Litha

Summer's here
and the time is right for dancing in the Streets.

Imbolc       Ostara/ Vernal Equinox         Beltaine

Litha/Summer Solstice         Lammas        Mabon/Fall
Equinox

Samhain/Halloween        Yule/Winter Solstice
The Summer Solstice
This Solstice marks the high-time of the year when nature revels in abundance. It is a time to dance, the time to
celebrate summer in all of its fertility for the wheel is turning, the season shifting, and though the time of light will
begin its decent into the season of cold and darkness, for now we have light, and warmth, and bounty. Rejoice.
Today is a day for picnics, tonight a night for parties. This is the joyous, high point of summer and all the riches of
nature are in full bloom. Now is the time to sing, to dance, the time of joyous celebration, as we celebrate summer
in all of its fertility. Use this energy to empower yourself. Join in the celebrations of handfasting, weddings and
births. Host a barbecue or a bonfire and use the party to renew your connection to your tribe. All social gatherings
should be a hit when infused with the energy flowing through this magickal time.

Picnic at the park. Shop the Farmer's Market. Attend a local tulip/wine/craft beer/salsa festival. Look at your
community calendar and participate and when you see a familiar face call, "Hello." Stop for a chat. Walk your
neighborhood and greet your neighbors. Let the nice weather draw you outside, and as you come in contact with your
neighbors once again as they work in their yards or lounge in the sun, let it make you more social. Open your heart
and give thanks for the beauty you encounter and rejoice.
Litha is an ancient solar
celebration also known as:
Midsummer, Alban Hefin,
Sun Blessing, Gathering
Day, Feill-Sheathain, Whit
Sunday, Whitsuntide,
Vestalia, Thing-tide, and
St. John's Day.
Directions: In a small saucepan combine milk and 1 tablespoon honey and
heat until warm (90 to 110 degrees) Pour the mixture into bowl of an
electric mixer and sprinkle over yeast. Let mixture stand for 10 minutes,
until yeast has started to bubble. Add eggs, all-purpose flour, sugar, and
salt, and mix until blended. Gradually add all but 2 tablespoons of bread
flour. With breadhook, mix at medium speed until dough is smooth and
elastic, about 5 minutes. Dough should not stick to sides of bowl; if it does,
add a dusting of flour. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing at medium
speed until it is blended into dough. (Dough will be very soft.) Transfer
dough to a work surface and knead by hand a few times to ensure that
butter is completely incorporated into dough. Shape dough into a ball and
transfer it to a medium buttered bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set
aside in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it has doubled in volume.
Punch dough down to deflate it, and knead it a few times. Return dough to
bowl, cover, and let rise again until doubled in volume. Lightly grease the
bottom and sides of a 9" spring-form pan. Shape dough into a ball and
arrange it, smooth side up, in center of pan. Flatten ball gently with your
palm until it covers bottom of pan. Cover lightly with a lightly greased piece
of plastic wrap and let dough rise a third time until it has doubled, about 1
hour.
Position a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small saucepan, heat remaining 1/3 cup honey just until warm. Brush
honey over top of dough, then sprinkle with almonds. Bake cake for 30 to 35
minutes, until it is a lovely golden brown and a toothpick inserted into
center of cake comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan, set on a wire rack, for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan
and cool cake on the wire rack completely.

For the Custard: In a large bowl, beat egg yolks well.
Gradually stir in milk until blended. In a large heavy saucepan mix sugar,
cornstarch and salt in. Gradually stir in a small amount of milk mixture,
making a smooth paste until all is incorporated. Cook over low heat, stirring
constantly, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil (about 10 minutes)
When mixture begins to boil, time for 1 minute stirring constantly then
remove from heat immediately and cool quickly by setting the pan in an ice
bath.

Assemble cake: Using a long, serrated knife, cut cake in half horizontally to
form two layers. Spread custard over bottom layer of cake. Top with other
cake layer. Sprinkle top of cake very lightly with confectioners' sugar and
serve.
You will need:
For cake:
1/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 large eggs lightly beaten
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons bread flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter sofened
3 tablespoons sliced almonds

For the vanilla custard
4 egg yokes
3 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
The Divine Bee
Early civilizations honored the bees. The Sumerians, Babylonians, Indians, and Egyptian wrote about the miracle cures of
honey while the Greeks name
d it 'the food of the Gods'. Honey is one of the earliest known offertories. "One jar of honey to all
the gods, one jar of honey to the Mistress of the Labyrinth," was written on a Knossos tablet from 1300 BC. Honey has
magickal energy for: beauty, fulfil
lment, love, and happiness. It is the key ingredient in sweetening spells and Cleopatra's
famed milk bath. Honey can be used to compel someone to speak the truth. In Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden
midsummer is celebrated Sun breads or cakes and buns made with honey to bring fertility and abundance to the community
German Bee Sting Cake is drizzled with honey right before baking.
German Bee Sting Cake
also known as Bienenstich cake is rich eggy brioche like cake filled with custard and covered in a sweet and crunchy honey
almond glaze. It is time intensive, as it has 3 rise times and you have to make the custard filling.
Lemon Olive-Oil Cake
You will need:
a springform pan and parchment paper
3/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus
additional for greasing pan
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon finely grated zest
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
5 large eggs, separated, reserving
1 white for another use
3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Directions: Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a springform pan
and line bottom of pan with oiled parchment paper.

Whisk together with lemon zest and flour. In a separate bowl,
beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale, about
3 minutes. Add olive oil  and lemon juice and mix until just
combined. Fold in flour mixture.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2
teaspoon salt until foamy. Add 1/4 cup sugar a spoon at a time,
beating, and continue to beat until egg whites form soft peaks,
about 3 minutes. Fold egg whites into yolk/flour batter.
Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work
surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top
evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed
and golden about 45 minutes
At Midsummer we honor the
Mother Goddesses pregnant
with bounty, the goddesses
of love and beauty, sun gods
and sun goddesses.
Litha or happens between June 20 and 22 when the Sun reaches its farthest
point north of the equator marking the high point of summer or the day with
the longest daylight hours and shortest night. Early agricultural societies
celebrated this ancient solar event with feasts and festivals celebrating light
and the power of the sun, for every day past this point, the sun begins to lose
its strength as the hours of darkness once again grow.
The agricultural year is
divided into two halves. One
half is characterized by light
or expansion, and the other
by darkness, or contraction.
The solstices mark the
boundaries, the points at
which things begin to change.
Squash Pancakes
Makes 6  4 inch pancakes
You will need:
1 Tablespoon butter melted
1 teaspoon of honey
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
a good grind of black pepper
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/2 to 1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons almond flour
1 cup grated summer squash, yellow
or zucchini or a combo of each
2 Tablespoons diced green onion
Directions: Combine melted butter and honey and
stir together. Add eggs and mix until incorporated.
Add salt, pepper, and almond flour and mix
together. Add zucchini, green onions, lemon zest
and juice. Mix to form a thin batter.

Heat a nonstick pan. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Cold
pressed grapeseed oil works well. Pour 1/4 cup of
batter into hot pan and fry until golden brown. Do
not rush. Let the first side cook until batter has
set, then flip and cook other side until golden
brown. Serve with butter or crème fraîche.
Bay Leaf Midsummer Wishing Spell

You will need:
1 white candle
rose essential oil
5 Bay leaves
a small bottle with a cork
1 pen
a small piece of paper

Anoint candle with oil and light. Take the pen and write your wish
on the paper. Then meditate upon your wish as you visualize it
happening. Spend some time in the visualization. Then say,
"
By the power of the Sun at its zenith
may this wish be granted
bringing the best to me
."
Place the bay leaves on your written wish and fold the paper into thirds as you visualize your wish coming
true. Take a breath as you hold the visualization and fold the paper into thirds once again. Put the paper into
the bottle and seal it with the cork. Set it on a shelf and whenever it catches your eye visualize your wish
coming true. Do not speak your wish. Keep you silence. Once the wish is granted, remove the paper carefully
keeping the bay leaves folded inside and burned as a offering.
Flowers and Herbs at Midsummer
The Summer Solstice is a big time for romantic divination, faery magick, and herbal craft. Like the Sun, many plants
are at their height of power making midsummer an important day for harvest. In fact in Latvia, Midsummer Eve is
known as Herb Evening for just as the Sun is at its zenith, the energy of many plants are more potent if gathered at
this time. In Providence it is tradition to go out just before sunrise to pick dew-covered rosemary, thyme, marjoram,
hyssop and sage that are gathered, "walking barefoot and backward, picking the herbs with your left hand, with a
heart as fresh and light as your hands". Some popular herbs gathered now for later magicks are: chamomile, fennel,
fern, foxglove, lemon verbena, mallows, marigolds, mugwort, rosemary, and St John’s Wort.
Wood Betony (Stachys Betonica) is traditionally burned at the midsummer bonfire and then jumped through so that
the smoke would purify the body and end the troubles of the past month.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) if gathered on midsummer grants the power to banish obstacles, open locks, and even
invisibility when the root is worn in the right pocket. "On Midsummer’s Eve at midnight or on Midsummer’s Day at
twelve noon Silently go out into the yard. Without uttering a word gather chicory, using a golden knife. Dry the plant
for an herb that will unlock doors and open opportunities."
Hemp (Cannabis sativa) is often burned at Midsummer’s rituals while hemp seed has the reputation of being able to
grant the ability to see the one who is destined to be one's husband.
"At eve last midsummer no sleep I sought, But to the field a bag of hemp-seed brought;
I scatter'd round the seed on every side,
And three times in a trembling accent cried, "This hemp-seed with my virgin hands I sow,
Who shall my true love be, the crop shall mow."
I straight look'd back, and, if my eyes speak truth, With his keen scythe behind me came the youth." - John Gay
(1685-1732), The Shepherd's Week, in Six Pastorals, first published in London, 1714.
Many herbs were picked to gain insight into future relationships. Vervain, Trefoil, Rue and Roses were placed under a
pillow to inspire prophetic dreams.
St. John's Wort (Hypericum Perforatum) is the most frequently mentioned herb of Midsummer as being an herb of
the Sun and of Leo and if drunk as a tea will grant the sunny nature of Midsummer while the red juice would ward
the home if smeared on the threshold.
If gathered on this day,
Cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans) will grant the power to manifest true desires.
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) will sharpen psychic sight.
Bay leaves (Laurus nobilis) are gather at midsummer as it is when their flavor is at its best.
Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Caprese Salad
This easy Caprese salad combines the summer energies of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil
for a refreshing and delicious meal.
Tomato has energy for love and prosperity
Basil has energy to foster affection, set a luck charm, draw abundance, and to promote protection.
Mozzarella has nurturing energy for happiness and positive energy.
Olive oil has energy for healing, fertility, love, and protection.
Balsamic vinegar is made by reducing grapes into a thick liquid which gives this elixir a
concentrated energy for abundance, beauty, fertility, and success.  

This fresh, energizing recipe is easy and adaptable simply choose a serving dish and slice enough
tomatoes to fill with a single, double, or triple layer.

You will need:

any kind of ripe tomatoes
Mozzarella cheese, slice or fresh
fresh basil leaves
olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

There is really no wrong way to do this dish. Just layer any type of tomato with fresh basil and
Mozzarella. Then drizzle with olive oil and vinegar and season to taste.
Squash is associated with wholeness of the spirit and fruitfulness of the intuitive mind while lemons bring uplifting
energy for clarity and happiness. Combine the two with the spicy energy of the green onions and you get an
energizing dish to lift your mood, boost your health, and sharpen your senses.

The Flavors of Summer
Invite the flavor of summer into your kitchen with fresh salads and summer garden vegetables.
Tomatoes, peppers, squash, green onions, lettuces, and a variety of herbs are all coming ready to harvest.
The Midsummer Eve Bonfire
In ancient Ireland the night before Midsummer, or Midsummer eve was known as Bonfire Night and across the world bonfires
were built to honor the power of the Sun. Herbs were tossed into the flame to dispel grief and bad fortune or the fire was leapt
over to shed the old and come out anew. Frazer wrote in The Golden Bough, “In Wales three or nine different kinds of wood and
charred faggots carefully preserved from the last midsummer were deemed necessary to build the bonfire, which was generally
done on rising ground. In the Vale of Glamorgan a cart-wheel swathed in straw used to be ignited and sent rolling down the hill.
If it kept alight all the way down and blazed for a long time, an abundant harvest was expected. On Midsummer Eve people in
the Isle of Man were wont to light fires to the windward of every field, so that the smoke might pass over the corn; and they
folded their cattle and carried blazing furze or gorse round them several times. In Ireland cattle, especially barren cattle, were
driven through the midsummer fires, and the ashes were thrown on the fields to fertilise them, or live coals were carried into
them to prevent blight. In Scotland the traces of midsummer fires are few; but at that season in the highlands of Perthshire
cowherds used to go round their folds thrice, in the direction of the sun, with lighted torches. This they did to purify the flocks
and herds and to keep them from falling sick.” Ch. 62 ‘The Fire-Festivals Of Europe’

In Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, midsummer bonfires were known as "Balder's balefires," a reenacting the myth of Balder, the
Scandinavian god of poetry who was killed when Loki, a divine mischiefmaker, struck him with a bough of mistletoe. His body
was burned on a pyre at the time of the summer solstice. Later on, effigies of Balder were thrown into the midsummer bonfires.
Gathering around the Midsummer bonfire is still practi
ced across much of Europe. Ash from the ceremonial fire is saved and
used as a fixative in magickal recipes, smudged across the forehead to sharpen clear sight, sprinkled into charms and amulets
to boost protection, and fed to the garden to increase its bounty. Embers from the fire were scooped and taken to newly built
homes to light the first fire and ensure prosperity and happiness. Ashes from the ceremonial bonfire were scattered on fields
and gardens to ensure fertility. Gathering around the Midsummer bonfire is an old tradition still practi
ced in many countries.
Herbs are tossed into the flame to dispel grief and bad fortune or the fire is leapt over to shed the old and come out anew.  A
smudge of ashes from a Midsummer bonfire can be worn for protect one from misfortune or that the ashes—when spread across
one’s garden—will bring a bountiful harvest.