We have arrived at the halfway point on the wheel of the year, marking the longest day and shortest night of the year. We are at the peak of the solar year, and the Oak King and Earth Goddess are at the height of their power. The Goddess is full and pregnant, mirroring the fields, laden with ripening fruit for the fall harvest. Their mutual love ensures successful crops in the coming months and today we celebrate the gifts of their union. The Earth is alive, vibrant and full of life.
The Oak King is the Sun God of Litha, reigning over the lighter half of the year. He is youthful and vibrant, courageous and motivated. The Oak King represents strength, courage and endurance. The Celtic name for Oak is Duir which means “doorway” – and today we celebrate the crossing of the threshold into the darker half of the year.
On this day, the Oak King yields to his brother, the Holly King, the God who reigns over the darker half of the year. He is older and wiser, weathered with time and experience. He speaks to the inner world, the shadow, and the unconscious.
As in many Celtic traditions, Litha was marked by fire. The community gathered to honor the Sun God at his peak, lighting fires on hilltops to symbolize the power of the sun. Oak wood and aromatic herbs were lit ceremoniously as worship and admiration to the life-giving star. They danced and sang and drank of the mead which was prepared weeks before on the Honey Moon. The night was warm and welcoming, hand-fasting was common practice on this holiday. After sunrise, the ashes were spread on the fields to ensure a fruitful harvest.
The solstice is time to reflect on what has been and to prepare for what is to come. Today, more than ever, this can feel like an impossible task. We are living in a historic time, and the future is always uncertain, but it feels particularly unknown at this moment. We are seeing the energy of the sun, channeled for cultural change. We are witnessing the power of the Oak King, how he unites and ignites the fire within each and every one of us. This is a powerful time for imagination. One can use this energy to move through the thoughts and ideas that are anchored in old paradigms. One can imagine a different future, engaging the mind’s eye for intuitive guidance.
We are entering a powerful cosmic weekend. The Summer Solstice is today and the New Moon in Cancer with an annual solar eclipse is on Sunday. Harness this energy, embrace Cancer’s emotional and somewhat turbulent influence to create real, significant change in your life. Cancer rules our emotions and all things feminine, encouraging us to use this time to move into the feeling realm, allowing this to propel forward into a new paradigm. Change is always uncomfortable, fraught with doubt and fear. Acknowledge those shadow aspects of yourself, use the energy of the entering Holly King to go deeper in your own internal realm.