THE RITE OF THE
OAK KING AND THE HOLLY KING
The altar should be decorated with golds and traditional summer herbs of St. Johns wort, fennel, marigold, chamomile, chervil and marjoram. The bonfire, if you have one, should contain oakwood. If not, a yellow or gold candle can be placed in the center of the circle in the cauldron.
This ritual is for a minimum or four celebrants, two of which take on the role of Oak King and Holly King. Women can take on these roles of there are not enough men present. They should prepare wreaths of oak and holly respectively. The other celebrants can wear chaplets of the sacred Coamhain herbs and flowers.
Cast the circle.
The Goddess is in her glory, walking amongst us clad in white, and red, and golden yellow. Where she steps grow fruits and blooming flowers. Around her lovely body, from hip to shoulder, she swings a mantle, lustrous black, embroidered with the stars of the heavens and the silvered moon. This is our Goddess, our wondrous Queen.
Now is the time of the summer solstice, the time of greatest light. We gather here to celebrate the time of brightness. Now is the time of the sun when our Lord is at his height in the heavens. Yet it must also be remembered that now is also the time his decline to his death and rebirth at the darkest time of winter.
The strength of the old king is waning and a new suitor stands ready to challenge for the hand of the Goddess.
The king of the waxing year and the king of the waning year must do battle on this day.
The Lord of the waxing year is represented by the Oak King, the ruler of this day.
Come forward the Oak King.
The man playing the Oak King steps forward.
Yet on this day his brother, Lord of the waning year stands ready to take the land into his keeping. He is represented by the Holly King.
Come forward the Holly King.
The man playing the Holly King steps forward.
Now is the time when the forces of light and darkness do battle.
Priestess: [Crowning the Oak King with his oak wreath]
I crown you the Oak King, lord of the waxing year. Now is the time of your greatest power. Are you ready to do battle for the hand of our Goddess?
Priestess: [Crowning the Holly King with his wreath]
I crown you the Holly King, lord of the waning year. Your season is almost upon us. Are you ready to do battle for the hand of our Goddess?
There follows a choreographed battle between the Holly and Oak Kings, at the end of which the Oak King falls to the floor. If there is not sufficient room for such a battle to take place, a symbolic passing of a scepter or similar can be substituted.
Holly King, lord of the waning year, I name you the victor. Now is the time you take up the scepter and rule the land of the Goddess until the time of the winter solstice, when once again you will do battle with your brother.
As it is with the God, so it is with man. We also journey throughout our time, from birth until death and to rebirth upon our way. We must remember that the Goddess will raise the God with the kiss of rebirth and send him, yet again, upon his journey. We also go down to the cloak of her darkness and her veil hides us from mortal sight. But the tomb is the womb of time from which we return to other lives, to share once more the knowledge and love of our fellows and friends."
The cakes and wine are shared. The rite may be completed with divination, story-telling, and spell casting. The circle is then dissolved.