I am playing ‘catch up’ here after what, (I am very sorry to say), has been well over a month of inactivity on Divine Ogham – due to illness, work and being away 😮💨 I had hoped to post this on the 18th July for the old Celtic feast of Lughnasadh but I hope is better late than never! 😉
You may be wondering just how exactly the ‘Celtic Tree Calendar’ came about – as in how is each tree related to each lunar month? 🌘🤔🌳
Well it was Robert Graves who came up with the concept whilst studying the book ‘Ogygia’ written by the 17th century Irish historian Roderick O’Flaherty. (The title ‘Ogygia’ was used as an allegory to ‘Ireland’ during the time of the Cromwellian confiscations and has no relation to ‘Ogham’).
Within this weighty historical tome O’Flaherty had included a section on the ancient Irish alphabet – listing only 18 Ogham characters(13 consonants and 5 vowels) but attributing each of them to trees.🌲🍃
Graves almost immediately made a connection with the Celtic Lunar calendar (with its 13 month cycle) and also with the 13 constellations of the Zodiac leading to his ‘invention’ of the ‘Celtic Tree Calendar’ as detailed in his famous book ‘The White Goddess’.
He was eventually able to incorporate all 20 Ogham characters by attributing them to the cardinal points, equinoxes and solstices – some with two trees! 🌳🌲
The order of the trees he based on classical myths, (which often have many similarities the world over),he also relied on ‘poetic intuition’ when interpreting such works as the ‘Cad Goddeu’ or ‘Battle of the Trees’, a medieval Welsh poem attributed to the bard Taliesin.
SO .. back to Holly in July! 😉
In Celtic mythology the ‘Holly King’ was said to rule over the dark half of the year with the ‘Oak King’ ruling over the light half. These Kings were seen as twin aspects of the ‘Sun God’ with ‘Holly’ ruling from Midsummer until Yule, when the ‘Oak King’ would be reborn and eventually take power again.
Again you can read about these interpretations in ‘The White Goddess’ by Robert Graves and also in Sir James Frazer’s book ‘The Golden Bough’
Here is a really good website which tells you all about the Holly and Oak Kings and the various archetypes associated with them ..
The Oak King and the Holly King
The Holly King
So hoping that clarifies things! 😉
Here a photo of (variegated) Holly which I took in my Mother-in-Law’s garden in Jersey(C.I) during the height of Summer a few years ago 😊