A bit late, but nevertheless, this week’s post is about Litha. Ironically, at the wrong time of year, as Yule’s entry will be in the middle of summer for me. But that’s how I roll, and I did promise myself to write about each Sabbat, so Litha it is.
There are other posts that talk about Litha properly, with historical information and Sabbatical information and such that you can use to refer to. This isn’t that kind of post. I have kind of rambled on about Litha and Yule and other assorted things like Dinotopia, and Time, and solar eclipses. It’s that sort of post.
Midsummer’s one of those weird Sabbats for me. It falls just before Christmas where I am, and with all the busy-ness of that time of year, I don’t always do much for Litha at all. I do acknowledge the day, but with Christmas and my birthday just around the corner, it’s better for me to use the day as more of a day of rest, to soak up some extra solar energy to keep me going once Christmas hits.
In that sense, it is a holiday that, for me, seems at odds with that time of year, and yet, it would feel equally wrong to celebrate it in the middle of winter. Perhaps I just haven’t figured Litha out yet. I don’t know. My tentative calendar for who I might honour at this time says Litha is for Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset. I wouldn’t call it a stretch to also include Ra, and all His Eyes, like Sekhmet, Bast, Hethert, Aset, etc. It’s the point at which the Sun is at its peak, which is a great time for solar Gods.
And, also, adult Heru, too, not the child who was born at Yule. This is Heru as King, Heru who has avenged His father Wesir, and taken the throne. Heru Glorious in Victory. That Heru. Sobek represents the strength of the Nisut, and thus Heru takes His strength from Sobek here, as well as Sobek being at His peak too. Both are powerful rulers, and with Aset supporting the throne, and Wesir in place in the Duat, all is right with the world.
But I keep getting reminded of the syncretic God Wesir-Ra. I am still fascinated with Him, and the light/dark duality He offers. Wesir as the dark side of the Sun fascinates me. I had never particularly considered Him in this role until I read that somewhere else, and it’s stuck. I love that imagery, the meaning behind that image. This also connects Him to Amun, too, as Amun is also seen in this way, as Amun is sometimes considered the hidden form of Ra. He is hidden in darkness, unable to be seen, to be known, as Ra shines brightly.
Which just reminds me of a solar eclipse, where the disc of the sun goes dark, and all you can see is the corona shining out from around the edges. That’s Amun-Ra, to me. The dark hidden sun shining down on Earth. But like an eclipse, while there is light, there is also the dark shadow racing across the ground. With light comes darkness. The two are intertwined. At Litha, light is succeeding over darkness, but after the Solstice, darkness begins to take power again as the days get shorter. Once summer tails off into Autumn, the dark shadow of winter rushes up behind us, bringing the cold and darkness with us until we hit Yule, and the Sun is born again to chase away the darkness.
This is a bit of a more wandering sort of post than I had anticipated, but I’m sitting here, on the couch, a few days out from Yule, and thinking about Midsummer makes me anticipate the return of the Sun. The new-born Sun is soon to be born, and the darkness will soon give way to the light. Wesir will descend, and Ra will rise. Amun hides; Ra shines through to bring light, warmth, and life to the cold Earth.
I think about Time too. Dinotopia was the first exposure I had to a concept of Time as a spiral, and it’s stuck with me. I love the icea of a spiral, and cycles over the linear time of much of Western society. Nothing every really ends. It just keeps on going. The Earth keeps on spinning, the seasons keep turning, and so on, and so it goes. Always spinning and circling, spiralling in on top of itself. Nothing ever really ends, nor really begins either. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately as I figure out how to piece together a Wheel and calendar I can use. There are marker points, that’s what the Sabbats and such are for. I trace my year from Yule to Yule. The Sun is born, so the Year Dies. One cycle ends, another begins. Death gives way to Life. It is this duality I adore.
At Litha, when the Sun is at its peak, so the Darkness is at its lowest. Life abounds, death is going hungry. But It is a pause, nothing more, as the cycles turn and spiral forever onwards into the future. At Yule next week, I will rejoice at the new-born Sun. In six months, when I honour Litha, I will honour the peak of the Sun, and bid Xem goodbye as we have one last hurrah before the darkness creeps back in again.