Since my last post I’ve heard from a number of people who cannot get their heads around the Oak/Holly King cycle. I was always confused about this too until I realised that I was trying to fit a ‘cosmic’ event into an agricultural cycle. It clicked when I realised that the Oak/Holly King is about light and the Sun, and this is personified by the evergreen Holly and the mighty Oak.
So at the Winter Solstice, at the time of greatest dark, the King of the Waxing Year is born and crowned, symbolised to many as The Mabon, and within this mythos as The Oak King. His light grows throughout the Waxing half of the year until the Summer Solstice, his Zenith, the Longest Day. But at this time the Holly King is also born, and the crown is passed over to the King of the Waning Year who rules until the Winter Solstice when the Wheel turns once more.
So the Oak/Holly King cycle doesn’t fit very well into the agricultural cycle of the 8 festivals of the modern Pagan Wheel of the Year as that is more about temperature and things that grow. This cycle is much more about the activity of the great Eye of Bel, the King of our Solar System, our Sun. The Oak/Holly King cycle is his mythos, the symbolism of his Journey.
At least that’s how it works for me.