Holly and Oak Kings Do Battle
On the eve of the Solstice, How will we cope?
In the darkest of winter, There's a glimmer of hope
Our storerooms half full, Will mean our survival
This winter will pass, We will see Springs arrival
The Holly and Oak Kings Do battle this day
The results must overturn The outcome of May
To renew the length of each passing day
To honor the Sun God and bid him to stay
The Oak King emboldened, Sends out each new sprout
Met by the Holly King, Frost stamping it out
"Give way" shouts the Oak King, "Your time draws to an end
New life must spring forward, Rest easy my friend"
The balance of day and night teeters and tips
Spilling blessings anew and praise to all lips
The wheel turns again, With a click and a chime
Another season forward, As it has done for all time
Hooray for the Oak King! The Victor this night
Winter will desist, And give way to the light
Days will grow longer, Soon we will sow
The hope of a new year, In the seeds in a row
Till Holly King's next challenge, And the cycle rotates
Life, death, and rebirth, In the hands of the fates
Personifying the seasons was how our ancestors made sense of their place in the wheel and what needed to be done to prepare for the next phase. It meant their survival. We can only imagine what it was like to cope with these changes, even if we have lived in the North, this was without the modern conveniences. The eight Sabbaths that are celebrated by most Wiccan and neo-pagans come out of Northern European where the seasons were drastic. Here in Florida we are kinda spoiled. So I thought it would be good for us to go around the Wheel considering the traditional observances and added to that what is happening around us at that time to make a better connection. We can see the wheel turn, if we pay attention.
(Wheel art by Morgandria. Found on Pinterest.)
So where do we begin? It's a wheel after all, no beginning no end. So you can actually start anywhere it feels right to you. But for the sake of argument and tradition, let's begin at the Witches New Year, Samhain.
*Why do we start there?* The third harvest concludes the growing season. Just like starting the day at sundown. As one thing ends the next begins. No gaps.
Plus, Samhain is probably the easiest holiday for us to get behind. I know it's my favorite.
1. Samhain is a time to reconnect with our ancestors, and honor those who have died. This is the time when the veil between our world and the spirit realm is thin, so it's the perfect time of year to make contact with the dead. Set your dinner table, with a place for each family member, and one extra plate for the ancestors.
Florida's deciduous trees - Red maple ,Sugar berry ,Persimmon, Sweet gum, Florida maple, Flowering dogwood, Sorrel tree, Sassafras, Cypress. Look carefully. How are they changing?
2. Yule, the Winter Solstice, is full of magic. Much of it is focusing on rebirth and renewal, as the sun makes its way back to the earth.
Go to the beach, see what Olokun has left for you.
3. Imbolc reminds us that spring is coming soon, and that we only have a few more weeks of winter to go. It is a time of magical energy related to the feminine aspect of the goddess, of new beginnings, and of fire. It's also a good time to focus on divination and increasing your own magical gifts and abilities. It would be a time when live stock give birth bringing with it milk. What are the Manatees doing I wonder?
4. Ostara is the Spring Equinox. It is observed as a time to mark the coming of Spring and the fertility of the land. Eggs and rabbits have been symbols of fertility since ancient Egypt. We bless the seeds in preparation of planting. Nature trails and Pagan Gatherings, Get some outside time in before it is too hot!
5. Beltane is the time when the earth mother opens up to the fertility god, and their union brings about healthy livestock, strong crops, and new life all around. It is a season of fertility and fire, and we often find this reflected in the magic of the season.
Stop and Smell the Rainbows. Research the Christian Rainbow covenant in Gen. 9 and the Iroquois legend of first rainbow.
6. Litha, the summer solstice, honors the longest day of the year. After today, the nights will once more begin to grow longer, and the sun will move further away in the sky. Prepare your hurricane stash and be mindful of the sea turtles.
7. Lammas next, it's time to begin reaping what we have sown throughout the past few months, and recognize that the bright summer days will soon come to an end. It's the season when the first grains are ready to be harvested and threshed, when the apples and grapes are ripe for the plucking, and we're grateful for the food we have on our tables. Visit a Farmer's Market and buy local produce.
8. Mabon is the autumn equinox, and the harvest is winding down. The fields are nearly empty, because the crops have been plucked and stored for the coming winter. It is the mid-harvest festival, and it is when we take a few moments to honor the changing seasons, and celebrate the second harvest. Here in the South I notice the butterflies are everywhere.
And before we know it it's time to think about our costume for the Witches Ball again.
It's good for us to observe the traditional, honoring and respecting those that came before, but by adding Florida style to the wheel we will become participating pagans, connecting to the nature around us. How do you celebrate the sabbaths here in South Florida?
You know the four seasons really are: hurricane season, love bug season, tourist season and summer. *Wink*
Stay Crafty, Opal Luna