Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Thu, 2009-11-26

With its warrior-like bristles, the holly is a tree of protection; it repels unwanted spirits.

Brought into the home it symbolizes a willingness to share one’s space with the natural elements during the cold, harsh winter.

The holly traditionally decorates wreaths and altars.

After Yule, a sprig should be retained all year for luck.

The Yule holly is often kept until Imbolc, when it is burned to symbolize the death of winter.

If cattle look upon holly at Yule, they will thrive.

At weddings, a crown of holly is made for the groom, ivy for the bride.

Soaked in water all night under a full moon, then sprinkle the water on newborns for safety and happiness.

At every summer’s end, the Holly King fought and won a battle with the Oak King for rulership of the year; Holly reigns supreme during the dark season; at the end of winter, another battle is fought but this time won by the Oak King.

During the dark and barren days of winter, the holly is prized for its fresh green leaves and bright berries, signifying hope and renewal in the spring.

On a year when holly has no berries, death and infertility reign.

Holly is often paired with ivy whose black berries symbolize night and darkness.

A stout holly stick is a good companion for night walking.

Builders in England made doorsteps from for good luck.

Broom: Also known as Scotch Broom or Irish Broom.

It can be substituted for furze (gorse) at the Spring Equinox.

Sweep your outside ritual areas with it to purify and protect burning the blooms and shoots calms the wind.

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