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Click HERE for a Calendar of festivals for a Queer Craft
as detailed in The Satyr’s Kiss

The Kings of Oak and Holly:
Queer Mythos for Modern Witches

The Oak King and the Holly King feature prominently in Wiccan lore in which they are said to be vying for the affections of the Goddess. She, who as Mother Earth, reigns supreme year-round and is the Great Queen, to which the Kings will each pledge service for half of the year. The Oak King reigns from midwinter to midsummer, while the Holly King from midsummer to midwinter. Each of them meets at the solstices to engage in battle, with the victor slaying the loser, who then retreats into the underworld while the victorious King marries the Goddess to act as her consort. This mythic cycle expresses the fertility of the land and can be seen played out in European and Arthurian folklore in various forms.

While this is a beautiful and potent mythic expression, when left in its traditional form it speaks very little to those whose lives and magic exist outside the fertility current. As queer men we have learned to translate powerful stories to make them more personal; every fairy tale and nearly every love story that we have ever seen or heard generally involves a man and a woman. But even though we are not represented overtly, we can look beyond the specific gender of the individuals and gaze deeply into the universality of the human heart.  We too know love. And so, we translate those stories for ourselves, allowing us to take part in them in ways that were never intended by those who told them. Our myths need be no different.

In this version, the Oak King and the Holly King are not set against one another in combat, hoping to win the sexual favor of their Queen. In the Queer Craft they are lovers, embracing at each solstice and changing their stations. Each will “reign” for half of the year and will pass the wand to the other, not out of defeat, but out of loving sacrifice.

What follows are two short trances designed to experience each of them a little more deeply.

Begin each trance given in this book by first using whatever grounding and centering exercises with which you are most comfortable. Remember that you need not be an expert visualizer. While this is an important skill to develop, it is always more important to feel a thing than to see it. Use your imagination however it works best for you.

Reflections of Pride:
A ritual of community and personal empowerment

You need: A mirror, a small container of water, an anointing oil, and nine (9) candles; one each of the nine colors of the revised Pride flag, as suggested by the flag’s original creator, Gilbert Baker.

Use the water to spiritually cleanse yourself: empower with your will and then sip. Use the rest to anoint your crown, forehead, eyes, mouth, throat, heart, belly, sex, and your feet.

Light each candle in turn, speaking aloud their color and taking time to contemplate their meanings:

Lavender: Diversity. Our queer community is one that is practically defined by our diverse members. Cis and trans, female and male. Non-binary. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, intersex… collectively we are the sexual and gender minorities and we each have our own unique experiences and perspectives.

Pink: Sex. We celebrate the very thing that is used to try and shame us, so let your freak flag fly!

Red: Life. The blood in our veins. We all bleed. We all feel. We all die. But right now, you are alive. Enjoy it while you can.

Orange: Healing. As the recipients of so much injury and pain, let us take that collective pain and alchemically transform it into compassion to become the agents of healing in the world.

Yellow: Sunlight. The light from above that nourishes and sustains us all. A reminder that we are of the stars and we share in this light together. Abundance, Joy.

Green: Nature. Despite what the religious right has asserted, we are natural. Homosexuality exists in nature, as does bisexuality, polyamory, etc. We are an expression of nature herself.

Turquoise: Magic & Art. We are creatures that defy convention. Our very lives are works of art, not to be understood, but experienced. We use art as the medium by which we express the divine, the ineffable nature of the universe.

Indigo: Serenity. A prayer for equanimity; for ourselves and our community. We seek balance in the face of great opposition. A reminder to preserve and celebrate whatever inner peace we can find for ourselves and to help provide that to others.

Violet: Spirit. A recognition that we are spiritual beings. The queer spirit is the celebration of our own queer spiritual nature; that which stands outside what is considered “normal”. Queer spirit is the courage to be unabashedly who you really are, and helping others do the same.

Bask in the candles’ light, imagining each of their colors and qualities blessing and empowering you. Take the oil and anoint yourself in the same areas as with the water (taking care not to get oil into your eyes) and then gaze at your reflection in the mirror. Say, “Hidden light within the dark / Rainbow light within my soul / Ignite to flame the holy spark. / With several colors to make me whole.”

Do something that makes you happy. Listen to music. Make art. Have sex. Eat tasty food. Allow the candles to burn down. Or not. The magic is within you, so act accordingly.