

The Green ManJack-in-the-Green, the Green Lady, and the Garden Goddess are some of the vegetative aspects of deity invoked for this holiday.  At this time of year, trees, vegetables, and other plants are at their peak, festooned with green leaves and often with fruit or flowers.  These deities represent the luxurious growth and abundance of plants.

If at all possible, celebrate outdoors when honoring the Green Ones.  Dress and decorate in shades of rich green.  Include leaves, flowers, and fruits whether real or pictured on fabric or altar tools.  Crown the High Priest(ess) with a grapevine and extra fruits or leaves.

The Oak King and the Holly King

Many rituals recreate this seasonal myth.  The Oak King rules the waxing half of the year from Yule to Midsummer; the Holly King rules the waning half of the year from Midsummer to Yule.  At this time, they duel and the Holly King will defeat the Oak King.

This type of ritual theater is performed by two men who represent the Oak King and the Holly King.  Traditionally the Oak King is a younger man with lighter hair, dressed in green with accents of white or gold, decked with oak leaves and acorns.  The Holly King is an older man with dark hair, dressed in red with accents of black, decked with holly leaves and berries.  They hold a mock duel — our coven once did this incorporating a flashy bit of stage magic and it was very memorable.

The Summer Solstice

At the summer solstice, the sun has reached its farthest position from the equator, its peak of power.  This is the longest day, after which days will shorten as nights grow longer.  This marks the peak of the growing season and lets people know that harvest is around the corner.  Solar deities such as Amaterasu and Ra are often honored as part of this celebration, and many religions observe this holiday.

Celebrate solar energy by decorating with yellow, gold, orange, and red.  Use images of the sun and hold the ritual at or near noon, outside to take advantage of the sunlight.  An impressive trick is to start a small fire using a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays.

Fire Festival

Litha is one of the fire festivals, when people traditionally build big bonfires. Sometimes offerings are thrown into the flames or people jump over the coals.  In modern times, wiener roasts and s’mores are very popular. Given the bonfire and warm weather, Pagans often hold drum jams and