As a pagan and a practicing herbalist I want to share the uses of herbs in both magic and everyday life. Each day I'll discuss a herb of the day.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Holly: Ilex Aquafolium

"I am a spear: that roars for blood" "Song of Amergin

"Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la, la la la la. "

The Quintessential Winter festival plant, Holly with its evergreen waxy, spiny leaves and bright red berries is todays plant.

One of the Ogham trees, known as Tinne, its month is the 8th July - 4th August.
In ancient Irish law Holly is one of the noble trees, and is one of the nine sacred woods used in need fires.

In folklore, Holly is brought indoors in winter to give shelter to the fairies and elves against the frosts and snows. Branches of holly should never be cut, but should be pulled from the tree. It is believed that a small branch of holly from the festive decorations should be hung outside the house to protect from lightning strikes.

The leaves are febrifugal and tonic and are normally used dried, the berries however are very toxic and although used in the past as an emetic is no longer recommended. Rabbits given a holly stick to chew on as a tonic will have their appetites restored.

Magical Properties

A tree of protection holly signifies courage, wisdom and immortallity. It is used in dream magic and as a protection against harm. It is believed that if a man carries a talisman pouch containing both leaves and berries his masculinity will be heightened. Used as Yuletide decorations and burned at Imbolc and in the need-fires of Beltain. Represents the Holly King or the turning of the year at the Solstices.
Correspondances: Masculine, Hot, Fire, Mars. Sacred to Lugh and to Habondia, the goddess of plenty.


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