A Holly for the Solstice
It’s the time to bring in the holly!
Fellow blogger Linda gives a nice explanation of what solstice means in her latest post, among other lovely words and a song.
This year it’s a bit lopsided and spindly, maybe because of the sunless summer. But never mind, the bare bit will go in the corner.
Holly has been symbolically important for centuries, though I have to admit our reasons for having it as a festive tree are tinged, along with a love of it, with the practical – it’s there, it’s beautiful…and we’ve got a saw.
‘As the indigenous pagan traditions mixed with those of the pagan Romans, gifts of holly were given during the five day festival of Saturnalia, which celebrated the birth of the sun-god and culminated when the sun moved into the zodiacal sign of Capricorn at the precise astronomical time of the Winter Solstice. The power of these pagan celebrations on or about the 22nd December and their effect on the people were well recognized by the Church, and so they closely aligned the birth of Christ, on 25th December, to the pagan date. In Christian legend holly sprang up from under Christ’s feet as he walked upon earth, and in certain parts of Europe holly is still called ‘Christ’s thorn, for it was believed that its thorny leaves and bright red berries symbolized Christ’s suffering and foretold the passion.’
‘One of the strongest legendary images we have of holly is that of the holly king. This image, featured in the medieval renaissance of the twelfth century, evolved from an ancient recognition of the spirit of vegetation, traditionally represented as a wild-looking man covered in branches and foliage: the legendary Wildman….The holly king was symbolised by a giant man covered in holly branches and leaves, who carried a holly bush as his club. He represents the tenacity of life, the green of Nature carried through the seasons and guarded by his spiky holly club, his light reflecting ‘mirrored’ leaves and his fiery-red berries…’
These last two paragraphs are from Tree Wisdom – The definitive guidebook to the myth, folklore and healing power of Trees a book by Jacqueline Memory Paterson.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacqueline-Memory-Paterson/e/B0034P8HQW if they pay their tax of course 🙂
Anyway the cows seemed to get quite excited by the holly, I had to rescue it pretty sharpish.
Here it is waiting to go inside
x x A very Merry Solstice and Christmas to all! x x