The Holly King and the Oak King are part of Celtic mythology, and they represent two sides to the Greenman, or Horned God.
They battle twice a year, once at Yule and once at Midsummer (Litha) to see who would rule over the next half of the year. At Yule, the Oak King wins and at Litha, the Holly King is victorious. In other words, the Oak King rules over the lighter half of the year, and the Holly King over the darker half. The change from one to the other is a common theme for rituals at Yule, and also at Midsummer.
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Among the various symbols of Beltane frivolity, the Maypole is probably the most well known, even to non-Pagans.
On the surface, the tall Maypole is simply a phallic symbol to reflect the fertility of the season. But it originates with the ancient Irish story of the Bile Pole. The Bile Pole was a sacred tree of life that grew up through the Earth to join the Heavens above and the Otherworld beneath. A similar story to the Norse tree, Yggdrasil.
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