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Ogham name: Tinne

Full moon: 4th August

Planetary ruler: Earth

Deity: Govannon

Druidic animal: Unicorn

When Celtic chieftains chose a successor, he was crowned with a Holly wreath. The evergreen Holly was thought to repel enemies, and warriors carried Holly wood cudgels.

In appearance female trees have smooth leaves while the males have the more familiar spiky leaves, both may be dark to pale green or variegated. They usually flower from from late spring to late summer, with the familiar red berries appearing from late summer through until mid spring, brightening the darkest time of the year. There are many folklore beliefs tied up with the holly; it is strongly associated with Christmas, New year, Twelfth night and Hogmanay traditions, as well as the Pagan acknowledgement that the Holly energy presides over the dark half of the year, while the Oak energy rules over the light. This story is re-told in the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green knight. It is connected strongly to tree spirits and brought into the home as a sign that the tree spirits are welcomed inside. In much of the British Isles the burning of the holly on the twelfth night brought the death of winter. At spring-time in Scotland, the Cailleach, who presides over the winter months will throw her magic staff under a holly, thus admitting defeat as the light begins to grow and take over, ‘and that is why no grass grows under holly trees’