How to Create a Summer Solstice Altar

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The summer solstice is nearly upon us! In the Wheel of the Year, this day is also known as Litha and Midsummer and is a celebration of the longest day of the year – or, more accurately, the day of the year with the longest amount of daylight. Creating a summer solstice altar is a perfect way to celebrate. 

The summer solstice occurs each year in the northern hemisphere when the sun reaches 0 degrees of Cancer. (In the southern hemisphere, this day is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year.) On this day, many witches and pagans honor the sun and everything it rules over: warmth, light, creativity, fire, action and the spice of life.

How to Create a Summer Solstice Altar by The Witch of Lupine Hollow | a jar of lavender and candles on a windowsill can serve as a summer solstice altar

Why Create a Summer Solstice Altar?

That’s why summer solstice altars are all about celebrating the sun. Perhaps the ultimate Litha altar is Stonehenge, an ancient ring of massive stones located in the United Kingdom that aligns with certain astrological and astronomical events. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people gather at Stonehenge every year on the summer solstice to celebrate the sun and the celebration has now been livestreamed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s very easy to build your own altar in honor of the sun. Though you probably don’t have the resources to build an astrologically-aligned, Stonehenge-esque ring of stones in your own backyard, and you may or may not be able to travel to Stonehenge to watch the phenomenon yourself, you can certainly build a Litha summer solstice altar at home that suits your own spiritual and magickal practice.

How to Create a Summer Solstice Altar by The Witch of Lupine Hollow | Stonehenge, photographed by K. Mitch Hodge

An altar can be used for worship, meditation, rituals, and simply connecting with your spirit and intuition. Consider setting up your solstice altar outside in a sunny location. If that’s not possible, indoors by a sunny window would be a great alternative. If you plan to watch the sunrise or sunset, make sure you set up your altar somewhere you can watch the sun start to peek over or sink below the horizon.

How to Create an Altar

Decorate your altar in shades of yellow, orange and gold. Incorporate objects and items that represent the sun. Here are a few Litha altar ideas to get you started:

Another theme of summer solstice mythology and summer folklore is the fight between the Oak King and the Holly King. The Oak King represents the light portion of the year, between the winter solstice and the summer solstice, when the days are getting longer and longer. The Holly King represents the dark portion of the year, between the summer and winter solstices, when the days are getting shorter and shorter. At the summer solstice, although the days are currently long and bright, the Holly King is said to defeat the Oak King.

Your summer solstice altar could honor the Oak King’s sacrifice with oak leaves or branches and images of the Green Man, a man’s face made of leaves that is often used as a representation of the Oak King.

You can also honor both the sun and the moon phases at the summer solstice. In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice always occurs near the new moon in Cancer and full moon in Capricorn. The sun and moon are the luminaries in our solar system and in astrology and Cancer is actually the only sign ruled by the moon, so honoring both luminaries on your altar and in your practice this time of year is a powerful way to align with the cosmos.

If you are located in the southern hemisphere, some winter solstice altar ideas for you include honoring the Holly King with holly berries and branches, a Yule tree, fairy lights, and green, red, and white candles to bring light to the darkest night of the year.

I’ve also included a chapter on the summer solstice in my book, The Modern Witch’s Guide to Natural Magick, with further information on the festival’s corresponding plants, crystals, colors, goddesses, and more, as well as numerous recipes to align with the season. Click here to purchase a signed copy!

What will you be including on your summer solstice altar this year and how will you honor the sun, moon, and stars on this auspicious day?

Want to learn more about the Wheel of the Year and participate with me in live seasonal rituals on Zoom? 

Join us in the Starlight Coven! This is THE seasonal, sacred circle for modern witches like you who want to practice consistently + confidently with the sun, moon, and stars. 

This experience includes monthly workshops, seasonal rituals, daily text messages to stay connected to your practice, a supportive community space, and much more.

Click here to learn more about the Starlight Coven today!

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