This ritual came from Kate West's book The Real Witches' Book of Spells and Rituals. Another excellent title!


In this ritual, the Coven will rise and Greet the Reborn Sun and re-enact the Battle of the Oak and Holly Kings. It is nice to do this ritual outside, but it can be done indoors just as easily.

Remember that the Oak and Holly Kings are brothers, and facets of the same archetype. Strictly speaking the ruling brother is termed King and the other is known as Lord, so prior to Yule, you have Lord Oak and King Holly, and after Yule they become Lord Holly and King Oak.



You will Need:

  • A Gold Candle
  • A Wind-proof glass holder to put the candle in, an empty jar will do if you have nothing more decorative
  • Oak and Holly Crowns


Prior to the ritual, assign the roles of Oak and Holly Kings to two people, preferably male. Get them to practice their battle, to minimize the possibility of injury, and to make sure that the "right" person, the Oak King, wins! Make crowns of Oak and Holly for each of them.


Sabbat Introduction

Remember that this will be given while it is still dark, so it should be memorized.


"Welcome! This is the festival of Yule. Today, after the days of decreasing light, the Sun is once again reborn. Even now in the midst of Winter, while the Wild Hunt is at its peak, a spark of light is born which brings us the promise of Spring, of light and heat, of growth and fruitfulness."


"This is the season of hope and the time for looking forward to what will come and what we will achieve. Today, Lord Oak challenges his brother the Holly King, for rule over the land and the light half of the year. Should he win, as he surely must, he will bring new growth and fertility and life afresh."

Priest and Priestess

"Blessed Be."


The Ritual

Everyone stands in the Sacred Space, facing the point where the Sun is to rise. Together they chant, to the accompaniment of any musicians in the group. Chanting should start off slowly and quietly and build up as the Sun appears over the horizon. One of the chants favored is:

"Return, return, by Earth, by Air, by Fire and by Water."

Save any dancing until the Sun has started to rise, so that you have enough light to see by.

Once the Sun is well on its way, the chanting should stop and the Priestess says:

"The Sun is rising and a spark of light is reborn to the land."

She lights the Gold candle in its wind-proof container and continues:

"Even as the spark of life is lit,
so this candle is our hopes for the promise of the new season.
Blessed Be."

He then directs the first person to visit the Crone.

The candle is passed to everyone in the Circle who makes a wish for the new season.

The chanting and dancing resume. The Holly King puts on his crown of leaves and at an agreed signal, the brothers Oak and Holly interrupt the chanting with an argument:


Oak Lord:

"Holly King! You are old, your time has passed,
your rule over the land is ended.
Brother, give up your crown and your throne!"

Holly King:

"Never! Younger brother, you are usurper;
you are young and green and untried.
Take my crown if you can, but I will never give it up for you."

Oak Lord:

"Brother, I would that we do not fight,
that we shed not our blood.
Give up your crown,
for now the new Sun has risen and it is rightfully mine."

Holly King:

"Brother, it saddens me that you should wish to take from me that which I hold.
Never will I give it up for you.
Care of the land can only belong to he who wins it by right of might and strength."

Oak Lord:

"That which you hold is no longer rightfully yours.
Brother Holly, I challenge you to battle,
and our spilt blood will be taken up by the land, which is in our care."

The Holly King removes his crown and hands it to the Priestess, who will hold it and the Oak crown for the duration of the battle, with the Holly King saying:

"Then take my crown if you dare, if you can!
Let us see to whom the land belongs!"

Everyone else should be moving away a little during this exchange, so as to give the two combatants room. As the battle is being fought the others should start by cheering on the Holly King, but switch allegiance to the Oak King near the end of the battle.

Once the Oak King has won, the Priestess call him over. He kneels at her feet and she says:

"Once again Holly and Oak have fought,
and as is rightful at Yule, Lord Oak has won.
Lord Oak I crown you, King of the lightening days."

She places the Oak Crown on his head and says:

"Hail and Welcome to the Oak King!"

Everyone except Lord Holly repeats:

"Hail and Welcome to the Oak King!"

Lord Holly steps forward and says:

"Victor of this day you may be,
but my time will come again,
and you will kneel at my feet once again."

The Oak King replies:

"But for now, kneel before me Lord Holly,
for this is my time."

Lord Holly kneels and says:

"Hail, the Oak King."

The High Priestess says:

"Now is the time of the Oak King, but even as the year grows so it will once again become time for Lord Holly to step forward. For as we need light we also need darkness. As we need day, we need night. As we need Summer, we need Winter. for both are as the two sides of a coin, and without the one, the other cannot be. As so the Wheel turns.
Blessed Be."

The Priestess and the Oak King perform the ritual of Cakes and Ale, concluding the ritual