Holly Tree

*Nature-Speak/Ted Andrews
Keynote: Time to become the spiritual warrior; be clear about purposes.

Technically, holly is a bush, but it has all the power of a tree. It is one of my favorite evergreens, providing color throughout the year with it's leaves and berries. It has closely packed spiny leaves, white flowers and red berries. And as an avid birdwatcher, the berries always draw them. Even deer like the leaves in winter.

Holly has often been used as decorations. A crown of holly and crown of ivy was placed on the heads of male and female newlyweds respectively. It is one of the most recognized plants associated with Christmastide.

Holly has often been used as a drink or an herbal infusion. Native Americans made a drink from the leaves of a holly, called the yaupon or cassina. They believe it is a gift of the Great Spirit. It was consumed like coffee in the morning for its stimulating effect and it became known as the black tea. A stronger version was sometimes taken to cleanse the body and mind, providing energy, stamina and clear thinking.

Holly was also sacred to the Druids. They kept it in their homes durin gth winter to provide a haven for the "little people." Its spirit and essence manifests energy of protection for them and those who treat them with respect. Holly is powerful to use for wands, staffs and prayer sticks. It is magical and can successfully be used by anyone with little effort. It is one of my favorite plants to use for magical wishes, for protection and for connection to the Faerie Realm.

Holly wil stimulate an opening of the heart so that true love can be experienced. It awakens compassion, and it assists us in understanding "misunderstood" emotions. It reminds us of the importance of proper emotional expression in our life - especially with those we love. Do we need to be more expressive of our feelings? It has the archetypal energies of love, with its ability to overcome anger and hate. This is a tree whose energies can help the individual to awaken the Christ energies within, and can open one to angelic and faerie contact with time and effort.

Often considered a masculine tree, it holds the energy of the spiritual warrior, an energy that can be drawn upon in times of fighting and disruption. It activates the masculine energy of the individual in a creative manner. It is important for those who align with its energies not to scatter their own energies. Any lack of direction may create problems. And this is always part of its message when we encounter it in Nature.

This is a plant whose energies need to be honed, pruned and watched in order for the highest expression of it to manifest. Once done, it can stimulate a dynamic healing capability, one that can be expressed in many avenues. The message of the holly is usually clear. It centers around issues of protection and asserting energies necessary for protection. Holly reminds us to be clear about our endeavors and to pursue them. Are we hesitatnt about what we are involved in? Do we need to be more assertive? Are we protecting our endeavors and our creative energies? is it time to assert new efforts in working with the spirits of the woods?

*Encyclopedia of Signs, Omens, and Superstitions/Zolar
The ancient historian Pliny held that holly was able to keep away lightning spells and evil, if planted near one's house. Should a branch be thrown at any creature, it was said to cause it to like down and obey the thrower. Holly was also believed to protect one against poison, and it was believed that its flowers would freeze water.

During the ancient Roman saturnalia, holly and ivy were often used as decoration. When the birth of Christ was celebrated at midwinter by early Christians, these same traditions were maintained.

The tradition of "first footing"...the first visitor arriving on New Year's Day brought bread, coal, and salt, and carried an evergreen branch, often a holly, as a token of life. The holly bough carried was required to be a male holly, for female holly would bring bad luck.

Leaves of a "she" holly placed under the pillows of North Country girls and boys were said to bring them dreams of their future partners. Nine leaves had to be collected at midnight on a Friday and died with nine knots in a three-cornerd handkerchief. The charm would work only if no words were spoken until the following dawn.

Yet another tradition held that holly should be used in a "witch's chain" of juniper and mistletoe berries that were tied with acorns and wound around a branch. This was burned by three unmarried girls. As the last acorn went up in flames, each girl was said to see the image of her future husband.

According to one belief, holly was supposedly created by Satan, who wished to mimic the laurel God had just invented. It has long been a symbol of eternity, and some think of its red berries as a symbol of the crucifixion.

A young girl who picked a holly leaf and counted it's prickles, saying "girl, wife, widow, nun," did so in the belief that the last prickle, and the corresponding word, would confirm her future.

Holly used in Christmas decorations should be removed on the 12th night and burned, according to one tradition.

More superstitions include these: Bad luck will attend anyone who steps on a holly berry. A child can be cured of rickets by passing it through a cleft holly bush. Never take holly into a house before Christmas Eve or quarrels will attend.

When the holly's branches were heavily laden with berries, it was long held to indicate a hard winter with much snow ahead. In the language of flowers, holly stands for foresight.

Last, it must be mentioned that some believe Christ's cross was made of holly wood. Since it was used to crucify Christ, as punishment it was turned into a scrub. Yet another tradition holds that Christ's crown of thorns was made of holly. According to this legend, the berries were yellow, until after the crucifixion, when they were truned red from his blood.

*On Dreams/Mary Summer Rain
Holly corresponds with a "fresh" spiritual idea or concept.

*The Language of Dreams/Patricia Telesco
Heroism. In the Druidical alphabet, this bush is represented by the tau cross, often equated with the Tree God, whose strength and endurance stands for all to see.

The red berries of this bush are an alternative blood emblem.

Long lasting results or impressions from your efforts. Ancient people associated this plant with longevity, immortality, and the immutable soul due to its ability to stay green through the winter.

If seen as planted around a home, this represents safety to all who dwell within. The well-being of a newborn child. This plant got its name from the Teutonic goddess Holle, whose dominion is protecting babies.

*The Master Book of Herbalism/Paul Beyerl
Holly was a sacred herbe of the Druids. When winter would come, they would keep Holly in their homes, and thus would all of the little people and woodland spirits have a safe refuge against the cold and snow.

Holy may be sent with a gift to a friend, as the Romans did during the festival of Saturnalia. It is also an ideal herbe to fashion into a wreath, to celebrate the welcome of a new Priestess or Priest into the community.

Edited 1 time by CinnamonMoon Mar 24 09 10:47 PM.