Oh the first day of summer – also known as Summer Solstice, the Summer Equinox and the longest day of the year. Pagans and Wiccans often refer to it as “Litha” – more on this later. In this article you’ll find a smorgasboard of goodies all about this sacred day. Prepare to be surpised by at least 5 things!
#1 Summer Solstice & Equinox Thing
Animals Associated with the Summer Solstice
As a celebration of fire and passion, Summer Solstice is aligned with South on the cardinal directions. Native Americans associate Wolf with the cardinal direction of South.
Other animals associated with summer and with fire are also important symbols of this holiday.Lions, Dragons, and Salamanders are associated with Summer Solstice because of their link to the fire element. You can pay homage to these animals or celebrate them on this date. Read more about these fiery animals on our sister site WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com
Rituals enacted on Summer Solstice can also involve symbols, drawings or statues of these animals. Bees are also associated with Summer Solstice because of their industriousness and correspondence to the season. They are also sacred to Artemis.
Another insect is the Tardigrade, known to withstand extreme temperatures. They prefer extremes of the hot springs and cold temperatures in the Himalayas. The Pompeii Worm is also associated with fire and thus the Summer Solstice. They live near hydrothermal vents.
Fireflies are also associated with Summer Solstice. Watching these creatures light up the night. Their resemblance to Faeries adds to the connotations between Fireflies and Summer Solstice.
#2 Summer Solstice & Equinox Thing
Summer Solstice and Tarot
Summer Solstice is a great time for Tarot readings and other forms of divination. You can also use Tarot cards in ritual, Magick, and meditation. There are several Tarot cards associated with the Summer Solstice. The most obvious, of course, is the Sun Tarot Card.
This card connotes cheer, success and strength. The Sun card shows you that darkness has gone and you have blessings on the road ahead to look forward to. Use the Sun Card as a meditation aid to help you focus on gratitude and count your blessings. In Magick and ritual, the Sun card helps you focus your energy on what you’re trying to attract and manifest.
Some less obvious Tarot cards associated with Summer Solstice include The Empress, The World, The Magician, and the King, Queen, and Ace of Wands. In fact, the whole Wands suit corresponds if you interpret Wands as the Fire and not Air element. If you read Wands as the element of Air, then Swords will correspond to the element of Fire.
The Empress is associated with this holiday because of her connection to abundance, strength, growth and the power of nature. She is a force to be reckoned with and can help ground your heated energy on this day.
The Magician lends focus and creativity to your life. This archetypes energy is aligned with the power of solar worship. The Sun is often associated with creativity and imagination as well.
And though it may be more subtle, the World tarot card represents a culmination of efforts and a process that has come to completion. This sense of fulfillment and success is the essence of Summer Solstice.
#3 Summer Solstice & Equinox Thing
Astrology and Summer Solstice
The exact date of the Summer Solstice tends to straddle the cusp between Gemini and Cancer. Therefore, the transition from the mutable air sign to a cardinal water sign is embodied by this holiday. The powers of intellect and nurturing come together at this time.
The Crab, Cancer’s symbol, can become a symbol of this holiday for this reason as well. Yet even considering the Twins as a symbol for the solstice resonates. After all, Apollo and Artemis are also twins.
The balance of light and dark, masculine and feminine, and other forms of polarity are intensified now. You may be able to work with your Shadow side and revel in your creative, devious, hidden desires.
Though Leo does not arrive until later in the summer, the archetypal energy of the Solstice is shared by the sign of the Lion. Aries and Sagittarius, as fellow fire signs, also lend energetic alignment to this celebration. The symbols of the Archer and the Ram can intensify your celebration.
The Egyptians celebrated Sirius the Dog Star at this time. Rather than focusing on the Fire element, Egyptians associate Summer Solstice with Water, especially the Nile river.
#4 Summer Solstice & Equinox Thing
Summer Solstice Ritual Correspondences
As stated previously, this holiday is associated with the direction South. But there are many other correspondences that can amplify your Magick on the Summer Solstice. The tools associated with Summer Solstice include ritual knives like the Athame as well as ritual Swords.
Summer Solstice also corresponds to candles of all kinds because of their association with fire. Specifically, though, candles that have fiery coloring are appropriate. This leads to the colors associated with the Summer Solstice which are primarily red but also orange or yellow.
Spices like clove and cinnamon are also associated with Summer Solstice. In addition, consider adding herbs like St. John’s Wort, Lavender, Rosemary, Mugwort, Meadowsweet, and Mint to your rituals.
Crystals associated with this holiday include Red Jasper, Citrine, Bloodstone, and Amber. Garnet, Moonstone and other crystals also align with the energy of the Summer Solstice.
Summer Solstice Meaning, Practices and Traditions
While various traditions in the Pagan and Wiccan faith have their unique style of celebrating the Summer Solstice, there are some commonalities in how this special day can be commemorated. No matter what, the Summer Solstice spiritual meaning tends to echo a common theme. It’s a time to celebrate growth, marriage, fertility, health and to show reverence for the Sun.
As Beltane (May First) is the celebration of the Great Marriage or seduction between the Goddess and God, Summer Solstice is a ripening of their union. The fruits of their labor are not yet ready for harvest, which comes in August with Lammas. Nevertheless, they are sometimes considered emotionally and spiritually “married” at this time.
Bonfires are the most popular tradition associated with Summer Solstice the world over. It may seem counterintuitive to light a fire on the longest, possibly hottest, day of the year, but fire does more than warm us. To Pagans and Witches, fire is a key element that gives life, protects us from negativity, and brings illumination. Fire is also associated with sexuality and passion.
The Estonians would even take their chances and leap over the fires as a way to celebrate Summer Solstice. This was considered good luck.
Making a Dream Pillow is another favorite Summer Solstice tradition. Though Beltaine (May first) is associated with a thinning of the veil between the mundane and spiritual worlds, Summer Solstice is also a great time to invite connection with your higher wisdom. A Dream Pillow can help you access prophetic wisdom.
Gather with friends to celebrate life, vibrancy, and nature. Dance outdoors and leave offerings to celebrate Summer Solstice as well. This is also a time associated with the Faery realm. Leave offerings to these creatures. You can build a Faery House to attract these entities to your garden as well.
One easy way to share an offering with the Faeries on Summer Solstice is to share the gift of music, especially wind instruments. If you play an instrument or sing, serenade them. If not, share favorites on your playlist, it’s the thought that counts!
Summer is the season we celebrate the nectar in life, so remember to bring out the sweets to share with friends, leave for your ancestors and give as offerings to honor the Bees and other creatures associated with the summer season. Honey, candies, and other sweets work well, just be mindful of chocolate and its toxic impact on some animals. Read all about Bee energy and medicine on our sister site WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com
Kick off your shoes and connect directly to the earth. In Sweden, people celebrate by enjoying nature in the countryside and eating herring and strawberries with cream.
Strawberries are considered a universal summertime food elsewhere as well. Make Strawberry Shortcake or salads to celebrate this day with friends and loved ones. Don’t forget to leave some as an offering for the Fae and your Ancestors.
Brazil also marks this holiday with celebratory marriages, dancing, music and a spicey beverage. Their festival, called Junina, is complete with a coal walk. It’s believed that those who are pure of faith are unharmed by walking on hot coals.
In Denmark, folk healers gather herbs on this day. It is a special time for healing works of all kinds as the Sun is associated with vitality and wellness.
This is a great time for Magickal workings dealing with success, growth, health and vitality. Draw on the energy of the Sun at its zenith to empower your confidence and supercharge your motivation.
#5 Summer Solstice & Equinox Thing
Meet Litha and other Important Summer Influencers
On the Pagan/Wiccan Wheel of the year Summer Solstice and the Equinox is named for Litha. Historians believe the name Litha came from a document called “The Reckoning of Time” which tells of the Anglo-Saxons and explains a bit of their culture. In this tome Litha referred to this part of the year, being interpreted as “gentle” likely alluding to the sweet summer breezes.
Deities of Summer Solstice
Gods and Goddesses can be revered on every sabbat (holiday) but Summer Solstice has a special correspondence with specific guises of the divine. The God’s growth to passionate and powerful adulthood is associated with this day. But there are also Goddesses who are celebrated on the Summer Solstice.
Ra, the Egyptian Sun God takes the form of Aten, portrayed with a Solar Disc, and associated with the Summer Solstice’s power. In Japan, the Sun is associated with a Goddess, a rarity among pagan cultures. The Sun Goddess is named Amaterasu.
The Greek God Apollo is a solar deity associated with Summer Solstice. He is celebrated through the arts and music. He is also associated with divination, so a solstice Tarot or Intuitive reading can help you align with the energies of this holiday.
Huitzilopachtil is the Ancient Aztec solar deity whose strength is also celebrated on this day. He can help you find your motivation and challenge you to sacrifice distractions in honor of focusing on succeeding in your goals.
Juno is the Goddess of love, marriage and protector of women. June, the month, gets its name from this Goddess, so Summer Solstice is naturally a time to celebrate this Goddess.
Artemis is the Goddess of the Moon but she is also the brother of Apollo. As such, this is a day to celebrate her energy in balance with the power of the Sun. She is the protector of wilderness, the forests and animals.
More First Day of Summer Goodies
Summer Solstice and Stonehenge
On Summer Solstice, those who are able to gather at Stonehenge, considered a giant calendar marking significant dates. Massive parties and gatherings at these special places have become common in recent years.
If you can’t attend in person, consider enjoying the festivities virtually. Our ancestors created these structures for reasons we can only hypothesize about, yet the Sun aligns perfectly with Stonehenge on Summer Solstice.
Summer Solstice in Art and Literature
This Magickal night isn’t just celebrated by Pagans and Witches, it’s also been honored by artists, writers and musicians since antiquity. Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream tells the story of mischief between the Faery and human worlds on Midsummer’s Eve. What ensues is a tale of mismatched romance and trickery that is still retold in plays and movies to this day.
English painter Edward Robert Hughes memorialized the tale of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a painting by the same name, and he was far from the only artist to do so. Nick Joaquin’s controversial short story A Summer Solstice tells the tale of women summoning Gods during a fertility ritual.
HBO’s recent dark comedy series Baby also features a commune of feminist Pagans celebrating Summer Solstice at the turning point of the story. Our fascination with this mystical date spans centuries and genres.
Summer Solstice and the Cycle of Kings
Ancient people tied their spiritual beliefs and practices to their politics. In particular, it was believed that Kings and Chieftains had a tie to the Divine. Thus, the cycle of growth, death, and rebirth of the God and Goddess was mirrored in the cyclical selection of mundane rulers.
For some in Celtic cultures, the Cycle of Kings saw the replacement of an existing King with a new one in a pattern corresponding to the changing season and return of the Sun after winter. The growing length of the days culminating in the celebration of Summer Solstice correlates to the virility, strength and power of the God and also of mortal rulers.
Summer Solstice spiritual meaning is associated with growth, fertility, strength and health. The ability to align with the power of the Sun which is associated with empowerment, creativity, optimism, and strength, is also part of this celebration.
So, at the end of the day, your job on the summer solstice, equinox, first day of summer – whatever you call it – is to eat, drink, be merry, live like a king or queen, bask in the sun and celebrate all the sweetness life has to offer! Enjoy!