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Alban Arthan The Winter Solstice

The Holly and Oak King

The Holly and Oak King are the same king but with a twin soul. At Alban Arthan the Winter Solstice (Yule) in midwinter, when the Mabon/ Sun begins to come back to light the world the Oak King wins the fight to rule the year and at midsummer Alban Hefin the Summer Solstice (Litha), also known as they Festival of Joy and the Light of Summer, the Holly King wins the fight to rule. They both rule for six months of the year, and are associated with the rites of the Solstice’s. They are both vegetation Gods/Deity’s connected to fertility and the seasons.

At Alban Arthan the winter solstice, the new sun is born and at Alban Hefin, the Summer Solstice it is completed. It has become its most mature on the longest day. The Winter Solstice was a time for letting go what has held you back in the past year and the beginning of plans and dreams for another. It is also a time to focus on rebirth rather than death, the Sun, Mabon is being reborn, each day the sun gets stronger and the Earth Mother, Madron awakes.

This is also the time of old age as the Holly king is dying. Both the Oak and Holly Kings are the Horned God, Cernunnos, the Wild lord of the Hunt. The process starts again at the Solstice as they fight for the hand of the Earth Maiden, Lady Ceridwen. The fight is between the light and the dark half of the year. The Oak king at this time of year has suffered a wound (Summer Solstice) and his energy dies down, the Oak and Holly King battle each other at the Solstice's so the Oak king has suffered a mortal wound which he will not recover from. In the Winter Solstice the Holly Kings energy is defeated and the Oak Kings energy is triumphant.

Hence the Oak king can take the crown and woo the Spring Maiden, the spring maiden is the Lady Ceridwen, also known in Anglo Saxon is Eostre, Goddess of spring, she and the Mabon meet now (Spring Equinox) as masculine and feminine energies mix to bring forth the fertile season.

The Lady of the Harvest, is associated with autumn equinox Alban Elfed also known as Madron the Earth Godess, mother of Mabon the sun/son, as she retires into the earth for the dark half of the year we give thanks to her for her bounty, and we have faith that she will bless us again next year with her continued fertility of the harvest. She is also known as the Lady Cerridwen and many other names. The Mabon, the Sun Child who brings the promise of the sun and rebirth, is still an infant and until the Spring Equinox when the sun starts to be longer he is not old enough to woo the maiden, the Lady of Spring Ceridwen representative of the earth. As he grows, so does the suns power, and then the fertility starts again in the spring with the sacred marriage of the earth and sun. This is marked by the Spring Equinox Alban EilIr.

Lady Ceridwen is known as Madron and Danu and also is part of the Triple Goddess in some beliefs. In springtime the Triple goddess is seen as the Maiden in summer the Mother and winter the old Hag or Crone. We can see how the maiden is represented by flowers and rebirth of the land the fertile cycle starts again, in summer as the mother she is in full glory and abundance in the coming harvests, in winter months she is the wise woman or crone, old age and wisdom, resting now her fertile days are over before the cycle of birth and death starts again.

The legends of the Oak and Holly King, whatever names we give to these masculine Gods of fertility and vegetation wax and wan into the year, much confusion arises from the fact that in most trees of the Celtic months/moons the Oak is in June but this is the time when he is suffered a mortal wound by the Holly King and its the Holly’s energy that wins the day. In Winter Solstice we see the rising of the Oak King’s energy and the dying down of the Holly King’s.

The Holly and Oak King

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Written by SpiritDancer. Designed by Sol Mystic Familiar December 2009

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