Aka: Summer Solstice, Midsummer, Litha, Alban Heurin
Traditional Date: Late December (21-23ish) (NH: late June)
2023 Astronomical Date: December 22 (NH: June 21)*
Themes: Energy, celebration
Moon Phase: Full Moon
Colours: Gold, orange, hot pink
Native Botanicals: Christmas tree, marri
Botanicals: Citrus, rose, elderflower, berries, bougainvillea
Incense: Jasmine, orange, rose
Crystals: Goldstone, strawberry quartz
Foods: Cherries, citrus, berries, honey, seafood, rose/strawberry lemonade, pavlova with seasonal fruits and custard.
My current incarnation of things for this time of year are overwhelmingly introduced. The main native marker of Birak for me are the flowering Christmas trees, however these are sacred to many Noongar people, and so I would not harvest from this plant. The other major one for me are the pink/red/orange marri flowers - but they’re not a particularly scented flower, nor is it a flower you can dry to use for decoration.
Admittedly, where I live, roses and oranges are fairly easy to find year-round, but there’s something about them (especially in combination) that just feels like this time of year. Likewise this year the jasmine is just finishing up its flowering, but most years its heady scent is the indication that the warm weather has come.
How to celebrate Litha/Summer Solstice
- Sunbathe (for a short period only, particularly in places with hot weather and/or high UV ratings)
- In Australia, this is solidly into bushfire season - the country is dry and often on fire, and water is sacred - spend some time in a body of water (ideally natural) or generally connecting with the element; Give water as an offering.
*: Southern Hemisphere dates based on Perth, WA (GMT+8); Northern Hemisphere dates based on GMT. Find the date/time based on your location here.