For Broom Closet Witches: Litha: A Broom Closet Witch’s Celebration

by Claire du Nord

Welcome back, Merry Meet, and Litha Blessings! Claire du Nord here, a High Priestess in the Temple of Witchcraft tradition, with the eighteenth article in our “For Broom Closet Witches” series.

In the previous article my little Hobby Farm from long ago took center stage. It “cropped up” again this Litha, as I contemplated the agrarian and pastoral cycles so important to our Wheel of the Year celebrations.

Although I now live in an apartment, with no garden space available, I still remember the fairy ring of culinary herbs I had planted shortly before I had to sell the property and leave it behind. There is something about a ring – a circle – a wheel. Now, as I stand in my kitchen, I often think about how to get more “in touch” with the agrarian and pastoral cycles when I am so far removed from them. Many, if not most, of us purchase our food from grocery stores. Easy in, easy out and back home we go. From store to table – No hands in the dirt, no flocks or herds to tend to. Thinking about how far removed one can be from the very essence of life on this planet left me with the resolve to do the best I can to interact with each type of food I prepare with gratitude, presence and awe.

One day at the beginning of this month, I was washing and chopping some fresh herbs – Flat-leaf Parsley, Rosemary, and Thyme – for a stew I was cooking. The different aromas from each of the herbs were amazing, and had they come from my own herb garden, I might have had a better understanding or a better grasp of the whole Wheel of the Year. And it struck me how each stage of the agrarian and pastoral cycles depends on the previous stages – the previous celebrations – the previous work to be done – not only the “toil in the soil”, but also the knowledge of the Sun’s place in the entire turning of the Wheel. All of this from a whiff of the aromatic oils in the fresh herbs I was interacting with.

As I washed and chopped the herbs, delighting in their aromas and the thought of fresh herbs growing in my garden from long ago, one of my favorite songs began to play in my head – “Scarborough Fair”, recorded in 1966 by Simon and Garfunkel:

“Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. . .”

And just then, just like “Oh, Tannenbaum” had become my “Yule song”, I had suddenly found my “Litha song”. My Wheel of the Year “playlist” has begun to take shape!

A search on Wikipedia, (retrieved on June 15, 2024), revealed much more about the history of this song than I previously had known, and other artists have sung and recorded versions of it. The lyrics can be traced to a tune called “The Elfin Knight”, a Scottish ballad collected by Francis James Child, (“The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Part 9”, 1894) and to as far back as the year 1670.

Interestingly, not only is “Scarborough Fair” appropriate for my Wheel of the Year playlist because of its mention of the herbs of Litha, but also because the title of the ancient Scottish ballad reveals the central role an elf plays in the song, (especially as Litha is an important time for elf/fairy activity among the woods, the summer flowers and herbs).

When I was a child, I spent many summer hours in the branches of a certain tree in a field of wildflowers – a place I called “Fairyland”. There was something different about the energy of that place that was palpable to me. In fact, there was a threshold that I would pass through – a sort of portal that separated the space inside the field from everything outside it. I knew nothing about Litha then, but I do recall that it was only summertime that I went there, for whatever reason, lost to time.

For my Litha table, I chose a bright yellow piece of fabric for a tablecloth with a sunflower accent piece. I decorated the table with sunflowers and orange taper candles. I served mini pizza wheels with dried chives sprinkled on top and added fresh Rosemary and Thyme to the serving plate as a garnish. I also served fresh Lemonade and a platter of carrots, tomatoes and celery with homemade creamy Italian dressing, provided by my Italian roommate – who happens to be an executive chef – with much appreciation from me.

Here is the recipe, “Creamy Italian Dressing” from his YouTube channel,

I hope this article has been helpful, and until next time –

Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet again!

Litha Blessings,
Claire du Nord

Temple of Witchcraft