Litha Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice
, or Litha as it is also called, occurs on or about the 21st of June, when the Sun enters zero degrees Cancer. It marks Midsummer for many cultures, even though in most of the US, summer has barely started and the kids are just now getting out of school! It is the longest day of the year, and the shortest night; when the sun reaches his apex in the sky, and the days will now grow shorter as the light begins to wane.

Many legends explain this phenomena as the darkness triumphing over the light. The darker brother kills the lighter brother in these legends, and the brother who dies resides in the underworld until it is time for him to return and slay his brother again, to rule for the next 6 months. The stories of Lugh and Goronwy, and the Oak King and the Holly King are but two of these legends.

It is interesting to note here that the Christian religion has also tried to usurp this holiday by decreeing it the birth of John the Baptist, and declaring it his feast day. Now, other Saints in the Church are only remembered for the day they died (usually in martyrdom) so it is very curious that St. John the Baptist should be the only one recognized on his natal day. Also, the original birth of Christ was moved from late Spring when he was actually born, to December 25 to coincide with the birth of all the other "Sun" Gods. So even the Christian religion has rotated to the Pagan cycle of the Earth, with their births lining right up with our Solstices. The natural cycle, what we call the Wheel of the Year, is evidently highly compelling!

This was the traditional time of year to harvest your magickal and medicinal herbs. Cut them with a scythe or boline, by the light of the Moon, while chanting the appropriate chant for the purpose for which the plant will be used. Leave an offering for the rest of the plant, and try not to harvest more than 1/3rd of the plant so that the rest will remain healthy and vigorous. If you have to harvest the roots, then you will need to find a bunch of them growing together, and then only harvest 1/3 of them, so that the rest will thrive in the space you have just provided. Harvesting a branch should be done at the lowest junction where the branch joins the main plant, and be careful not to damage the remaining plant. Nature will provide all our needs, but not if we destroy Her gifts!

If you live in the southern part of the US, you can harvest many plants now also, unless you are in the deep south. This far south, like southern Florida, and southern California, not much that has magickal or medicinal value will still be alive by this time. Most of the harvesting must be done at Imbolc, or Ostara, because the intense heat and sunlight will have burned off many herbs by this time. One way to try to save them is to put them under screening, or indoors with diffused light. That will enable some of the hardier varieties to survive through the early summer at least.

Since the Sun at Litha is entering Cancer, a water sign, this holiday is one of the best ones for gathering your magickal water which will be used on your altar and in your spells for the coming year. We usually go to the beach at Litha, and gather salt-water. We bring offerings of flowers and nuts, and 3 pennies or 3 dimes for prosperity and throw these into the waves before we take our water. We honor Aphrodite and Yameya as the Goddesses of the Sea by taking some jewelry as an offering. It can be simply a broken silver chain, a ring you used to wear, one half of an earring set, things like that. We find that doing this means that when we visit the beach anytime at all, we don't have to worry about losing any of our "good" jewelry to a jealous Goddess!

If you don't live near the sea, another excellent source of magickal water, is rain water from a thunderstorm, and there are plenty that occur at this time of year. The more electrical energy the storm puts out, the more energized the water is, so the fiercer the better! Collect in a glass jar, or porcelain, avoid metal containers. Store on a shelf, and don't leave the jar on the ground, or the energy will ground. We only use our water for 6 months, after that we return the water to the source, and collect fresh. The energized water really only lasts about 6 months. If you add shells, rocks from the sea, or other non-perishable sea items such as coral, the energy of the water will stay higher during the 6 months. This water is not for drinking, but only for magickal use.

In June, the Full Moon is called the Honey Moon, because this is the time to collect the honey from the beehives. Mead is an excellent brew made from honey. Mead is the traditional drink for Summer Solstice for that reason. Small mead, or Soda-Pop mead, can be made about 10 days prior to drinking, and is low in alcohol and on the sweet side. For these reasons, it is the preferred Mead to make just prior to this Sabbat. Incidentally, it was believed that since the Grand Union between the Goddess and God happened in May, at Beltain, that it was unlucky to have mortal weddings in May. In addition, many couples found that after the May Day frolic, they were "expecting" and so June became the most popular month for weddings, and still is today. Since the June Full Moon is called the "Honey Moon", can you guess now why that term is used for the time right after the marriage ceremony?!!

It is appropriate also, to have honey on the altar during the Cakes and Wine to dip your cakes in for this celebration. In our tradition, we always have honey on the altar to symbolize the sweetness of life. It also is a symbol of what combined energies to a single goal can accomplish!

There are many songs associated with Litha, or the Summer Solstice, and chants dealing with the ocean and the ebb and flow of the year are especially appropriate. Do some research, find books of poetry and see how much material is available with the Sun theme, and the Ocean theme. Our ancestors have been worshiping the Sun for long ages, and the wealth of material out there will astound you. Anything that pleases you and your group can be used in your rituals without copyright infringement as long as it is not published, and if you distribute words be sure to credit the proper sources.
June 21 -- Summer Solstice -- Litha

Also known as: Alban Heruin (Druidic)
Although the name Litha is not well attested, it may come from Saxon tradition -- the opposite of Yule. On this longest day of the year, light and life are abundant. At mid-summer, the Sun God has reached the moment of his greatest strength. Seated on his greenwood throne, he is also lord of the forests, and his face is seen in church architecture peering from countless foliate masks.

The Christian religion converted this day of Jack-in-the-Green to the Feast of St. John the Baptist, often portraying him in rustic attire, sometimes with horns and cloven feet (like the Greek Demi-God Pan)

Midsummer Night's Eve is also special for adherents of the Faerie faith. The alternative fixed calendar date of June 25 (Old Litha) is sometimes employed by Covens. The name Beltane is sometimes incorrectly assigned to this holiday by some modern traditions of Wicca, even though Beltane is the Gaelic word for May.

Traditional Foods:

Garden fresh fruits and vegetables are made into a variety of dishes and eaten by Pagan's who choose to celebrate this day.

Herbs and Flowers:

Mugwort, Vervain, Chamomile, Rose, Honeysuckle, Lily, Oak, Lavender, Ivy, Yarrow, Fern, Elder, Wild Thyme, Daisy, Carnation


Lemon, Myrrh, Pine, Rose, Wisteria.

Woods Burned:


Sacred Gemstone:


Special Activities:

An Ideal time to reaffirm your vows to the Lord and Lady or your dedication to following the old traditions.

Litha - Midsummer

Midsummer, Litha, Summer Solstice. All these terms are used to describe that one day in the year when the sun has reached its zenith upon Earth.

Our pagan ancestors were often too far from astronomical observatories such as Stonehenge to be able to plot the exact time of the solstice. So, as with most religions, a date was decided upon and adhered to from year to year.

While present day pagans tend to plot the solstice with accuracy and plan a festival around the date (usually holding it on a weekend), our ancestors considered June 24th to be the solstice. And, in fact, many European pagan traditions continue to use the evening of the 24th as the date on which the solstice is celebrated.

There are two modes of thought about summer solstice. One is that the Sun God not only reaches the height of his power upon this date, but that he is also killed by his alter ego. Therefore the Holly King and the Oak King are believed to battle on the date of the Oak King's ascendancy. Following this line of reasoning, the Holly King and the Ivy King would do battle on Yule.

The second line of thought on the summer solstice is that the solstice is the ascendancy of the Sun God. The actual battle between the Holly King and the Oak King takes place not at solstice but at the Autumnal Equinox just as the battle between the Holly King and the Ivy King takes place at the Vernal Equinox.

 It would only be at the time of the Autumnal and Vernal Equinoxes when the hours of sunlight and darkness are approaching equality, then passing over into imbalance again. Certainly our ancestors viewed this as a time of significant transition - a time when the forces of the universe were fighting over dominance as summer transitioned into winter.

As the flowers of spring herald Beltane, the flowers of the summer bring us into the full appreciation of Midsummer. The flower most closely associated with this time of year is the white bloom of St. John's Wort. It should be noted that St. John, the predecessor of Jesus, has been often represented as a satyr like man in medieval artwork. This reflects the deep association of the Pagans turned nominal Christians in the continuation of the conflict between the elements of light and dark, feast and famine, warm and cold, etc. Jesus, born at Yule, was associated with Llew, while St. John, born at Midsummer, was associated with Goronwy.

Other plants/herbs associated with Midsummer and used in amulets or for medicinal purposes were: Rowan - protection against evil magic, Rue - protection against poison and disease, Vervain - dispelling negativity, Woodbine - protection and healing, Mistletoe - protection, Fern seed - invisibility, Plantain - mending broken bones, Stime - mental stimulant, Stinging Nettle - stopping bleeding, Apple - health, Thyme - aids digestion, Fennell - aids digestion, Houseleek - romance divination, and Feverfew - reduces inflammation.

Types of wood used for the Midsummer fire include: St. John's Wort, Rue, Vervain, Mistletoe, and Lavender. Also included in the fire were: Feverfew flowers, pansy, and clover.

Also associated with the Solstice are the Cauldron of Cerridwyn and the Spear of Llew. Both have their fertility associations - the Cauldron brewing up life, the Spear the impregnating factor.

This is also a time when the fairy are about, moreso than any other Sabbat save Samhain. If one wishes to see the little people one can smear fern pollen across one's eyes. Rue is carried in the pocket to ward off enchantment by the little people or, if rue is not available, wearing one's clothing inside out is another remedy which renders one unrecognizable to them.

Symbols common to this season include the solar cross, summer cut mistletoe (sans berries) and fires kindled of oak and fir. Snakes were thought to roll into balls of hissing serpents to create snake eggs, which even Merlyn sought for its magickal properties.

Midsummer is a time when the very first fruits of the harvest appear - the first strawberries, the early herbs are available for gathering. It is a time of promise, yet it is not the time of the harvest - lambs are born but not ready for the slaughter, wheat is growing tall but has not yet matured. Much can turn a year of plenty into a year of privation even at this point in the cycle. So, while Midsummer is filled with the expectation of plenty, it is still not assured. There are nature spirits to be encouraged to produce and there are offerings to be made. Protection of the largesse of the land is to be applied whenever possible.

Simple Ritual for Litha

You will need a cauldron filled with water in front of your altar. Heather branch beside Altar


"Great one of Heaven. Power of the Sun.

I invoke thee in Thine ancient names;

Michel, Balin, Arthur, Lugh,

Come again as old into this Thy land.

Lift up Thy shining spear of light to protect me.

Put to lighty the powers of darkness.

Give us fair woodlands and green fields,

Blossoming orchards and ripening corn.

Bring me to stand upon Thy hill of vision,

And show me the path to the lovely realms of the Gods."

-Make invoking pentagram above your altar with the wand.

-Raise both hands up high, then plunge the wand into the cauldron. Hold the wand up and say:

"The spear to the cauldron,

The lance to the grail,

Spirit to flesh,

Man to woman

Sun to Earth."

-Place the wand on your altar and pick up heather branch.

-Sprinkle self with water from the cauldron, using the branch, saying;

"Thus do I dance before the cauldron of Cerridwen, the Goddess,

Being blessed with the touch of this consecrated water;

Even as the Sun, the Lord of life, arised in His strength in the sign

of the Waters of life!"

-Then say;
"Let the midsummer fires shine forth!"
-Place the altar candles in the center of the circle, about four feet apart, along the east-west line.
-Then pass between the two candles. Replace the candles on the altar.
Litha Celebration Foods

Traditional Pagan foods associated with The Litha Sabbat are fresh vegetables of all kinds and fresh fruits of yellow, orange, and red. Fresh fruit juice mixed with 7-Up compliments any meal. Since Litha is a time for the young and childlike play, the following recipes are geared towards teens preparing the meals. Here are some easy dishes that can be both fun and symbolic.
Pink Dandelion Wine
This is a think ahead recipe as it takes one year to age properly. During the hot summer months, when dandelions dot your unsprayed, unpolluted yard (or if you are growing them in your garden), smile, thank the earth and make some ritual wine for next year or as a gift to someone.
2 quarts dandelions blossoms

2 quarts water

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

1 lemon

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

4-5 cups sugar

1/3 cake active yeast (or wine yeast)

Take the blossoms, remove stem and leaves, and boil in water. Remove from heat and let stand overnight, then strain. Then add lemon, raspberries, cinnamon and sugar (so its overly sweet to the taste). Warm mixture over low flame until the sugar is dissolved (honey many be substituted in equal proportions).

Next, when the mixture is lukewarm, add active yeast which as been suspended in warm water. Cover the pan with a towel and let it set for three days undisturbed. As you check it, visualise the energy in your wine increasing even as the bubbles are forming ( a sign of fermentation starting).
Finally, strain the mixture again and bottle in loosely corked bottles. Once the corks no longer pop out, tasted to see if the wine needs any additional sugar. If so, return it to the stove and sweeten to taste, but bring it to a boil so as to kill the yeast. Cork tightly and let age for one year in a cool, dark area best results.
Enjoy this liquid of the Earth and Sky or if you wish, you can use this as a offering for spells or spirits of your garden!

            Sun's Up Cobbler


1-1 lb 14 oz can (3 1/2 cups) halved peaches

3 slices slightly dry bread (toast on light)

1 tbs. cornstarch

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup sugar

1 tbs. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Drain peaches, reserving 1 cup syrup. In a pan, combine cornstarch and salt and slowly blend in reserved syrup. Over med-high heat, cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add lemon juice, butter or margarine and peaches.

Heat JUST to bubbling. Pour into 10 x 6 x 1 1/2 inch baking dish. Cut bread lengthwise into 1 inch strips. Dip into 1/4 cup melted butter, then into mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Arrange over peaches.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until toasty.

Serve with cream (optional) Makes 6 servings
Lunchtime Cranberry Sun Mold

2 packages (3 oz size) orange flavored gelatin

2 bottles (7 oz size) ginger ale

1 can (1 LB size) whole cranberry sauce

2 oranges, peeled and sectioned

1 can (8 3/4 oz size) crushed pineapple, undrained

1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned

In saucepan, combine gelatin and cranberry sauce. Heat and stir until almost boiling. Stir in undrained crushed pineapple and ginger ale. Remove from heat and stir until fizzing has stopped. Pour into round mold. Chill until set. Unmold onto a serving dish with a layer of lettuce leaf bedding. Garnish with orange and grapefruit sections. Top with alternating orange and grapefruit sections in a "pinwheel" array. Serve as salad or dessert


Setting Sun Taco Salad

1 pound ground beef

1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped

1 package dry taco mix

1/2 cup sliced ripe olives

3/4 cup water

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 med head lettuce, shredded

1 6 oz package corn chips

1 large tomato, halved and sliced

1 small onion, sliced and rings separated

In skillet, brown the ground beef. Sprinkle in the package of taco mix and stir in the water.

Simmer uncovered for approximately 10 minutes.

In a salad bowl, combine all the rest of the ingredients except the chips.

Divide salad onto 4-6 plates, spoon meat mixture on top, and garnish with chips.  

Bright Memories Parfait


1 23/4 oz package vanilla custard mix (no bake type)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups milk

1 1lb 5 oz can pineapple pie filling

2 3oz packages cream cheese, softened

In sauce pan prepare custard according to the package directions using the milk. Remove from heat. Gradually stir cheese into hot mixture, mixing well. Stir in vanilla. Chill custard mixture and pie filling separately until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, spoon alternate layers of mixture and pie filling into parfait or juice glasses.

Top with some type of berries if desired.

Serves 6.

Warm Glow Applesauce


8 med apples, cored, pared, and cubed

2 tbs. lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

5 or 6 drops red food coloring

1/4 cup water
Put apples, sugar, water, lemon juice, and food coloring in blender; cover and blend until smooth. Heat in sauce pan on low to serve warm, or chill.

Makes 4 1cup servings.

Strawberry Twinkie Dessert

4 cups strawberries, sliced

1 (13 1/2 ounce) jar strawberry glaze

8 Twinkies

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (12 ounce) container nondairy whipped topping
Combine strawberries and glaze in a small bowl. Slice Twinkies in half lengthwise, and place in a single layer over the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch dish. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth.

Fold in whipped topping, and spread mixture over Twinkies. Spoon berries over cream cheese mixture.

Cover and chill 30 minutes or more.

Refrigerate leftovers.

Makes 9 x 13 inch cake.
       Asparagus & Toasted Pine Nuts

1 pound fresh asparagus spears

3 tablespoons pine nuts

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon basil, dried whole

1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried whole

pepper, freshly ground is best

Snap off tough ends of asparagus. Remove scales from stalks with knife or vegetable peeler, if desired. Place spears in a steaming rack over boiling water; cover and steam 4-5 minutes or until spears are crisp-tender.

Transfer to a serving platter. Sauté pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat 2-3 minutes, until browned. Set aside. Combine olive oil and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan; stir with a wire whisk to blend.

Cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly. Pour over asparagus. Sprinkle with pine nuts.

Let stand to room temperature before serving.

Zucchini Casserole


5 zucchini

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup sour cream

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

1 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon ground oregano

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground rosemary

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup fresh mushrooms

1 small chopped tomato

1/2-cup bacon bits

2 cups prepared croutons

1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Place the mixture in a lightly greased 9 X 13 baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Do not invite Sarah the SwampWitch over for supper on the night you make this.
Vegetable Rosti


1 lb. Potatoes

1 lb. Mixed Carrots and Parsnips

4 Spring Onions (chopped)

3 Tbs. Snipped Chives

1 oz. Butter

2 Tbs. Oil

Boil the root vegetables for about ten minutes, drain and cool. Grate the vegetables, season and add chives and spring onions. Grease a heavy frying pan or skillet with the butter and pour in half the oil. Add the mixture to the hot pan, pressing down gently. Turn down the heat and cook gently for about ten minutes. Turn over by placing a plate over the pan and then tipping the Rosti onto the plate, slide the Rosti back into the pan to cook the other side. Serve hot with green salad.

Friendship Soup

2 red peppers, finely chopped

2 green peppers, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped onion

3 tbsp butter or 2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup cream

1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 qt. water

1 cup rice (for strength)

1/2 cup barley (for prosperity)

2 bay leaves (for victory)

1 tsp marjoram (for joy and happiness)

1 tsp mint (for wisdom)

1 tsp savory (for remembrance)

1 tsp sage (for long life)

1 tsp savory (for good interest)

1 tsp thyme (for bravery)
In large skillet, sauté the peppers and onions in butter or olive oil until semi-soft. Add the cream and chicken or vegetable stock and blend well. Place water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and barley.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender and all the water is absorbed. When done, pour stock and cream mixture into pan with rice. Place herbs in a muslin bag or use an herbal soup spoon and add to soup.

Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove herbs and serve while hot.

Fresh Broccoli Soup in Bread Bowls

Round sour dough bread loaves, halved

1/2 pound Broccoli, fresh

1/4 cup Onion, chopped

1/4 cup Margarine

1/2 cup Flour

3 cups Water

4 teaspoons Chicken Bouillon granules

2 cups Milk

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Steam broccoli in small amount of salted water for 10 minutes or until crisp-tender; coarsely chop. In large saucepan, sauté onion in margarine until tender but not brown. Blend in flour. Add water, chicken bouillon, milk, and Worcestershire sauce.

Cook and stir until mixture slightly thickens. Add chopped broccoli. Bring to boiling and stir in shredded cheese until melted.

Serve soup in individual hollowed out bread loaf halves.

Leftover soup freezes well.

Salad of Worldly Desires


1/2 head of purple cabbage

about 1 hand full of lace lettuce

3 romaine tomatoes

Black olives (to taste, about 15)

1/2 purple onion

1 Eggplant

3 Tbl. of Olive oil

1 or 2 (depending on how much you like garlic) cloves of garlic

Cut your eggplant diagonally into 1/2 inch strips. Take the oil and place in a pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot add eggplant and garlic into the oil. You are going to want to just brown the eggplant a little.Take out and drain on napkins and place in the fridge. Make sure to wash your lettuce well. Gather the purple cabbage in your hand on a cutting board and cut into thin horizontal pieces. Do the same to the lace lettuce. Cut the tomatoes in vertical slices. Start right under the green stalk and bring your knife through to the end. Repeat with all of the tomatoes. Cut the olives and the onion any old way you please. Take the eggplant and line the bottom of the plate with it. Layer the cabbage and the lettuce on top of the eggplant in the middle of the plate. Place the olives and the onions on top of the lettuce so it looks like a pile. Take your tomatoes and with your fingers fan them out without breaking them from the stalk. Add one or two on the edge of the pile and your done
Dressing of Worldly Desires

1 C. Oil, Pref. Olive

1 1/2 tsp. of Wosteshire sauce

2 cloves of crushed garlic

1 egg

3/4 C. Parmesan Cheese

3 drops of red food coloring
Take the Wosteshire sauce, garlic, egg and food coloring and mix together vigorously! Add the oil and the cheese, mix as roughly as your little hands can until mixed well. Place in fridge for 30 min, or until chilled, Mix once again and pour onto salad.
***Cauldron Cookies

3/4 cup softened butter

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

2 cups flour

1 cup finely chopped pecans
Cream the butter in a large cast-iron cauldron (or mixing bowl). Gradually add the brown sugar, beating well. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and rind, and then beat by hand or with an electric mixer until the mixture is well blended. The next step is to stir in the flour and pecans.

Cover the cauldron with a lid, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. When ready, shape the dough into one-inch balls and place them about three inches apart on greased cookie sheets.

Bake in a 375-degree preheated oven for approximately eight minutes. Remove from the oven and place on wire racks until completely cool.

This recipe yields about 36 cookies which can be served at any of the eight Sabbats, as well as at Esbats and all other Witchy get-togethers.

Bumblefrog Blueberry Mead

Primary Fermentation:

10 lbs Wildflower Honey

5 lbs Frozen Blueberries

4 gal Water

Wyeast Dry Mead Yeast
Secondary Fermentation:

5 lbs Wildflower Honey

5 lbs Frozen Blueberries

Boil 3.5 gals of water to eliminate chlorine. When cooled to 160 degrees F., steep fruit in cheesecloth for 30 min. Remove bag slowly and let drip till it stops. Return mixture (called the "must" or "wort" by brewers) to 140 degrees F., remove from burner and dissolve honey in it.

Chill to 65 degrees F. Aerate by stirring and pitch (throw in) large starter of Wyeast Dry Mead yeast (Four packets is not too many). Ferment one month in a large five gallon glass jug. Add honey to primary stirring till it dissolves. Add additional berries.

Ferment another month or two. Rack into a second five-gallon jug.

Ferment another 4-6 months before bottling.

Ice Cream in a Bag

Large and small plastic bags, that you are SURE WON'T LEAK!!!


Vanilla extract




kids, and a large empty space, preferably outside.

warm day

patience, and a really good sense of humor




1. Place Ice and a little salt - in the large bag ( I think the salt is to melt the ice a little? Not sure)

2. 1 cup milk in the small bag - this depends on how much you want - its APPROXIMATE - you'll need to experiment with the amounts) with a drop of vanilla and sugar - Place in the small bag - MAKE SURE IT'S SEALED tightly, OR YOU'LL have a disaster on your hands.

3. Put the small bag into the large bag and have the kids toss them back and forth until the milk starts to solidify. This will probably take SEVERAL minutes.... just have them keep throwing the backs back and forth to each other. I would recommend you do this outside, in a large space.

Cucumber Soup with Lemongrass and Spinach


2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

2 Ribs Celery, strings removed; chopped

1 small Onion, minced

2 stalks fresh Lemongrass, tender middle chopped

2 medium Cucumbers, peeled & seeded - chopped

2 cups Chicken stock or broth

1 1/2 cups Spinach leaves

1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro leaves

3 Tablespoons Whipping cream

fresh ground Black Pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add celery, onion and lemongrass. Cook gently until onion is tender, 15 minutes. Add cucumbers and stock. Heat to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer until cucumber is tender, 10 minutes.

Strain solids from liquid, reserving both. Puree solids with spinach and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Add reserved liquid, cream, salt and pepper; mix until smooth. Serve warm or chilled.

Makes 4 ~ 1 1/2 cup servings.
Buttermilk Scones

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.

Orange Honey Butter


2 Tablespoons Grated Orange Rind

3 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar

1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature

1 Tablespoon honey

Combine the orange rind, powdered sugar, butter and honey in a small bowl and blend until well mixed. Chill slightly and serve with scones or biscuits.
Herbal Lemon Cookies

1 cup Butter or margarine

2 cups Sugar, divided

2 large Eggs

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups Flour

2 teaspoons Baking powder

1/4 teaspoon Salt

1/3 cup Lemon Grass / Lemon Balm / Lemon Basil - chopped
Cream the butter and 1-3/4 cups sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat well.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and herbs. Add to the creamed mixture and mix. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls, 3 inches apart, on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork or cup bottom. Sprinkle lightly with the remaining sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until barely browned.

Cool slightly, then remove to a rack.

Lemon Balm Stuffed Daylilies

Ingredients: 1 cup diced cooked chicken 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup diced celery 2 tablespoons minced fresh lemon balm leaves 8 freshly picked daylilies   In a small bowl, combine chicken, mayonnaise, celery and lemon balm; set aside. Remove stamens and pistils from daylilies. Wash flowers in cool water; pat dry with paper towels. Spoon the chicken salad into the blossoms. Serve immediately.   Yield: 8 servings.   Alternatives: The filling may also be spread on crackers or toasted bread rounds for appetizers

Marigold Cheesecake

Ingredients: 4 packages (3 oz each) cream cheese, softened 1 cup butter or margarine, softened 6 eggs, separated 2/3 cup sugar 1 cup ground almonds 2 tablespoons minced fresh lemon balm leaves 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel 2 teaspoons minced fresh marigold petals, washed and patted dry Additional marigold blossoms and lemon balm leaves, optional   Note: you can use marigolds of the Tanacetum species (french marigolds), but I would think Calendula would be just as good if not better. :) In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in almonds, lemon balm, lemon peel and marigold petals. In a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into cream cheese mixture. Spoon into a greased 9 inch springform pan; place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until golden brown and the cheesecake pulls away from sides of pan. Cool for 1 hour; remove sides of pan and cool completely. Garnish with marigold blossoms and lemon balm if desired. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 12 servings.  

Rose Geramium Punch
2 quarts apple juice 1 cup sugar 4 to 6 rose geranium leaves (3 inch diameter), washed 3 limes, thinly sliced Additional geranium leaves, optional   In a large saucepan, bring apple juice, sugar and geranium leaves to a boil; boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in limes. Cool and strain. Chill. Garnish with geranium leaves if desired. Yield: 2 quarts.

Happy Litha!

June 21 -- Summer Solstice -- Litha Also known as: Alban Heruin (Druidic)

Although the name Litha is not well attested, it may come from Saxon tradition -- the opposite of Yule.  On this longest day of the year, light and life are abundant.  At mid-summer, the Sun God has reached the moment of his greatest strength.  Seated on his greenwood throne, he is also lord of the forests, and his face is seen in church architecture peering from countless foliate masks.

The Christian religion converted this day of Jack-in-the-Green to the Feast of St.  John the Baptist, often portraying him in rustic attire, sometimes with horns and cloven feet (like the Greek Demi-God Pan)

Midsummer Night's Eve is also special for adherents of the Faerie faith.
The alternative fixed calendar date of June 25 (Old Litha) is sometimes employed by Covens.  The name Beltane is sometimes incorrectly assigned to this holiday by some modern traditions of Wicca, even though Beltane is the Gaelic word for May.

Traditional Foods:
Garden fresh fruits and vegetables are made into a variety of dishes and eaten by Pagan's who choose to celebrate this day.

Herbs and Flowers:
Mugwort, Vervain, Chamomile, Rose, Honeysuckle, Lily, Oak, Lavender, Ivy, Yarrow, Fern, Elder, Wild Thyme, Daisy, Carnation.

Lemon, Myrrh, Pine, Rose, Wisteria.

Woods Burned:
Oak Sacred Gemstone:
Emerald Special Activities:
An Ideal time to reaffirm your vows to the Lord and Lady or your dedication to following the old traditions.
The summer solstice is the time when the sun is in its glory. This is the longest day of the year and the shortest night. The date of the summer solstice varies slightly from year to year. This year it falls on June 21st. Summer solstice customs are also associated with a fixed date: June 24 the Midsummer’s Day. June 23rd is Midsummer’s Eve.

As the name “Midsummer” indicates, this is considered the height of the summer. Yet there is an undertone of darkness in the light. While we celebrate the power of the sun, we also note its decline. From now on the hours of sunlight will decrease.

The Fire and the Sun

The great solar festival of the year is celebrated from North Africa to Scandinavia with fire. This is a traditional time for a bonfire which is lit as the sun sets. People dance around the fire clockwise and carry lit torches. In some places, they set fire to wheels of hay which are rolled downhill.

Flowers and May Day wreaths are tossed into the fire. They burn and die just as the heat of the summer consumes the spring and brings us closer to the decline of autumn and the death of vegetation in winter. As we begin the decline, it’s important to remember that the wheel of the year is a circle. The spring will come again. The sun will triumph over the darkness again. Thus, the circle is an important symbol. Wreaths are hung on doors. People gaze at the fire through wreaths and wear necklaces of golden flowers.

Before the calendar was changed in the 18th century, Midsummer fell on 4th of July. When you celebrate Fourth of July, think of all those brilliant fireworks and blazing Catherine wheels as devotions in honor of the sun.

St John and Honeymoons

Midsummer’s Eve is also called St John’s Eve. The official version says that St John was assigned this feast because he was born six months before Christ (who gets the other great solar festival, the winter solstice). Actually it may have more to do with the story of St John losing his head to Salome. In ancient times, a ritual sacrifice was made to the goddess of midsummer.

Other midsummer symbols also accumulate around St John. He's the patron of shepherds and beekeepers. This is a time to acknowledge those wild things which man culls but cannot tame, like the sheep and bees. The full moon which occurs in June is sometimes called the Mead Moon. The hives are full of honey. In ancient times, the honey was fermented and made into mead. According to Pauline Campanelli in The Wheel of the Year, this is the derivation of honeymoon.

This is a traditional time for honoring water, perhaps because it plays such a vital role in maintaining life while the sun is blazing overhead. Several of the goddesses worshipped at midsummer — Matuta, Anahita and Kupala — are associated with moisture and dampness. St John baptized with water while Christ baptizes with fire and the Holy Spirit. In Mexico, St John presides over all waters. People dress wells and fountains with flowers, candles and paper festoons. They go out and bathe at midnight in the nearest body of water. In the city, they celebrate at the bathhouse or pool with diving and swimming contests.

Herbs and Lovers
Midsummer Eve is also known as Herb Evening. This is the most potent night (and midnight the most potent time) for gathering magical herbs, particularly St John’s wort, vervain, mugwort, mistletoe, ivy and fern seed. In some legends, a special plant, which is guarded by demons, flowers only on this one night a year. Successfully picking it gives one magical powers, like being able to understand the language of the trees.

This is also a time for lovers. An old Swedish proverb says “Midsummer Night is not long but it sets many cradles rocking.” According to Dorothy Gladys Spicer in The Book of Festivals, Irish girls drop melted lead into water and interpret the shapes it makes. In Spain, girls do the same with eggs. In Poland, they combine three of the symbols of the holiday for a divination. Girls make a wreath of wild flowers, put a candle in the middle, set it adrift on the river and tell the future by observing its fate.

This is a great festival to celebrate outdoors. Go camping. Go out into the woods or up into the mountains or down to the beach. Find some place where you can build a bonfire and light it when the sun sets. Bring along plenty of flowers (especially roses or yellow flowers like calendulas, St John’s wort, or marigolds). Fashion them into wreaths, wear them as you dance around the fire and throw them into the fire at the end of the night. Bring along sparklers too (but use them carefully). Indoors, use whatever symbols represent light and warmth to you: golden discs, sunflowers, shiny metal trays, chili pepper lights.

Gather magical and healing herbs at night on June 23. Hang St John’s wort over your doors and windows for protection; toss some on the fire as well. Harvest your garden herbs now so they will be extra potent.

To acknowledge the gift of water in your everyday life, decorate the faucets in your house. Z Budapest in The Grandmother of Time suggests walking to the nearest body of water, making a wish and then throwing in a rose you have kissed to carry your wish home. She provides the following wishing poem:

Yes, you are here in the soft buzzing grass.
Yes, you are listening among the flowering gardens.
Yes, you are shining from the most royal blue sky.
Yes, you are granting me what I wish tonight.
Grant me a healthy life rich with high purpose,
A true partner to share my joys and my tears,
Wisdom to hear your voice giving me guidance,
Wealth to give to others as you have given to me.

Honoring Your Strength

The sun is associated with will, vitality, accomplishment, victory and fame. As you throw your flowers into the fire, acknowledge your accomplishments. Write about these at length in your journal, perhaps while sipping a cup of tea sweetened with honey, or gather your friends in a circle and go around several times with each person boasting about their strengths. Assign a different topic for each round, for instance, aspirations, courage, achievement, competence. Toast each other (with mead, if you can find it). This is your night to shine.

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