I have a fondness for the winter solstice. Not only is it the return of the sun, but it marks a time where nearly everyone in my society is celebrating some sort of similar holiday. I suppose it would seem that I wouldn’t be so fond of the summer solstice as it symbolizes the height and death of the sun and goes unnoticed by many, but I’m rather partial to it as well. Maybe because it is so fiery.
Bonfires seem to be the preferred way to celebrate Litha, and Roderick notes how fitting it would be to set alight the maypole at this time–even more fitting if the maypole was the trunk of the Yule tree, as some traditions practice. At any rate, understanding the juxtaposition of “power and energy, of height and decline, of life and death” is at the root of Litha–and the great summer bonfires can symbolize all this for us.
Practice: Fire Purification
Gather together the following items:
- A bundle of dried twigs from local trees, or a red candle
- Cinnamon essential oil
- A cauldron or deep cooking pot filled with sand (or stones)
Fire has a purifying quality. In some ancient medical practices, doctors would use fire to cleans and seal wounds. Fire purifies because it exhausts a source of fuel completely and cleanly. When something is burned completely, thoroughly, it is gone–cleansed from existence.
In today’s practice, you will cleanse your spirit of unwanted energies, toxic forces, and in the process you will unburden your life of wasted energy. To begin, gather together some dried twigs (if you can find them; if not use a red candle). Bundle the twigs at one end with some twine and set that bundled end into a pot or cauldron filled with sand or small stones. Be sure that the bundled end is securely wedged into the sand or small stones before you go to the next step.
Close your eyes and sense where in your body you hold dark, hot, or heavy energies. You do not need to name the energies, just sense where they are. Once you have done this, smear the twigs (or candle) with cinnamon oil. Light the bundle of twigs (or your candle) on fire now and stand back. As the bundle burns, use your hands to touch or symbolically scoop the unwanted energies away from your body and then push this energy into the fire. Imagine that the fire burns these energies completely away.