For obvious reasons, I’m thinking about holly at this time of year. But Oak is also on my mind. Not only because Oak is the host to mistletoe, but the holly and the oak have always been connected in ancient Celtic lore.
Holly and Oak are also two of the 38 flower remedies which make up Dr. Bach’s system, the foundation of my healing practice. They are remedies I prescribe often, as they relate to common states we all go through at times.
When we hear "flower remedies" we think of the delicate blossoms on small shrubs, but many flower remedies are made from the flowering part of trees. Trees are strong and hearty, and so the remedies made from trees are thought to lend strength. To the early Celts, trees, especially the Oak, were sacred.
The Holly and the Oak were considered twins on opposite sides, because of their relationship to light and dark. The Oak was the controller of the light half of the year and Holly controlled the dark winter months. Oaks go into a dormant state during the winter, while the holly maintains its foliage year-round. As the cold winter approaches, oaks lose their foliage and the holly, which had been hidden, now takes centre stage.
The Holly and the Oak also share a strange polarity related to lightning. Holly is resistant to lightning, whereas Oak is the tree most prone to lightning strikes. (For this reason, holly trees were planted near homes to protect the dwellers from being struck by lightning).
Holly Flower Essence
It was believed by the Druids that holly had protective qualities, guarding against evil spirits. They would bathe newborn babies in the water from the leaves of the holly tree to protect them from harm. During the cold winter months, clippings of holly were brought indoors to provide shelter for the fairies. According to the Brehon laws of Ancient Ireland, it was illegal to cut down a holly tree. It is still considered a kind of sacrilege to cut down a holly tree.
Undoubtedly, Dr. Bach knew of the Celtic mythology around plants when he started exploring the use of holly for his remedies. He was Welsh, after all. He said of holly, it is "A protection from everything that is not Universal Love.” Holly is considered one of the most powerful remedies, as when a person seems to need all 38 essences, holly, the remedy for love, can be the catalyst that brings them back into balance. This is proof that love does conquer all. At this time of year, we can cultivate Holly energy by taking the remedy. To bring love and protection to the homes we visit, to strangers, to all in need of love and shelter. Perhaps the fairies will even visit this season!
Find your Holly in my formulas In Love and It’s All Good.
Oak Flower Essence
Oak is known as the “King of the Forest." The Druids worshipped the Oak and viewed it as sacred. They also believed mistletoe, which grows on the oak, to have magical powers to ward off evil and bring health and fertility.
The mighty Oak is the symbol of strength and longevity, qualities associated with the Oak flower remedy. It is fitting that the Oak tree rules the light part of the year, because the Oak flower essence lightens the heavy weight of responsibility.
Though the Oak tree is most prone to lightning strikes, when struck it will often continue to thrive. This is a metaphor for those who need the healing energy of oak flower essence. Though externally, the oak types soldier on, inside, they are tired and would love to put down their packs and rest a while. But duty and responsibility to others keep them going. During the winter months, this type of “false strength,” can lead to susceptibility to illness. Sometimes the wisest thing to do for our health (and the wellbeing of those we care for), is to surrender to rest, to say 'no' to those things that will drain our reserves. Oak teaches us to bend, to cultivate receptivity, to allow others to carry the burden for a time (if they want to, of course). In this time for rest and renewal, before the New Year, Oak energy will allow you to let go, relax and connect with the fun kid in you.
Find your Oak in my formula Unburden.
Happy Holidays To You and Yours