Holly is one of those rare plants that remains green and thrives this time of year when all is sleeping or dead, and as such deserves its reputation (along with oak) as one of the two most magickally powerful trees. It is the power in these two woods that spawned the legend of the Oak King and the Holly King as oak thrives during the warmer, lighter half of the year and holly in the darker months of cold. But holly is in fact symbolic of the Goddess, with its red berries representing the blood of life she bestows on us. It is one of the nine sacred woods of the sabbat fire and represents, through the Goddess, justice.
Holly is used for protection against witchcraft, evil spirits, mischievous sorcerers, poison and lightning and having holly in your home, especially at the new year, is guaranteed to bring luck and safety to your house and all who dwell within. Keep a small sprig of it in your home throughout the year to manifest its protective properties continually. It's lucky for a man to carry a bit of holly on his person as holly is a "male" plant in contrast to ivy which is "female." Holly berries can be used to predict winter weather. If you see holly bushes with an abundance of berries, it's sure to be a harsh winter as the Goddess is guaranteeing an ample food supply for our wild friends, both furry and feathered. If you are startled by a wild animal while out walking in the woods, throw a sprig of holly at it and it will lie down quietly and leave you alone, even if you don't actually hit the animal!
Holly can be used medicinally to fight fevers and to stop jaundice and it is used to enhance dream work. Dreaming of holly means that you must attend to that which troubles you, but picking holly leaves in a dream means you will live a long life. On a Friday after midnight, and in total silence, gather nine holly leaves, wrap them in a small white cloth using nine knots to tie it closed and place it beneath your pillow. Your dreams will be sure to come true.
Holly is ruled by both Mars and Earth and vibrates with a masculine energy to the elements of earth, air and fire.
Photo courtesy of Tollen on flickr.