Sorry this is so late, friends. This was my first Litha celebration with the Ebenguard, and I wanted to savor it while it lasted and ensure I was able to provide you with the most accurate information I could.
Ebenguard traditions on Litha are focused very much on the celebration of Life, one aspect of the Golden Balance. Some of them may seem familiar, but the significance is often lost on those not familiar.
We begin our day before the sun has risen, not a normal habit (despite what many of you think about Ebenguard, we do love our sleep thank-you-very-much) but one we honor on the longest day. We rise and go to a place where we can easily observe the sun rising in the early morn and meditate, quietly. Some Ebenguard enjoy yoga, others journal, some dance, but most simply sit quietly amongst our bretheren and await the coming light.
We celebrate the sunrise with the same joy we'd celebrate a new life, a birth. A maypole is set up in advance of this event, with ribbons in all the Ebenguard colors. We dance around the maypole as the Sun arises in a liberating, soulful celebration of Life, honoring the Light and the Tides with our movement.
During the day we share a communal meal outdoors, near a body of water if possible, swapping stories. This time is meant to enjoy our closeness with the balance of the world, and with one another, appreciating our experiences and the natural ebb-and-flow of energy around us, and within.
Volunteers (generally the more introverted among us) spend this time preparing the festivities of the evening. For these individuals who prefer some solitude to reflect, this time is sacred.
The rest of the day is spent in devoted service to others. In the past it wasn't so organized, but this year we were able to coordinate in advance. By evening we physically exhausted, but... fulfilled.
In the evening, right before sunset, we ventured out to the same place we'd gone in the morning. We ate a big, big meal together. Sharing stories celebrating a late loved one and their life. We got.... a bit crazy with the merry-making at this point, having energy and emotions running high from our busy day.
Our last event of the day occurred in the moments before the sun sank below the horizon. We gathered around the maypole... and some kind of magiq happened. I've never seen anything more beautiful. As if it had been perfectly choreographed, every Ebenguard holding their ribbon flowed around the other, weaving and dancing around one another--until the ribbons were no longer wrapped around the maypole.
At the end... I can't explain. I think it was... Truth and Calling, but nothing like I've ever seen or heard of before.
We could see into one another's energy, their very souls, and we recognized one another although we could no longer see with our eyes, the light was so bright. We gathered close and took hold of each other and, naturally as anything I've ever experienced, we began reciting the Creed of the Ebenguard, even those of us who couldn't have known, couldn't have heard it before.
When the light was totally gone from the sky, things were back to normal. We were exhausted. We all went home, went our separate ways.
I've never felt anything like it.
So, yeah. Litha was... intense.