The Holly tree is one of the most beloved, respected trees in Celtic mythology and is the evergreen twin of the Oak. It is said, that whilst the Oak was the controller of the light half of the year, the Holly tree controlled the dark, winter months.
Traditionally, the Holly tree is highly sacred in Celtic mythology and symbolises peace and goodwill. Due to its resistance to lightning, it is associated with the Celtic and Norse gods of thunder, Taranis and Thor, and so was planted near dwellings to protect people from lightning strikes.
Druids believed the Holly tree to possess protective qualities, such as guarding against evil spirits and bad luck. Legend has it that bringing the leaves inside during the winter months would provide shelter from the cold for fairies, who in return would be kind to those who lived in the dwelling.
For centuries this magical tree has been represented by a Holly wreath which was worn as a crown by Celtic chieftains for good luck. Traditionally, it was used to protect newborn babies from harm by bathing them in the water from the leaves.
The Holly tree's abundance of spiked leaves are a great spot for garden birds to safely make their nests, providing a natural protection from predators. These trees are also particularly wonderful in spring, as the delicate, scented flowers are loved by bees and butterflies. Few know that a Holly tree is either male or female, this becomes apparent as the tree matures; the male Holly tree has pale yellow flowers and the female’s are white!
The fantastic Holly tree can be viewed here.