Litha – Midsummer-Summer Solstice

Litha – Midsummer-Summer Solstice

summer-solstice

Happy Summer Solstice! This is my first full year celebrating the Sabbats so I am learning as I go. I wasn’t paying attention and booked tickets to go to the baseball game tonight so I won’t be able to celebrate Litha in true witchy fashion, but I will do a little something before I head to the City.

Litha, also referred to as midsummer or summer solstice is associated with the holiday of the feast of John the Baptist and is the longest day of the year. During summer solstice, Earth is positioned in such a way that the North Pole is leaning the most towards the Sun. The summer solstice puts the Sun God in the most powerful position, therefore fire plays a large role in this Sabbat. This is why traditionally when people celebrate Midsummer they light large fires and dance around it.  Additionally, this is a time of fertility for men as opposed to Imbolc, Ostara, and Beltane which promotes fertility for women.

Incense and Flowers for Midsummer 

  • St. John’s Wort
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Sunflower
  • Fir
  • Rowan
  • Mistleto
  • Oak

Ways to Acknowledge Midsummer 

  • Wear flowers in your hair or make a flower crown
  • Bonfire ritual
  • Any outdoor picnic or feast
  • Lithia prayer

Random Historical Facts about Midsummer 

Around the same time Stonehenge was being constructed in England, two great pyramids and then the Sphinx were built on Egyptian sands. If you stood at the Sphinx on the summer solstice and gazed toward the two pyramids, you’d see the sun set exactly between them.

SOURCEEverything You Need To Know About Midsummer

Recipes for Litha

Buttermilk Scones for Litha from Hearth & Home Witchery

3 cups Flour
1/3 cup Sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 cup Buttermilk
3/4 cup Currants
1 teaspoon Grated Orange Rind
1 Tablespoon Heavy Cream
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Use an ungreased baking sheet. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir well with a fork to mix and fold air into batter. Add the butter and cut into the flour mixture, using a pastry blender or two knives, or work in, using your fingertips, until the mixture looks like fresh bread crumbs. Add the buttermilk, currants and orange rind. Mix only until the dry ingredients are moistened. Gather the
dough into a ball and press so it holds together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 12 times. Pat the dough into a circle 1/2-inch thick.

Glaze: In a small bowl combine the cream, cinnamon and sugar; stir to blend. Brush the dough with the glaze. Cut the dough into 18 pie-shaped pieces. Place the scones 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the tops are browned. Serve hot with Orange Honey Butter (recipe follows).

Honey-Lavender Biscotti  from Hearth & Home Witchery

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon dried lavender blossoms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to the middle position. Lightly grease three baking sheets (lining the baking sheet with parchment paper prevents sticking and makes cleanup much easier). In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk sugar and eggs to a light lemon color; stir in honey, vanilla extract, orange zest, and lavender blossoms. Sprinkle dry ingredients over the egg mixture; fold in until the dough is just combines. To shape the dough into a log, lightly sprinkle flour on the work surface, on top of the dough, and on your hands. Use just enough flour to form the logs and to prevent sticking; you don’t want the logs to be covered with flour. Divide dough into six equal pieces. With your hands, pat and shape each piece into a loaf approximately 3 inches wide, 7 inches long, and 3/4-inch high. Place two rolls onto each prepared baking sheet with 3 to 4 inches of space between them. Bake 25 minutes or until dough pops back up when lightly pressed with a finger. (After dough has baked 10 minutes, reverse cookie sheets from front to back and move from the top rack to the bottom one. Repeat this again after another 10 minutes). You can’t judge the cooking by the color. The biscotti shouldn’t change color during the second baking, so poke them to tell if they’re done. They should feel dry and offer some resistance. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Reduce oven to 275 degrees F. Using a long serrated knife, cut logs diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices. Turn the slices over, onto their sides; return slices, on baking sheets, to oven. Bake another 15 minutes. NOTE:  Do not crowd the biscotti slices on the baking sheet for their second baking as they need the hot air to circulate to enable them to crisp up evenly. Remember biscotti will continue to crisp up, as they cool, so do not be tempted to over bake. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire racks. Store biscotti in an airtight container. They will keep well for a few weeks. Yields about 54 biscotti.

This is one of my favorite pies. Since blueberries and rhubarb are not is season at the same time one or the other fruit will have to be frozen. It’s awesome with vanilla ice cream.

SOURCE: (they have A TON of great recipes, these are just examples.) Litha Recipes

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