Tree of Sacrifice


Eighth month of the Celtic Tree calendar, July 8th - August 4th
Eighth consonant of the Ogham alphabet - Tinne


Planet: Mars and Saturn

Element: Fire

Symbolism: The Sword of Truth, Unconditional love, sacrifice, reincarnation

Stone: Ruby, Bloodstone

Powers: Protection, Anti-Lightning, Luck, Dream Magick

Birds: Cardinal, Starling

Color: Red

Deity: Lugh, Tannus, Thor

Sabbat: Lughnasa, Celtic festival of the Sun God Lugh, Lammas

Death of the God of the Waxing year (Oak King)

Birth of the God of the Waning year (Holly King)

Folk Names: Aquifolius, Bat's Wings, Christ's Thorn, Holy Tree, Holm Chaste, Hulm, Hulver Bush


Medicinal properties: The powdered leaves were brewed into a healing tea for measles, and the ashes from burning the leaves in a drink soothed whooping cough. Hot compresses made from the leaves and bark helped ease the pain of broken bones and dislocations. 


Magickal properties: A "par excellence" protective herb, it protects against lightning, poison, and evil spirits. When thrown at wild animals it makes them lie down quietly and leave you alone.  Sprinkle an infusion made with Holly on newborn babies to protect them. Holly is considered the male counterpart to the female Ivy. Even though Holly's Yule festival greens are traditionally burned at Imbolg, a small sprig us kept for luck and to keep evil away throughout the year. 


CAUTION: Holly Berries are purgative and often cause nausea and vomiting. 

They are poisonous to children.



Use Holly berries with your favorite spell for female fertility and sexuality:


Red Holly Berries symbolize the life-giving blood 

of the Mother Goddess. 

Gather three berries (or a multiple of three) 

and carry them in your hand to a body of water. 

As you say your incantation, 

drop the berries into the water. 

Visualize a circle of light surrounding you as you go through your spell.


adapted from Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes





Lammas is the ancient Celtic festival at the beginning of harvest time. 

Lughnasad is the Irish name for this festival; it was a time of fairs, trading and celebration. 


Now, when the days grow visibly shorter and the sun seems to decline, the crops ripen.  

So too, when we work for justice, when we have expended huge energies to bring about change, the results often come only when the tides of enthusiasm and urgency seem to be ebbing.  

When the marching and the shouting die away, public opinion quietly shifts. 


Lammas means "loaf-mass" the festival when we honor and celebrate the grain and the food that sustains our life. In a just world, no one would go hungry. 

All people would have access to good quality food - organic, fresh, local, and truly nourishing. 


The grain stands golden in the fields, but has not yet been gathered in. We stand poised between hope and fear. Lammas is a time of consequence, when we reap what we have sown. Globally, we are now reaping the consequences of decades of injustice, of neglect and exploitation of the earth. Will we make the change, in time to avert disaster? Will we reap destruction, or harvest a new world based on harmony, balance and love? 

Our choices and actions will tip the scales.

Starhawk 2007 and We'Moon '08



Tree Magick

by Gillian Kemp


Like the Evergreen Holly tree, or "holy tree" you have divine talents at the root and heart of your being. Your whole world can grow "evergreen" from it. Like the berries or the smooth or prickly leaves on a male of female tree, your life will take shape around its essential nature. The thorny leaves and red berries represent suffering. When the fruits are discovered by patience, what is possibly a test now will prove a credit to you. This is a fresh start, a second chance, or time of renewal and permanence, promising a fortified heart and a happier life. Parties and reunions lie ahead, just as the Holly tree enjoys Winter while anticipating the Spring.





Holly berries were used to predict winter weather. If there were a profusion of berries, that meant it would be a hard winter, because the Goddess was providing extra berries for the birds.


Holly is one of the three timbers in the Chariot Wheel.

It represents personal sacrifice in order to gain something of greater value.




from The Wisdom of Trees by Jane Gifford


Holly reminds us of the need to calm our emotions, if we are to reach wise decisions about our situation. The often painful consequences of our actions are brought to the surface for examination, and calm acceptance of our responsibility is required. We are reminded of the need to view ourselves, as well as others, in the light of compassion and unconditional love. Like the Hanged Man of the Tarot, holly represents personal sacrifice in order to gain something of greater value.



Green Man Tree Oracle


The Holly and the Ivy

When they are both full grown,

Of all the trees that are in the wood,

The holly wears the crown.

traditional carol



Holly's herbal qualities calm an emotional mind and body. It can protect us from anything that is not unconditional love. 


It helps those troubled with suspicion, hatred, jealousy, and revenge by opening the heart. 


The Greenman essence of Holly can help with any negative emotions because it possesses a "power of peace."  


Celtic Moon sign - Holly Moon


Holly wood was used by the ancients in the construction of spear shafts, and as the spiny leaves show, it is well prepared for battle. A symbol of firmness and masculine energy, the holly endows those born under its sign with an equally well-prepared nature. You have a strong connection to the earth, amazing physical strength, and the ability to direct your energy in a balanced even flow. This stability gives you a generosity of spirit ad a very matter-of-fact solidness that others will respect, admire, and rely on. Before you engage in any battle, look inside for understanding and respect for your opponents.
Written by Kim Rogers-Gallagher, and Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook 2000



Dreaming of Holly means you should be mindful of what is troubling you, and picking holly in your dreams means you will have a long life. 


After midnight, on a Friday, without making a sound, gather nine Holly leaves. Wrap these up in a white cloth using nine knots to tie the ends together. Place this beneath your pillow and your dreams will come true.



Pray Peace



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