A Darksome Time, And the Winterwood

“Indian mystics hold that to think with perfect clarity in a religious sense one must first eliminate all physical desire, even the desire to continue living; but this is not at all the case with poetic thinking, since poetry is rooted in love, and love in desire, and desire in hope of continued existence. However, to think with perfect clarify in a poetic sense one must first rid oneself of a great deal of intellectual encumbrance, including all dogmatic doctrinal prepossessions: membership of any political party or religious sect or literary school deforms the poetic sense—as it were, introduces something irrelevant and destructive into the magic circle, drawn with a rowan, hazel or willow rod.”—Robert Graves


Oak King and Holly King meet within the woods to battle. The former bright, the latter dark. With Oak, come mistletoe and robin. Holly bears the frost and wrens gather about him in the gloom. You shall hear Robin Bobbin cry out, “Who’ll hunt the wren?”

At midsummer the Oak King casts down his ancient enemy, who retreats to Arianrhod, the place of the silver wheel. But the Holly King returns in his strength at Mabon, the in-gathering. Then again at Lammas tide Holly triumphs over Oak and his power is ultimate. He takes the Moon within his arms and dies in her passionate embrace. And the Lady of Misrule leads the Feast of Fools.

Sprinkle horse blood to the South and the East.

Nine brambles dipped in a spring, for their leaves being between three and five.

But eat thou not of blackberries.

Therefore beware of mad marriages beneath the greenwood.



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