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A flash of colour in the grey,

A splash of light to lead the way

Spines to hold the gash of light

Berries brighten up the night…

A Tree in Your Pocket* tells me that Holly was loved for its ability to bring cheer to winter nights, and that is why it decorates our homes at midwinter. That and it protects us, Human and Fey alike, raising spirits and soothing sadness with its cheerful optimism.

Holly-spines are sharp, a deterrent to any that try to steal its pure-white wood… a deterrent to those who would cross the boundaries holly watches over.

Approach Holly with respect, it stands as a guardian of joy, and as a joy-bringer itself.

Holly, the Holly King, the ruler-twin of the dark half of the year. As such, Holly holds the light in the dark, light to warm our hearts in the long nights.

It seems an odd time to draw this tree from my ogham sticks, when the sun is at its height, and yet it speaks clearly to me right now. Firstly, there is always hope. I have left my chosen home and found myself without a clear path ahead. The everlight of the holly will hold my heart safe as I am buffeted through this summer. Secondly, I’ve been worrying over my art, hoping it will give me a way to earn a living, make me less dependent (in some respects) on location for financial security. Holly suggests that perhaps I should focus on shining, and worry about what the world reflects back when it does…

*Jaqueline Memory Paterson, A Tree in Your Pocket (Thorsons, 1998)