Today we are supposed to talk about building a winter altar and dedicating it for use until the spring equinox. I guess I have that discussion to look forward to as well. However, one thing mentioned in the paragraphs for today was the use of the Holly King. Some of us may be more familiar with the term Father Winter, Father Time, or even, Santa Claus. While brief, I found some interesting references within this Wikipedia article.
Holly King (archetype)
The story of the Holly King ruling one half of the year, while his rival the Oak King rules the other is a fascinating take on the seasonal cycle story. The Oak King, representing the abundance and warmth of summer is at his best in Midsummer at the Summer Solstice. The Holly King then begins to gain in strength (summer wanes into fall) until the Autumnal Equinox (September) when he finally begins to gain the upper hand. This cycle reverses when he reaches his peak at the Winter Solstice, then losing ground until the Oak King begins ‘winning’ during the Spring Equinox. There is a great story in there somewhere. What if the Holly King was incapacitated, would the Oak King continue to reign and the planet begin to die under the unrelenting summer? Denied that death and rebirth of the seasons, would we see some sort of catastrophe? I might have to explore this further.
I thought it intriguing that the reference articles draw comparisons to this battle throughout literature, mythology, and religion. Robert Graves, in his book, The White Goddess, even compares the two as a basis for Jesus and John the Baptist. Perhaps there is some truth to these archetypes. Graves’ book sounds like a must read. I will be adding it to my to read list. Sadly even the Kindle edition is $9.99 on Amazon. This looks like one to pickup in softcover at least. I added it to my To Be Read private list on Amazon. Then when the wife wants to know what I want for my birthday I can say, Hey, here are some books to get me.
As I look at the temperature outside (1Degree Fahrenheit) I think the Oak King needs to win sooner this year. Stay warm gentle readers. Until next time.