Celebrating the Sabbats · For the Gods · Pagan Blog Project 2014

Kings of Oak and Holly

We all come from the Horned One
And to Him we shall return
Like a flash of light
Shining from a fiery storm

Hoof and Horn! Hoof and Horn!
All that dies shall be reborn!
Fire and rain! Fire and rain!
All that dies shall live again!

As we’re approaching Midwinter here in Australia, and Midsummer in the North, I’ve been guided to a more “appropriate” title than last week’s K entry for the Pagan Blog Project!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but aside from Samhain I don’t really celebrate the “lesser” holidays. Samhain is obvious as I connect with my ancestors, Imbolc is my anniversary with the Muggle, and Mabon and Ostara don’t really match the seasons anymore.

Not that the Equinoxes really fit the calendar days anymore (global warming IS HAPPENING!! Screw what my stupid, ignorant, fuckwit of a Prime Minister says!! He got rid of our Minister for Science because he’s an arse, let’s just put it that way. Sorry, back on topic!) The seasons are changing so dramatically here in Sydney that Samhain is the only holiday that I honour on the Calendar day anymore because of the energy surrounding it.

And as it still feels like early Autumn at the end of May, I doubt it’ll really FEEL like Midwinter until the middle of July.

Kings of Oak and Holly.

The Oak King by Anne Stokes
The Oak King by Anne Stokes

I was first introduced to this story when a friend and I went to a Yule celebration and concert hosted by Wendy Rule in Melbourne, Australia in June 2004…or was it 2005? Either way, a beautiful performance was put on to show the Holly King taking the Oak King’s crown.

Some see the Oak and Holly Kings as two aspects of the Horned God. Personally, I don’t, but I can see how others do. I see them as two seperate entities, especially as Herne resonates to me as the Oak King.

Each King rules for one half of the year. The Holly King rules Midsummer to Midwinter, bringing the world into darkness; while the Oak King rules from Midwinter to Midsummer, bringing the world back into the light. One cannot survive without the other, and it’s a beautiful tale of balance.

At each Midwinter, the Holly and Oak Kings fight for the favour of the Goddess. At this time, the Holly King is old and frail, while the Oak King is young and agile. The Oak King slays the Holly King, and takes the Goddess as his consort.

Come the Spring Equinox, the Goddess gives birth to the young Holly King, while the Oak King is enjoying his reign.

The Holly King
The Holly King by Anne Stokes

At Midsummer, the Oak and Holly King fight again. This time, the Holly King is young and agile, while the Oak King is at the end of his reign and dies. The Holly King takes the Goddess as his consort.

Come the Autumn Equinox, the Goddess gives birth to the young Oak King, while the Holly King is enjoying his reign.

And so the cycle continues.

But the defeated is not truly dead, as no one ever truly dies. His spirit withdraws to Caer Arianrhod, the castle and enchanted realm of Arianrhod, to learn his lessons and grow again, until it is his time to fight for his rule, and for the love of the Goddess.

5 thoughts on “Kings of Oak and Holly

  1. Lovely post! Blessings of this unseasonally warm solstice to you too. 😀 I am not so much bothered by celebrating according to what the plantlife is doing or how warm the weather is or isn’t, so much as acknowledging our position in relation to the sun, and our axis. I’ve never been able to enter into the full traditional celebration of the seasons because of how different those seasons are in various places. Sydney is nothing like the UK and parts of Europe where the traditions arose – wrong lattitude and continent. However the lengthening and shortenting of days – that still holds, and the wheel turns…

    1. That it does. I just find it strange calling it Midwinter when it’s not. But I love the Holly and Oak King story, so that’s what I celebrate.

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