By next year, I hope to have learned a real Winter Solstice song. For now, we’ll make do with “The Holly and the Ivy,” the most Pagan Christmas carol I know how to play. I mean, have you looked at the opening lyrics?
The holly and the ivy
When they are both full grown
Of all trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown
O, the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing in the choir
Yeah, sure, there’s bits after that about Mary bearing sweet Jesus Christ. But… “the rising of the sun and the running of the deer”? “The holly bears the crown”? That’s feels like straight-up nature reverence, y’all. Like, yes, yes, we love Mary and Jesus – but have you seen that holly berry, as red as any blood?
“The Holly and the Ivy” puts me in mind of those quaint, remote English villages someone’s often stumbling across in cozy mysteries, where Paganism and Christianity exist inextricably – if not always comfortably – together. It’s a metaphor for something, I’m sure.
Blessed Solstice, all!
Other posts in this series:
Photo by Rick Barrett of Ambitious Creative Co., via Unsplash.