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Bright red Holly berries and spiked leaves covered in snow

On Solstice (and likely Christmas too), my English ancestors celebrated the Old Gods, such as the Holly King and Oak King. Holly is associated with Divine Masculine (and Ivy represented the Divine Feminine). And many Solstice traditions celebrate the rebirth of a male deity, symbolized by the Sun / “Son”. 

These tales from our long-ago past have made their way into contemporary culture, religion and even into literature. Holly, for instance, is a significant element in the Arthurian legend of Gawain and the Green Knight (who is clearly based on the Old Gods!). Gawain is challenged at Christmas to behead the Green Knight, who offers to do the same for Gawain in the Summer. When Gawain beheads the knight, the Green Knight springs to life…. reminding us of the circle of life.  

And in some Celtic and Druidic traditions, the Holly King and the Oak King each rule part of the year battling for supremacy. At summer’s end (around Samhain), the Holly King reigns supreme and rules the Dark half of the year. At winter’s end (around Bealtaine), the Oak King wins the battle, ruling during the summer months.

Holly signifies:

  • the rule of the Holly King
  • the Divine Masculine
  • good luck for men
  • hope for life in winter
  • warmth of blood  and fire
  • a retreat and protective space for Sprites

Let us celebrate today the Divine Masculine within us all (just as we all hold the Divine Feminine within).

Solstice Blessings!

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