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The Holly King - Winter Solstice Celebration


The Holly King -  Winter Solstice Celebration

By Celeste Goodwin of Moonlight River Ministries

Moonlight River Ministries gathers annually to celebrate the Winter Solstice and honor the Holly King with our own crafts fair and festival. Many wonder why, and just who is this Holly King?

The why of it is fairly simple: We as a pagan and non-traditional community wanted to have a winter celebration that was not Christmas centric, and honored a very important holiday to the pagan community. More importantly, a pagan community celebration that you can bring your family to!

There are significant similarities between the myths of the Holly King and that of Santa Claus. From the colors associated with them, to their mode of transportation. The Holly King is often depicted as being elder, dressed in deep reds, rich greens, all trimmed with warm furs, and adorned with Holly (of course!). The Holly King is often depicted as having a sleigh and a team of eight stags.

The Holly King represents one half of the year, while the other is personified by his counterpart, and rival, the Oak King. The two deities skirmish ceaselessly as the Wheel of the Year turns. At Midsummer the Oak King is dominant, while the Holly King is at his weakest. The Holly King begins to regain his power as the Autumn Equinox approaches. The scales finally tip in the Holly King’s favor, and his strength is greatest at the Winter Solstice. 

The Winter Solstice (or Yule) is on the longest night of the year. Once this night has passed the days will become longer, and life is beginning to stir under deep blankets of snow. The battle of light (the Oak King) vs. dark (the Holly King) is commonly played out in folk traditions, when winter’s cold could devastate a family or village. The return of the light (longer days) was the heralding of hope. Admittedly, we do not face harsh winters here, however, many of our ancestors faced unforgiving winters, and without so many modern conveniences and comforts to help them through hard, dark, cold winters.

We hope to have you join us for this family and pagan friendly winter crafts fair. There will be a nice selection of locally crafted wares and services, caroling, treats, and possible a visit from the Holly King himself!

Saturday, December 12th, 2015, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
14520 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville CA, 95446

For information on Moonlight River Ministries, please visit our website: Moonlight River Ministries