Holly leaves and berries are linked with Christmas. In some parts of Britain holly was formerly referred to merely as Christmas, and in pre-Victorian times ‘Christmas trees’ meant holly bushes. We bring holly into the house for its shiny green leaves and berries, which reflect the light and add color inside the home. Christian symbolism connected the prickly leaves with Jesus’ crown of thorns and the berries with the drops of blood shed for humanity’s salvation.
In Celtic mythology the Holly King was said to rule over the half of the year from the summer to the winter solstice, at which time the Oak King defeated the Holly King to rule for the time until the summer solstice again. These two aspects of the Nature god were later incorporated into Mummers’ plays traditionally performed around Yuletide. The Holly King was depicted as a powerful giant of a man covered in holly leaves and branches, and wielding a holly bush as a club. He may well have been the same archetype on which the Green Knight of Arthurian legend was based, and to whose challenge Gawain rose during the Round Table’s Christmas celebrations.
Morning sunlight enters Ruby’s Art Party Studio in Dutchman Shores in Chapin where painting allows her to fall into the face of a flower, to touch yesterday, to behold a landscape and briefly walk with her creator. As a teacher of writing, Ruby always wanted to write a children’s book. “Make your dreams big,” she advises after writing and illustrating three. Ruby, a retired educator, now enjoys Author-Illustrator visits to schools as her new way to spend a day teaching children and influencing literacy. The G.R.O.W! Theme of Great Readings Open Worlds echoes through her books. She writes a monthly Growing Little Green Thumbs column that can be found at www.jungletaming.com Books are available at Learning Express, Minuteman Press, Palmetto Fine Arts, ArtCan Studio & Gallery, The Cotton Exchange Gift Shop at the SC State Museum, Books On Main in Newberry, on line at Barnes and Noble Book Nook and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (803)345-2134 and stop by The Art Party Press, Studio & Gallery. The nonfiction science books are for ages 3 – Fifth Grade and address National Science and Literacy Standards. Ruby offers private art lessons in her Art Party Studio in Chapin, SC.