Alban Arthan

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search

In the recent Druidic tradition, Alban Arthan is a seasonal festival at the Winter solstice. The name derives from the writings of Iolo Morganwg, the 19th-century radical poet and forger. Alban Arthan translates to The Quarter of the Little Bear. An alternative respelling is Alban Arthuan.

On the solstice, it has recently been speculated (with very little evidence) that druids would gather by the oldest mistletoe-clad oak. The Chief Druid would make his way to the mistletoe to be cut whilst below, other Druids would hold open a sheet to catch it, making sure none of it touched the ground. With his golden sickle, and in one chop, the Chief Druid would remove the mistletoe to be caught below. [1] The early Christian church banned the use of mistletoe because of its association with Druids.

The holiday is observed in a manner that commemorates the death of the Holly King identified with the wren bird (symbolizing the old year and the shortened sun) at the hands of his son and successor, the robin redbreast Oak King (the new year and the new sun that begins to grow).[2] The Battle of the Holly King and Oak King is re-enacted at rituals, both open and closed. The battle is usually in the form of words but there have been some sword battles. The scene to the left depicts the Oak King's final strike against his brother, the Holly King and to ultimate victory, at least for the next six months.

See also


  1. Philip Carr-Gomm - The Rebirth of Druidry: Ancient Earth Wisdom for Today
  2. Farrar, Janet and Stewart ([1989] 1998). The Witch's God, "IX Oak King and Holly King". 35-38. Phoenix Publishing, Inc. Blaine, Washington. ISBN 0-919345-47-6 pp 35-38