Summer Solstice Scent Blend

We are eleven days away from the Summer Solstice (otherwise known as Litha).  Anyone else excited yet?  To get everyone in the proper mood, here is a scent blend that’ll help you tap into the high energy part of the year.  Continue reading

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Litha Recipes

The Summer Solstice is coming up fast.  It’s on a Friday night, so why not host a feast!  Here are a couple of tasty recipes to get you started.

  • Roasted or Grilled Veggies: Asparagus, broccoli, peppers, even early squash drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  350 degree F oven for 20 minutes or so.  If you want to step them up, add a couple cloves of garlic to the roasting pan or marinade.
  • Tacos: For me, summer invokes memories of my dad making refried beans and fresh guacamole.  Put the fillings–meat, beans, tomatos, salsa, sour cream, etc.–in small bowls so that each person can have fun assembling their Litha feast.
  • Fresh Fruit: Berries, bananas, peaches, pears, grapes.  Chop, mix, eat.
  • Mediterranean Salad: 1 can of chick peas drained, 1 large tomato chopped, 1 English cucumber diced, 1 small red onion diced, 1 jar of artichokes drained, 1 container of Kalamala olives pitted, and 1 block of diced (you can crumble, but I like bigger pieces) of feta.  Combine in a bowl.  In a small, separate bowl whisk the juice of 1 lemon, a handful of mint chopped, salt, pepper, and a little olive oil.  Drizzle over veggies and enjoy.
  • Lemon Pudding Cake with Fresh Mixed Berries: A light, refreshing dessert.
  • Fruit Tarts:  Super easy.  My favorite combination is strawberry-apricot.
  • Mojitos:  This is a drink that pairs well with whatever you make for dinner.  Plus, drinking rum makes you feel a little bit like a pirate!
  • Lemonade:  You can buy this from the grocery store or farmer’s market.  Or get a bunch of lemons, sugar, and seltzer water to make something special and bubbly.
  • Ritual Cakes and Ale: You could do any of the desserts or drinks above.  Or if you want something different, buy a bottle of white wine this week.  Open it up, add a couple of sprigs of rosemary, cork, and refrigerate until your ready for the your solstice celebration.  Pair with short bread (homemade or store bought).

© Ariadne Woods

Balancing Act

Balance is the art of recognizing, addressing, respecting, and feeding the various aspects of life and self.  It’s a complex process that evolves over a lifetime.  For example, a kid isn’t interested in romantic relationships, however as the child nears adulthood the need for companionship becomes important and competes with family, friends, school, activities, spiritual life, health, etc.

In Goddess or nature traditions, balance is ever-present in the celebration of the seasons.  Litha or the Summer Solstice is just three weeks away and the Wheel of the Year will turn back towards the dark part of the year.  This exchange between summer and winter plays out in mythology and modern ritual.

There’s no prescribed way of becoming balanced, however when I am out of whack I can feel it in my bones.  For me, that uncomfortableness indicates that I need to look inside myself and figure out what’s what.  Am I spending too much time watching TV and not enough time reading for school or about paganism?  Have I been spending too much energy on dance class and not enough doing laundry?  There are a few methods I use to address balance problems.  For one, I talk to the people in my life including the deities I work with and seek advice.  Also, meditation, journaling, and grounding helps me refocus my priorities.  If anyone has any experiences or tricks regarding how to get in balance or back on track, leave a comment.

As the wheel turns, it is important to take stock of priorities and to seek the wisdom to keep them in balance.

© Ariadne Woods

Are All Sabats Created Equal?

Most witches, Wiccans, and Pagans follow the Eight Great Celtic Sabat model (although there are thousands of other traditions.  Read The Grandmother of Time by Z. Budapest and The Pagan Book of Days by Nigel Pennick for more information).  The benefit about following the natural world is the major holidays are nicely spaced throughout the year.  Getting bummed after Yule? Imbolc is right around the corner.  We are constantly celebrating life and the Earth and our faith.

Yet, I have found that try as I may to celebrate every holiday, I have noticed a pattern about how I approach the Wheel of the Year:

  • Yule: Christmas (a very important day in my family) is a few days away and since that’s such a high stress holiday I am too wiped to stay up with the Goddess as she births the God.
  • Imbolc: Very informal celebration.  This year I had my friends over for mead.
  • Ostara: I always seem to forget about it.
  • Beltane: One of my favorites, but it always falls on finals or reading days.  I do make an effort to do some sort of ritual, though.
  • Litha: I go to a local farm festival with my mom every year and go home for a late night ritual.  One of the best days of the year.
  • Lammas: So. Much. Baking.  Always a laid back holiday.
  • Mabon: I adore Mabon.  Never miss it.
  • Samhain: I celebrate it, but I always seem burnt out due to a variety of reasons.

I do not treat them all with the same amount of pomp and circumstance.  I mean, it’s not practical for me.  I have school, work, family, friends, boyfriend, extra curricular activities, taking care of myself, etc.  The prep time is not always there.

What ultimately drives celebratory worship is the connection to particular times of the year.  For me, I feel at home in summer and fall holidays.  They speak to my soul in such an empowering way, which is what matters the most about sabat celebrations.  That connection is key because that is what allows the worshiper to benefit spiritually from the ritual.

© Ariadne Woods