It doesn’t really feel like holly season. I mean, it objectively isn’t the time when people start decorating their houses with spiky green foliage and bright red berries. Midsummer is when the Oak King is at the height of his power — though the Holly King begins to grow in strength as the days shorten, he won’t get the upper hand until the autumnal equinox.
Still, gauging by this week’s Ogham divination, it’s holly time for me.
(Interestingly, the holly of the Ogham is very likely not the tree we think of when we hear the word “holly.” Holly didn’t come to the British Isles until the 16th century, so this holly is most likely actually the holly oak.)
Holly, Tinne, is the art of war. It’s the energy that avoids becoming too impassioned in conflict — it waits for the right time to strike. It brings justice that is restoration, not revenge. It’s the knowledge obtained from a bird’s eye view.
Weapons and chariot wheels were made from holly’s hard, dense wood. Planted near a home, it protected it from lightning strikes and fire. Inside, it defended against hexes and malignant magic. Holly is a warrior.
In this case, tinne points to the need for a good defense. Someone — or something — has you ready to go to war, or forcing you to swim against the tide. Tinne underlines the importance of facing our fear of confrontation and loss, of reining in our emotions so we can make a wise decision.
This is something that’s at the forefront for me. In my personal life, the fear of confrontation is something I’ve been fighting for awhile. Externally, the U.S. continues to fight a battle against every kind of -ism, as well as against those who place the economy ahead of human lives. Every day feels like a fight against bigotry, ignorance, and dogma.
Holly is a tree of the dark half of the year. It’s a tree of war and protection. It’s also a tree of knowledge and divine retribution, though, and I think we could use that right now.