aliisaacstoryteller

Tree Lore in Irish Mythology | Holly, King of Winter

You may not have been aware of it, but a few months ago, a mighty battle took place. It has been happening every year since time began. And though you didn’t know it, you will have felt the consequences; how slowly, slyly, the shadow of night encroached upon the day and stole its light; how the sun hurried across the sky as if it couldn’t bear to look; how Summer’s warmth faded from the air, sucking with it all life from the earth, and all that was green and vibrant with health shriveled and died. It was as if everything that was good in the world withdrew, leaving behind only grey skies and hardship, and an uncertain future.

The Oak King had fought his battle, and lost. Holly, the victorious conqueror, stalked the land while the days stumbled toward their darkest hour.

So what did we do in Winter before the Christians invented #Christmas?

For our ancestors, the festival of Mid-Winter was an essential period of respite from the harshness of winter. Winter was bleak, a time of hardship, and a struggle for survival. The return of summer’s warmth and plenty was not, for them, guaranteed.

But then something remarkable happened beneath that cruel, cold wing of seemingly eternal shade. The Winter Solstice was the turning point upon which their fortunes hinged. Light triumphed over darkness as the days lengthened and the nights grew shorter. The sun was growing stronger in the sky. It was a sign, a promise of better times to come. And that was something worth celebrating.

The Pre-Christian Origins of #Christmas Decorating

Christmas decorating… why do we do it? Well, our beloved Christmas tree is a seventeenth century German custom adopted in the UK and Ireland during Victorian times. We all love a well-decorated tree, don’t we? Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without it! And it just so happens that this tradition also stems from a far more ancient pagan custom.

Yes, the pagans cut boughs from evergreen trees and shrubs and brought them inside to decorate their homes at the Winter solstice. Why? Let’s think about it…