I hope you have a few moments for the retelling of an ancient Celtic story and the wonders of imagination.
You see there were two brothers who shared the same job; to care for the earth. One was responsible for the part of the year where dark turned to light and the other brother, the half where light became dark. During the light time there where lots of trees that grew beautiful green leaves by which one brother became known as the Oak King. As the light went away and those leaves turned to orange, brown and were finally lost altogether, the evergreen trees began to stand out against the now bare branches, especially when some also carried bright red berries. The Holly King was the powerful caretaker at this time of the year. Twice a year, every year, there is a battle between the brothers, not out of anger or hatred but a fight to prove worthiness to shoulder the responsibility of caring for the land and its creatures. As the brothers fought, people gathered to celebrate the longest day, the longest night and the winner.
If you are wondering how this story connects to the picture below, let me walk you through it. The green scoop of ice cream is the Oak King. The red scoop is the Holly King. He comes out on top in the battle at Summer Solstice. If you live down under and Winter Solstice is headed your way then the green scoop goes on top and the red below. The chopped pistachios and fresh raspberries are parts that have been hurt or broken in the fight, supported in the whipped creams embrace, a symbolic gift along with the ice cream of dignity, strength, endurance and selfless service according to the Hindu understanding of cows. Appropriately served with a sun cookie.
The creativity of youth! May we and the generations to come never loose sight of how traditions begin. What will you be creating for your Summer Solstice table?
A tale of the Holly and Oak Kings from My Kitchen Wand