In Wicca, the narrative of the wheel of the year is traditionally focuses on the sacred marriage of God and the Goddess and the duality of god / goddess. In this cycle, the God is born perpetually from Goddess in Yule, grows in power at the vernal equinox (like the goddess, now in its appearance of maiden), courts and impregnates the Goddess at Beltane, reaches its peak in the summer solstice, fades in power in Lammas, passes to the underworld at Samhain (bringing fertility goddess / earth, which is now in its appearance Crone) until it is again born of his mother / Crone in Yule. The goddess, in turn, ages and rejuvenates endlessly with the seasons, being courted by and gives birth to God.
Many Wicca, Neo-Druids, neo-pagans and eclectic incorporate a narrative Oak King and the Holly King rulers of the growing year and the waning year, respectively. These two figures hold an endless battle with the changing seasons. The two are ultimately seen as essential parts of a whole, the light and dark aspects of the male God, and would not exist without the other. The Holly King is a speculative archetype of modern studies of folklore and mythology that has become popular in some neopagan religions.
In his book The White Goddess, author Robert Graves proposed that the mythological figure of the Holly King represents half of the year, while the other is personified by his counterpart and adversary the Oak King: the two in an endless battle while the seasons change. In midsummer the Oak King is at full strength, while the Holly King is at the minimum.
The Holly King begins to regain his power, and in the autumn equinox, the tables finally turn in favor of the Holly King; force reaches its maximum at the winter solstice. Graves identified a number of heroic figures matched he believes are variants of this myth, including Lleu Llaw Gyffes and Gronw Pebr, Gwyn and Gwythr, Lugh and Balor, Balan and Balin, Gawain and the Green Knight, the robin and the wren, and even Jesus and John the Baptist. A similar idea previously suggested by Sir James George Frazer in his book The Golden Bough.
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