Recently, I've received quite a bit of email from my readers asking me questions about the Wiccan faith. I get really excited talking about Wicca. It's the fifth largest religion in the United States right now and growing larger every day. With more and more people thinking for themselves and turning away from religions of submission, Wicca and other "pagan" religions offer plausible alternatives for people who believe in higher powers and the sanctity of our planet.
Since I've been asked, I figured I'd take the upcoming holiday and use it as an example. Summer Solstice is one of the eight high holidays a Witch celebrates in the Wheel of the Year. The Wheel follows the path of Cernunnos, Lord of the Hunt, in his twin aspects of Oak King and Holly King as he woos the hand of Lady Ceridwen, the goddess. These are mythical figures used to represent deities, as well as the paths of the sun and the moon.
At midsummer when the sun is at its peak, the Oak King is at his most powerful, but he battles his rival, the Holly King and suffers a wound on the longest day (Litha). That starts the descent of the sun and by Mabon (the autumn equinox) the Holly King will be gaining power. At Yule (the winter solstice) they will fight again with the Holly King at his most powerful. Thus the two kings are at constant war for the year, and they divide it equally: half in light, half in darkness.
At Litha, we celebrate the sun. Barbeques are really common. So are fire dances, fire circles, drumming circles, fireworks, and fire-twirling. The ultimate of celebrations, and where all the good witches should be is Circle Sanctuary's Pagan Spirit Gathering.
America's oldest and largest nature spirituality festival, the PSG has happened for 34 years. Registration for this year's event is closed, but my all means, if you're close enough to show up, do so. They'll let you in at the gates. They're laid back folks. Good people. Read more about the festival and Circle Sanctuary.
A very happy Litha to all my kin, and blessed be to Wiccans and pagans across the globe.