December 25, 2014 at 2:51 am #43560
“The Holly King, represents the Death aspect of the God at this time of year; and the Oak King, represents the opposite aspect of Rebirth (these roles are reversed at Midsummer). This can be likened to the Divine Child’s birth. The myth of the Holly King/Oak King probably originated from the Druids to whom these two trees were highly sacred. The Oak King (God of the Waxing Year) kills the Holly King (God of the Waning Year) at Yule (the Winter Solstice). The Oak King then reigns supreme until Litha (the Summer Solstice) when the two battle again, this time with the Holly King victorious. Examples of the Holly King’s image can be seen in our modern Santa Claus.”
– Yule and Its Lore
“Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.”
– Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ring Out, Wild Bells
“December finds himself again a child
Even as he undergoes his age.
Cold and early darkness now descends,
Embracing sanctuaries of delight.
More and more he stares into the night,
Becoming less and less concerned with ends,
Emblem of the innocent as sage
Restored to wonder by what he must yield.”
– Nicholas Gordon
“Then he sighed and groaned; but his voice was weak
He was so ashamed that he could not speak.
He knew at last that he had been a fool,
To think of breaking the forest rule,
And choosing a dress himself to please,
Because he envied the other trees.
But it couldn’t be helped, it was now too late,
He must make up his mind to a leafless fate!
So he let himself sink in a slumber deep,
But he moaned and he tossed in his troubled sleep,
Till the morning touched him with joyful beam,
And he woke to find it was all a dream.
For there in his evergreen dress he stood,
A pointed fir in the midst of the wood!
His branches were sweet with the balsam smell,
His needles were green when the white snow fell.
And always contented and happy was he,
The very best kind of a Christmas tree.”
– Henry Van Dyke, The Foolish Fir Tree
Since people have to stay indoors in the freezing cold weather, many kinds of entertainment have been invented to help pass the time. One is painting to welcome spring. On the Winter Solstice, people hang an unfinished painting on the wall, which contains a plum tree and 81 uncolored flowers. Everyday a flower is painted red and when the whole work is done, the bright blossoms indoors will meet the early bursting buds outside the window. Another activity is calligraphy which offers the same result. People write a line of an old poem on a vertically hung scroll, which means the weeping willow in the courtyard treasures the valuable spring time the most. In Chinese, it contains nine characters and each with nine strokes. The elderly will tell the children to write one stroke everyday. It has proven effective to teach them words and to train their patience at the same time.
– Written by About.com column writer Hao Zhuo.
I really like this idea of painting color into flowers, one at a time, until a goal is reached. Worth sharing, I thought.
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