By Lady SilverVixen
The cold of the winter has settled in. The harvests the community collected have all been safely stored away. The snow seems to come and go, but the fire in the hearth of every home, seem steady and warm. Mother has the last years yule log pieces ready to go by the fire, while us children are making sure our stockings are hung to dry. We've been good all year, done our chores, kept the fire in the hearth sturdy, and helped anywhere else we could. The reason I'm telling you all this is because the Holly King is coming. I'm sure you probably haven't a clue who the king is, but I can tell you.
Mother says, the Holly King and his brother the Oak King are the rulers of the light and dark halves of the year. The Holly king brings present to those of us who help our community, and he comes dressed in the fire red of the eternal flame with a wreath of greenery topping his head to symbolize the life that still exists in the cold of winter. Now the Holly King rules the dark half of the year, the time from Litha to the Winter Solstice, while his brother the Oak King, rules the light half of the year, the Winter solstice to Litha. Even though these two brothers love each other, they always have a duel they do at both of these times each year. Who ever wins the duel get's to rule. I always found it funny how they always win and loose and how the light and half always come and go, seems to me as a young man, that they just take turns. Anywho, they both hold great significance to our little farming community as they do control the seasons.
Now that you know who the Holly king is, I'll give you a little sneak peek at what we do for this special holiday, that some of you may do yourselves. Our family always finds a nice evergreen, and we decorate it with candles and shiny orbs, and any other home made symbols we can make when not working. The candles, mom says, are to light the way in the darkest of nights, and the shiny orbs are to be symbols of luck, prosperity, fertility, and protection. Our little community needs as much of these qualities as possible.
Tonight, though, is a very special night for us as I've been saying. Tonight we will dim the fire to merely coal and set up the yule log. We already have it spiced, and decorated for all the things we wish to bring to our home and our community. Every year we burn the yule log to welcome back the Oak King, so that he will bring with him the sun for a good year of planting. This is done by mother using a few lit pieces of the old yule log.
Another tradition is something my sister likes to do. She has to hang the mistletoe. See, she studies underneath the crone of the community, who is a very wise healer and teacher, and is most revered. My sister is studying healing from her to take her place when she moves on to the next world. Back to the tradition, my sister says that hanging allheal will keep our little cottage safe from thunder, lightening, and any other evils that may try to enter. A little secret about my sister is that she is hoping the Holly King will bring her a mortar and pestle for yule, as she doesn't have one of her own yet. I think she will make a fine healer one day.
Mom just wants all the men to return safely from the winter hunt. She says it's always wise to give a pure hearted offering to the house protectors as some do go with father on his hunt. All I really want is for everyone to be joyous, to have a prosperous harvest next year, and a warm hearth to sit by. Sadly one of our neighbors harvests didn't come in as thickly as they would have liked so mom has made some figgy pudding, and some dear steaks for them. Their youngest child has also fallen ill so my sister will be coming with me to help heal their child.
The only thing left to do is to go through the community and wish everyone well, and sing a few songs about the season. From all the things that I've seen, and taken in over this past year, I must say that, our little community may not be too advanced or wealthy, but we do take care of our own, and we would rather give to those in need, rather than to receive. May the Great Goddess and the Brother Gods bless you in this festive holiday to celebrate the returning sun, and lord.
A Yule Tide Story