Tough Holly, best in a fight
Heralds on the darkest night.
Ogham Letter: T for Tinne
Latin: Ilex Aquifolium
Australian equivalent: Helmet Orchid Corybas
Ogham Astrology: Saturn/Mars.
Birth: July 8 – August 4th Celtic Tree Month of Holly Begins
Holly Spiritual And Metaphysical Meaning
The Holly King. The word holly means holy It symbolizes the tenacity of life. As a male energy, it is symbolic of vigour to fight with balance and unity. Strong and protective, clear wisdom and courage. Unifying strength and restoring balance.
It is no coincidence that the Oak and the Holly are side by side in the alphabet. Each year, at midsummer and mid-winter these kings are honoured in ritual as they battle for the hand of the ‘queen’ (the land goddess). The Oak king always wins in summer, calling in the season of green and light and the holly king takes his place in winter initiating the cold, dark season.
It is most likely that today’s Holly tree is not one of the original alphabets. Holly as we know it was not introduced into the British Isles until the 16th century. It is more probable that the evergreen scarlet oak, or Kern oak or holly oak is the evergreen twin of the ordinary oak revered for centuries by the Druids. These two trees make a sacred pair in many mythos and it was “Kern” oak that Jesus wore as king if the Jews.
In Rome, the midwinter festival took place on December 25th, Saturnalia, which as I have mentioned in a previous post, was a long harvest celebration that took place at this time of year, and which the Christians have adopted as Christmas. Wreaths of holly were hung on the door as a sign of faith that life, like the sun, is cyclical and to signal to the nature spirits that they were welcome to find shelter and comfort within. I don’t remember learning that at Sunday school.
Holly is a hard wood, white in colour, which takes a stain readily and was used for cabinets and carvings. It was also used for spear shafts and as it carries protective warrior energy, it was used in the symbolic mid-winter battle. The green knight in the romance of Gawain is an immortal giant who carries a holly bush as a club.
War clubs and chariot wheels were also made from its wood. It was planted near the house to protect them from lightning, storm, fire and hexes. Its wood was also used in door sills to repel sorcery. With its blood-red berries and prickly leaves, the holly was understood to have warrior ‘s spirit.
Holly healing benefits and uses
Holly dried leaves can be used as a tea for fevers, bronchitis, bladder problems and gout. Prickly Holly will forcefully defend the body against cold, as it repels harm from the spirit. It is considered bad luck to cut one down, and If ever you are pruning any part from a tree or shrub be sure to express your purpose and ask for permission. Jyoti Eagles © Druid Priestess