I might have stepped away from Eclectic and Neo-Wiccan practices, but at the Summer- and Winter solstices, I will always spend some time thinking about the Oak King and the Holly King, brothers who rule over the seasons. The Oak King rules from Midwinter to Midsummer and his brother from Midsummer to Midwinter. At the solstices, they battle and one of them gets defeated.

The legend has Celtic origins but within (Neo-)Wicca, the two are often considered two aspects of the Horned God. Whatever the interpretation, the two are inseparable and one can not exist without the other.

This sunday, I'm hosting an Eclectic Midsummer celebration with a good friend and part of the celebration will be the battle between the Kings. As I pitched this idea to said friend, I wrote a bit of text for both Kings to say before they started the battle. As we're not using it anyway, I can use it here to make a point:

Oak King:
"I am strong and powerful! Why should I relinquish my crown to my brother? Have I not taken care of you since Midwinter? When my brother wins, the long winter will return. The leaves will fall and you will go hungry. Cheer for me during the battle and I will bring you the sun!"

Holly King:
"Yes my brother speaks truth! I bring you cold and misery. Your fields will freeze over and you will not be able to produce food from them, but listen to me before you choose his side. I am the darkness of winter, the calm inside human and field alike. The rest both need to recharge and renew before Spring. Without me, your fields would become barren and you would still die of hunger. My brother is charismatic and speaks, as is only logical, half of the truth. Look into your souls and hear my words; I bring you sun and quiet, so children of Mother Earth, cheer for me!" 

We need the Holly King, even if you don't subscribe to this myth. We all need times of quiet and contemplation. Somehow, the entire reign of the Oak King seems to be filled with changes for me. It's a recurring theme in my life. The first part of the calendar year always rushes past. It's one, long, sprint from January through June. I long for the summer, the slowing down that starts in its brilliant sunlight. It's barely Midsummer and I'm already looking forward to winter.

So this sunday, I will be cheering on the Holly King at the top of my lungs. I'll shout for him to win and beat his brother down so the earth, and I, can find rest. And in half a year's time, I'll stand before them again and I will cheer for the Oak King all the same. Because they belong together, and I can't have one without the other... and I doubt I would want to, even if I could.