Litha and The Summer Solstice
The Solstice honors the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. There are celebrations of this day throughout history across many cultures. It is known as Litha in the Wiccan tradition and Midsummer or ‘Midsommarstång’ in Nordic cultures. The word Solstice comes from the Latin solstitium, meaning the “sun stands still.” When we take this day to stand still with ourselves and the Tarot, it can illuminate where we are on our spiritual path. It is the apex and halfway point of the year, and an opportunity to reflect on what has fully blossomed. It is also a portal to inquire what we need to attune to as we move towards fall. This day is especially potent for love, sexuality, and fertility. The Druids believed it was a marriage of masculine and feminine deities, or the wedding of heaven and Earth. Ancient Pagans celebrated the solstice with bonfires where pairs of lovers would jump through the flames for good luck. It is no wonder that June is Pride month! Our ancestors may have chosen this time as the ‘mating season’ to ensure that children would be born in the spring and not winter; however, just as fruits and flowers in nature are at their peak, so too is the magic of love and partnership at this time. Whether you are trying to conceive, looking to call in 'the one', or just looking for a romp in the hay, this day is all about amplifying your loving and passionate vibrations. It should come as no surprise that the card for the Solstice is The Sun.
In The Moon card which precedes The Sun, we are asked to surrender to our subconscious mind and face the unknown of the dark. In The Sun, we are asked to bask in the energy of freedom and choice. We cannot control the subconscious, but once we embrace it and receive the deep knowing that comes from dreams and nightmares, we are asked to choose love with our conscious minds. We see a joyful newborn astride a white horse surrounded by sunflowers and a golden banner. While most Tarot scholarship settles interpretations of The Sun as a ‘good’ card, I must agree with my teacher Lindsay Mack that that is an incomplete understanding. I often compare the experience of this card to listening to Abbey Road on CD. “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” is 7 minutes and 47 seconds of winding guitar riffs and an organ that seem to endlessly circle the drain of a psychedelic hot tub, only to abruptly stop. When played on vinyl, turning to side 2 gave listeners a chance to pause and digest, but when played on CD, Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” abruptly and jarringly chimes in with its positive happy lyrics, harmonium, and guitar. In other words, you may not always love the experience that The Sun offers. Even the horse on this card looks a little surprised at the joyful exuberance of her baby rider and The Sun’s features are more Mona Lisa than smiles emoji. At the center of this card, more than a feeling of happiness and joy, is the experience of being seen. What higher ideal could we possibly hold for love making than to be seen? If the idea of having your inner being seen as beloved is scary or uncomfortable, that is okay, The Sun is here to support that experience. The Sun illuminates the foundational truth that you were born from light and you will return to light. The Solstice is a day that invites us to celebrate the light within by witnessing the light of the day.
Solstice Tarot Spread
If you have a deck of your own and you would like to pull for yourself, here is a ritual and card spread for the Solstice. 1) Bring your deck and a cloth to lay them on, an orange candle, a small bowl of water, and your crystals together. Citrine, Ruby, Carnelian, Garnet, Sunstone and Tiger's Eye would all be good allies. 2) Find a quiet place under a tree, an oak tree if you can get to one. Safely light your candle and set it on the ground opposite your water. 3) Begin by silently meditating. Notice the sounds, smells, and the feeling of the earth beneath. Feel the sun on your skin. 4) From that place of quiet grounding, you can silently repeat the mantra, "The Sun is in Love with Me". If you have resistance to that idea, do some inquiry as to why? The heat and the light that all living things on Earth depend on, is for you. Allow, if only for a little while, the miracle of photosynthesis to be your example. With your thoughts, begin to eat up the light and transform it into energy of love to help you grow. Then begin to pull your cards: 1) What fruit in my heart and in my life has fully ripened? 2) What part of my heart requires nurturance so that my fall harvest will be bountiful? 3) What can I call upon as a guide to loving more deeply? 4) What is ready to be placed on the bonfire to make way for more loving receptivity? 5) What is my heart calling out to be seen for with love? When your reading is complete, extinguish your candle and offer your water to the tree. Before you depart, stand, extend your arms, throw back your head and give a twirl Sound of Music style. The Sun has touched you, offer your open heart in receptivity and gratitude.
If you don't have a deck but you still want to imbibe the magic of the Solstice, please enjoy the following recipe love tonic. You can add or omit the gin depending on your mood and medicine. Lavender and honey are ingredients for love and sex, while basil brings joy and happiness to new lovers. Ingredients: Lavender Simple Syrup 1 cup honey 1 cup water ½ cup Lavender buds (food grade) Drink 1 pint fresh Blueberries muddled (squished) 1 cup Basil chopped ½ cup Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed (about 2 lemons) ¾ cup Lavender Simple Syrup ** 1½ cup Soda Water any unflavored carbonated beverage would work Optional - Add Gin to your desired taste and potency Instructions: Lavender Simple Syrup: Add 1 cup of honey and 1 cup of water to a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Turn on medium heat, then add in the lavender buds. Let it heat until combined. Then turn off the heat and allow the Lavender to steep and cool in the syrup for 30 minutes or until you are ready to use. Drink: In a medium-sized pitcher add in the blueberries, chopped basil, and lemon juice. Swish or muddle all the berries, and basil together until they release their flavor and juices. Add in about 2 cups of ice and the soda water, and stir thoroughly. Pour. Garnish with lavender, blueberries, lemon, and basil. Enjoy! xoxo Meredyth