Litha, Camera, Action!
Ah, Litha - that most glorious Sabbat! Sunna shines, but the hottest days of Summer are not yet upon us. This year, it was as if the Gods of the North blessed us with one more cold evening to remember them by. I loved it!
We call this time Litha, in the manner of the old Anglo-Saxons, as described by Bede. I first read about the Anglo-Saxon names of Moons/months in the excellent novels Rhinegold by Stephan Grundy, and The Wolf And The Raven by Diana Paxson. I much prefer these over the uncited Moon names found in most modern Pagan books and calendars. They are also indicative of the ever evolving nature of Wicca, which draws inspiration from ancient sources, made usable by modern practitioners.
These Sabbat names, much like Magical Names, Robes, Magical Tools, etc. make for a more highly charged magical environment. Virtually everything we do is aimed at this singularly focused goal. Along these same lines, we refer to the Solstices and Equinoxes as Solar Sabbats, and they are an essential part of the Wheel of the Years. There are no Greater or Lesser Sabbats in our Tradition; all of our Sabbats are great!
But I digress.
Litha marks the end of Gemini and the start of Cancer. Lady Morgana also told me it was her favorite Sabbat*, thanks to the procession of torches. The torches have become various flameless luminaries over the past three decades, thanks to the massive drought we are surviving here in the West. ICS like TOTIC before us, fastidiously follows all fire restrictions that are established to cut down on the threat of wildfires. Anybody that doesn’t should stay their inconsiderate asses home. Especially as windy as it was!
The day was beautiful and bright, and the site was one of our favorites. Several of our people were away on Summer vacation, and some were out with Covid, but our smaller crew laid out the Ring and set up a gorgeous Altar. Sabbat days, while a lot of work is involved, are also great social times and a wonderful bonding experience.
As nightfall approached, the call “Robe up!” went up. There is just nothing like all of your fellow Witches decked out in their Sabbat Best! Our procession for paying respects is a time honored and beautiful part of our Tradition.
The Ring was further prepared by a Pentagram Ritual, and the Maiden of the Ring sweeping it with the traditional chant given to us by Lady Morgana’s Lady
Our Quarters were called by two first timers, and a First Degree Initiate and an Elder. One thing about our Tradition that is different from most is that we call our Quarters before throwing a Ring, mainly so it isn’t immediately broken. The mix of energy of the different levels of experience amongst these folk was very exciting, and magically effective.
In our Coven, everyone can and often does play every part, regardless of gender. The Priestess of Bealtaine served as the Priest of Litha. The Priestess of Litha will be playing the Priest of Mabon. Looking back a year, Litha 2021 featured 2 males playing Priest and Priestess. We truly embody our Lord Mordred’s motto ‘Everyone Has A Right To The Goddess’ and our Sabbats are all the better for it!
Our Priest and Priestess this year have been classmates for quite a long while and were perfectly attuned to each other. They moved together as if in a dance, and led the Coven in this dance. This takes the form of a spiral with the procession of torches, which then light the Center “Fire”. It’s so much fun!
After the Ring is picked up, and the Quarters dismissed, all take part in the consecrated beverage and cakes, and at Litha, we dance some more, and listen to the wise words of a yearly chosen “Old Man.” She was awesome!
Piles of food. Drink. Songs, jokes, and stories. The Farrars write that Sabbats should become a party, and ours always do. Even the wind, more so even than at Bealtaine, was very much an honored Sabbat guest. C’est la vie!
Litha was fabulous. This high point of the year was celebrated in high fashion - as was the online Sabbat, which involved several Witches who couldn’t attend the live event.
Now comes the heat of the Summer- the sign of Cancer and the first half of Leo, before Lammas is here. The providence of the Earth Mother becomes apparent before the first harvest and this Litha was a triumphant way of kicking it off! We are so proud of all the Great Work our people have done. It’s one of the most gratifying aspects of being a Guardian of our Tradition.
*Lady Morgana named each Sabbat as her favorite Sabbat depending on the time of year, and to whom she was speaking. One of the beautiful things about Wicca is its adaptability. If you don’t feel about all the Sabbats the way Lady Morgana did, you can change them so that they all become your favorite.
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Inner Circle Sanctuary
Inner Circle Sanctuary is a school for traditional style Wicca and holds eight sabbat festivals every year.