- 8th Moon of the Celtic Year – (July 8 – Aug 4)
- Latin name: English Holly (also called Scarlet Oak) – ilex aquilfolium; American holly – ilex opaca. The Holly is an evergreen tree.
- Celtic name: Tinne (pronounced: chihn’ uh
- Folk or Common names: Holly, Scarlet Oak, Kerm-Oak, Holy Tree. Holly actually means “holy”.
- Parts Used: Leaf, berry, wood.
- Herbal usage: The leaf of the Holly can be dried and used as teas for fevers, bladder problems and bronchitis. The juice of the fresh leaf is helpful in jaundice treatment. Holly can be used homeopathically as a substitute for quinine. Note: Holly berries are poisonous!
- Magical History & Associations: The Holly, a masculine herb, is associated with the element of fire, and is an herb of Saturn and Mars. The bird associated with this month is the starling, the color is green-gray, the gemstone is yellow caingorm, and the day of the week association is Tuesday. Holly is the first moon of the dark half of the year, and the Holly is sacred to both the Winter and Summer Solstices. Summer Solstice is the time when in mythology, the Oak King is slain by his twin, or tanist, the Holly King, who rules until the Winter Solstice, when he in turn is slain by his tanist, the Oak King. Tanist is related to the tannin found in an Oak tree; Oak and Holly are two sides of the same coin, the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next. The Holly is also sacred to the deities of Lugh, Habondia, Tina Etruscan and Tannus. There are special spirits that dwell within Holly trees: the Holly Man lives in the tree that bears prickly Holly, and the Holly Woman dwells within that which give forth smooth and variegated leaves. Holly is also associated with unicorns, since the unicorn is one of the Celtic symbols for this tree – the other symbol is the Flaming Spear.
- Magickal usage: The month of Holly is a good time to do magick designed to help bring about a successful harvest. The Holly has applications in magick done for protection, prophesy, healing, magick for animals, sex magick, invulnerability, watchfulness, good luck, death, rebirth, Holiness, consecration, material gain, physical revenge, beauty and travel. Holly also has the ability to enhance other forms of magic. As a symbol of firmness and masculine energy, Hollywood was used by the ancients in the construction of spear shafts, which were thought to then have magickal powers. Uses of Holly in protective magick includes hanging a sprig of Holly in the home all year to insure protection and good luck. Holly is also an excellent charm to wear for protection. ‘Holly Water’ can be made by soaking Holly overnight in spring water under a full moon. This water can then be sprinkled over infants to keep them happy and safe. Holly Water can also be used to sprinkle around the house for psychic cleansing and protection. Holly leaves can be cast around outside to repel unwanted spirits or animals and a Holly bush can be planted close to houses to protect against lightning. Ensure that the Holly has a place in your garden because its presence wards off unfriendly spirits. Do not burn Holly branches unless they are well and truly dead, for this is unlucky. Holly, intertwined with ivy, is traditionally made into crowns for the bride and groom at weddings/handfastings. Holly and Ivy also make excellent decorations for altars. Holy is also a traditional decoration for Yuletide as in sung in the traditional Yuletide song:”Deck the halls with boughs of Holly, fa la la la la, la la la la.”
If you gather nine Holly leaves in complete silence on a Friday after midnight, wrap them up in a white cloth, use nine knots to bind the cloth, and then place them under your pillow, your dreams will come true. When harvesting the leaves from the Holly, remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take the parts and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. Holly favors red and yellow stones as gifts.