“Sweet summer breeze, whispering trees, Stars shining softly above...”
Litha, the Summer Solstice, fifth spoke on the Wheel of Life, reaches Austin on Wednesday, June 21, 2006. Lady Moon is in her fourth quarter in Taurus and Lord Sun enters Cancer at 7:26 a.m. The two Solstices and Equinoxes are major events (quarters) as measured by the 8-spoke Wheel. The other four spokes are designated as “cross-quarters” and considered to be lesser rituals, even though some observers of the rituals associated with the Wheel rank Halloween as a major festival. If you choose to invite friends and neighbors to share your observance of this festal occasion, the information offered here is likely to prove useful.
Colors associated with the Summer Solstice are white, red, and yellow. Wear these colors and encourage your guests to do likewise. Your meal should include red and yellow fruits and vegetables. Since this is a Fire Festival, if at all possible, hold your festivities outdoors and include a fire of some kind. Foods cooked over an open flame are most appropriate for this celebration, so consider grilling or barbequing some of your meal. While we think first of meat when the word “barbeque” is mentioned, veggies also grill quite nicely. Skewers of yellow squash, ripe bell peppers, and onion chunks can compliment the fajitas and shish kebab, rounding out the menu while showing the appropriate colors for this day and honoring the fruitfulness of our gardens. This festival is one where food may be shared, so divide the leftovers among your guests. Sharing fire, however, is taboo, as is sleeping away from home.
Fourth quarter moons are quiet times when we review our accomplishments and begin to consider what the next things are that need doing. Fourth quarters of the moon are also the best times to weed a garden and put an end to things rather than to perform rituals for prosperity or increase. You and your guests may choose to make or draw representations of things you wish to eliminate from your life and burn them in your fire. For example: if you desire to stop smoking tobacco, draw a cigarette and surround it with the “no” symbol of a red circle with a red diagonal line drawn through it; burning this piece of paper reinforces your resolve to quit and could make the process go more easily.
Include your pets in your festivities. This is a celebration not only of humans' work but also animals' work. Not all of us live on a farm with workhorses, goats, or chickens, but many of us keep cats to deter rats and dogs for security alarms as well as companionship. Let your animals join you and your friends and be sure to waft some of the smoke from your fire over them as well as the human attendees. Use a feather, preferably one you have found, not bought, to direct the smoke.
There is much garden-energy associated with this spoke of the Wheel. It is a time to bless your garden, whether vegetable, herb, or flower. Your guests may assist you in this project by walking barefoot clockwise around your garden, singing and strewing rose petals. As part of your blessing, remember the fairies and leave them items that can be used in their own celebrations: a tiny cup of herb tea placed on a pretty leaf on a pretty, flat rock in a secluded corner of your garden with a wind-chime hung above; sparkly crystals; a small cookie; a fragrant flower. By remembering and honoring fairy-energy, you are also generating good will with entities that can help your garden to grow better and more beautiful.