The evergreen Holly, forest King of the winter season is used to decorate our homes at winter solstice providing the tree fairies and other sylvan beings with a home near a warm hearth during the dark winter days. They in turn bless us with goodwill and thanks. Planting Holly trees near the house protects from lightening and harm, as does carrying a Holly totem. Holly worn as a Touchwood brings good luck, victory in all battles and enables us to overcome negative emotions and overwhelming doubts. The Solstice Holly magic helps us to find peace with ourselves and others, transforming our ability to love and understand the deep connections between seasons, beings and worlds.
Folklore and Mtyhology
Holly branches have long been used to decorate homes in winter. The tree was seen as a fertility symbol and a charm against witches, goblins and the devil. It was thought to be unlucky to cut down a holly tree.
Holly trees were traditionally known for protection from lightning strikes, to which end they were planted near a house. In European mythology, holly was associated with thunder gods such as Thor and Taranis. We now know that the spines on the distinctively-shaped holly leaves can act as miniature lightning conductors, thereby protecting the tree and other nearby objects
Hollies were frequently left uncut in hedges when these were trimmed. One reason for this was to obstruct witches who were known to run along the tops of hedges.
Holly planted near a home is said to repel poison and protect from witchcraft and lightening. The wood has the power to tame animals and the flowers to freeze water.
In pagan folklore the holly is personified as a mythical figure called the Holly King, who rules nature between the summer and winter solstices. He's often depicted as an old man wearing a wreath of holly on his head and walking with a stick made from a holly branch.
Holly Leaves of a female holly would be placed under the pillow to foresee the future in dreams
Some Christians believe that the holly berries were originally white, and that as Jesus Christ bled during his crucifixion, his blood colored the berries red. The green leaves of the holly plant represent the story his life while the red berries tell the story of his death. The circular shape of the wreath is a symbol that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again, a circular philosophy of life.
Uses of Holly
Holly wood is the whitest of all woods, and is heavy, hard and fine-grained. It can be stained and polished and is used to make furniture or in engraving work. It is commonly used to make walking sticks. Holly wood also makes good firewood and burns with a strong heat.
Holly branches are still used to decorate homes and make wreaths at Christmas.