Sacred Holly’s Sacred Fire

Hi Everyone,

This weeks blog is a painting and short poem (prayer). My first painting for 2012 YAY! 🙂 I have also included my Art Diary although it is amended, because quite honestly I do go on! But if you want to know more about the painting and why I painted this please feel free to read the Art Diary below. I hope some of you enjoy the painting and or the Diary.

Wishing you all a bright and Blessed week to come.

Tikarma. xxxx

Sacred Holly’s Sacred Fire.

(Click on image for a larger view)

Acrylic on block canvas 20cm x 20cm ( 8″ x 8″ )



“Ares God of War

God of Victory.

May your shield defend me from my foes.

May your spear expel all that would harm.

With sacred Holly as champion.

Who embodies strength



Who embodies the protective benevolence of the Gods.

Who holds back harm

Expelling the dark forces.

Lend me the sacred fire.

May fire dwell within.



That its warmth may enfold

 Its light purge out the darkness.

That I may see another dawn and be filled with




 Sound of mind

Enfolded with peace

Prosperous in all my endeavours once more.”



Details of the side panels. I don’t like to leave block canvas edges bare. 🙂

Top of canvas



Left side of canvas


Right side


If you would like to know more about my inspiration and creation process read on, if not click away or scroll really fast….now! 🙂



Art Diary. Inspirations, Sacred Holly’s Sacred Fire, (amended) Sunday 22nd January 2012

Art Diary.

I am beginning a new series of paintings.

Unbeknownst to me when I started (as it tends to be) the last set of paintings has been about my becoming and arriving at place of confidence in self. This next series follows I suppose what you would call the process or more the tools that become part of the process.

 As a Pagan my interest lies in the ways of my ancestors, their magic and their lore. specifically herbalism and herbal magic. Through this I have come to know certain paths that have led me to a place of healing.

While everyone must ultimately find their own way and their own interpretations, I hope through my stories as they will manifest, to explore that healing through the folk magic and beliefs of all Pagan Peoples as they have survived through the ages.

There is no specific reason I have started with holly. I am quite literally working my way through a list (alphabetical of course) and holly was first on the list.



Holly, drapes itself around a flame encased in a torch of embossed bronze. It is a sacred flame. Holly’s flame. It is protective in its qualities as is holly itself. In the dark night even holly seeks out its warmth and light. In the background are weapons. A bronze spear and shield. We are in Ares weapons store…

Homeric Hymn 8 to Ares.

” Ares, exceeding in strength, chariot-rider, golden-helmed, doughty in heart, shield-bearer, Saviour of cities, harnessed in bronze, strong of arm, unwearying, mighty with the spear, O defence of Olympus, father of warlike Victory (Nike), ally of Themis, stern governor of the rebellious, leader of righteous men, sceptred King of manliness, who whirl your fiery sphere (Mars) among the planets in their sevenfold courses through the aether wherein your blazing steeds ever bear you above the third firmament of heaven…”

Holly has not been given a deity in magical herbalism. I assume depending on the culture it would be associated with the war God or Thunder God of the particular culture like Thor (Germanic) , or Belatu-Cadros (Celtic).

I chose Ares as holly has been assigned the planet Mars and Mars is Ares planet.

Ares shield is defensive. Protecting from the blows of the enemy. In war it can buy you time, or even contribute to saving your life. The spear too is defensive but double-edged. It can be used to drive back the enemy and again buy you time and contribute to saving your life. Like the berries of the holly though, it can also kill.

Thus is the ways of Ares. A God who is very fond of battle. Taking the side of those who show bravery and rewarding them with success. Here the battlefield is metaphorical but nonetheless we can meet a “bloody end” if we fail to face our trials and fall back into a world of cycles of abuse, mental distress and harmful behaviours (drug addictions, self harm etc.).

Sometimes illness in whatever form it may take needs a strong purgative to drive it out. Just as brute force is not the only way, sometimes too gently and softly is not enough and you need to give it the boot so to speak.

Ares is a God not be toyed with. He will happily kill you himself if you betray his confidence in your bravery yet as an ally he is strong, defending and protective. He is like fire, he is the sacred fire to which holly responds.

Often when we think of fire we only think of its destructive force. Fire though can be a very healing force as well as protective. It is also purifying. While a fire can cause destruction it also cleanses the land that it may once more begin anew.

Fire kept generations of families safe from predators at night as well lighting their way in the darkness and keeping them warm through many a winter. It cooked food, cleaning it of bacteria and harmful parasites that might otherwise have caused illness. It can be comforting in its glow holding the dark night at bay.

In folklore and its magic holly is a most useful and beneficial plant. Although its berries are toxic, it has been used for centuries to ward off ill forces and protect families and homes. It was favoured as a good luck charm for men and was bought into the home at Yule (winter Solstice) for luck as well.

As for magic, folks used it to protect against lightning strikes and to keep them safe from evil forces of the spirit form or human. It was used to bless babies. Holly leaves soaked in water which was then sprinkled on the baby to bless it and protect it, the first holy water?

Folks used it to protect them from poison and harmful animals. Probably part of the reason it was given to men to wear was for the reason they were the most likely to be hunting in woods and traversing in regions where dangerous animals may be an issue. It was believed that throwing the holly down before the animal or hitting the animal with it would pacify them allowing you to make your escape.

As times progressed holly was given other folk names like Bat’s Wings, Tinne and Holy Tree. Holly was associated with the male gender making it a male plant. It was assigned to the planet Mars and the element fire and was and is used in magic for protection in general, anti-lightning, luck and dream magic.

Holly is also used in herbalism. Dr Edward Bach prescribed holly for those people who felt hatred, suspicion, envy, jealousy and spite. He believed the use of holly would open a person afflicted with these feelings to a spirit of generosity and openness with others.

In other areas of herbalism, the leaves and roots have been used and are sometimes still used to treat jaundice, fever, rheumatism, as a purgative and diuretic amongst other uses.

It is plant that is seen as being protective, expelling and keeping at bay those forces that would cause us harm.

Sacred Holly’s Sacred Fire is a protective scene; From the dark night, deep illness, mental distress. Its hope, my hope to bring a sense of strengthening warmth and comfort.



If you’ve made it to end of my diary, thank you for reading. I hope this has given you some additional insight into my process, creating and painting.

My best wishes to you all for a bright and Blessed week to come.

Tikarma xxxx

All images and text © 2012  Tikarma Vodicka



To read the Homeric Hymns please click the link below. The Hymn to Ares is towards the bottom.

The Homeric Hymns

The On-line Medieval and Classical Library

To learn about Dr Edward Bach’s flower remedies click the link below


The Bach Centre

To learn about the herbal applications of holly please click the link below

Medicinal Herbs Holly Ilex aquifolium

Medicinal Herbs-Natural Healing Power




18 thoughts on “Sacred Holly’s Sacred Fire

  1. Hi Tikarma,

    I just love this painting. I gives such a warmth to look at. You have captured something very old in this that harkens back to an older age when the world would close in around you in winter, and the warmth of the flame and the holly would lift the spirits and wrap itself around you like a protective mother. You have captured that perfectly and it was such a joy watching this come together and evolve. This painting gives you the sense that it will become a centrepiece come winter and will be often looked at for reassurance and protection.

    And I do love your art diary for this. It is interesting to read after seeing you spend the many hours painting it. And you did a brilliant job with the research and your prayer just hit’s the mark! Well done!

    Thank you for bringing more joy into our household with this wonderfull shining example of your talent.

    With all my love, always and forever,



    1. Hi Jamie,

      Thank you very much for such a lovely repsonse.
      I’m really glad that the painting leaves you with such a feeling of warmth and I love your line “holly would lift the spirits and wrap itself around you like a protective mother.” Very beautiful! I’m so glad that this painting has provoked such beautiful and warmth thoughts from within you. I couldn’t have hoped for more. 🙂

      I’m very glad that you found the blog interesting too. It might be a small painting but a lot of thought has gone into it.

      Thank you too for all your encouragement, support and enthusiasm. Most last but not at all least, thank you for all the coffees *cheeky grin* and feedback. It is deeply appreciated.

      Your always in love

  2. Hi Tikarma,

    My instant reaction to this painting was to see it as the ‘Torch of Hope’.

    I realise, having read your prayer and your Art Diary (Thank you for including those) that it carries much more particular, ancient resonances for you.
    Perhaps it does for me too, even if I cannot articulate them as well as you can.
    I will always see it as that ‘Torch of Hope’ 🙂

    I am fascinated too by your ability to see something in your imagination and then paint it – quite magical
    I can get my head round painting what I see in front of my face but to go inside my head and paint what I see there blows my mind.
    You have a great talent.

    Your first painting of 2012 is a helluva good start to the year

    K’sOTC 🙂

    1. 😀

      Hi David,

      Thank you very much for your feedback and for taking the time to read. I do very much appreciate it. 🙂

      I think ‘Torch of Hope’ is just perfect! 🙂

      You have the beautiful ability to render the ‘BIG’
      thought down to a few words that say all that needs to be said.
      It’s an art I almost envy. 🙂 You too are most talented!

      It’s what I like most about sharing my painting. The different impressions and feelings and even sometimes stories that others find within what I have done. It for me enriches the painting all the more. 🙂

      I’m very glad you appreciate the Art Diary. I have to admit I’m rather uncertain on including it. So it helps me to know that people do want to read it and there is an interest for it.

      I have come to appreciate the wisdom that lies in the old ways and the old gods and goddesses. For me the ancent lives harmoniously within the present. 🙂

      Thank you too for your very lovely compliments. *blushing*
      I suppose just as a poem may take form from the very fabric of imagination. It has it’s roots in a very real place.
      The same for me with painting. The root is in a real place but the images come like words sometimes as I’m painting! 🙂 They also require a lot of homework. 🙂 Thank goodness I love reading. 🙂

      Wishing you all the best for a really good week ahead

      and K’sOTC 🙂
      p.s. Thank you for reccomending David Hockney. I am enjoying looking through his art. 🙂

  3. One gets the feeling of a protected sacred place with your beautiful painting! I love the shield too and especially the Holly – it’s fantastic!
    A very nice prayer too! and I enjoyed all the details of your art diary.

    I’m with David: your first painting for 2012 is a helluva good start for the year!

    with much Love
    Mum & Karley xOOOx

    1. Hi Mum,

      Thanks very much for your lovely comments and taking the time out to visit.
      I’m very glad you enjoyed the prayer and found the art diary interesting.
      I’m glad too that the painting gives you a feeling of protection sacred space. That was my hope with this painting. 🙂
      I have to admit I do like the shield too. My eye is always drawn to it. 🙂
      I’m glad too you like the holly. It was a bit of challenge with the shading, certainly a lot of concentration to make sure my light was in the right place! 🙂

      Thank you for the compliment. It’s nice to start on the right foot. 🙂 I hope as the year progresses you’ll continue to enjoy the series. 🙂

      Pats for Karley. 🙂
      with much love and

  4. Tikarma,

    This is a really fascinating post and I am glad that I carried on and read your Art Diary etc; this gave me a much better understanding of your lovely prayer and painting, which is beautiful.

    Today I can totally understand how creativity can help us in our journey through life and help us to address things which have happened in the past . A few years ago I would probably have been quite dismissive of this theory (I could be a pain in the bum when it came to something I didn’t understand – don’t understand it = it must be crap). But meeting you along with other people here on WP, and realising how writing poetry myself is enriching my life and helping me, a much healthier, happier, more content “me” is emerging.

    So thank you for sharing this part of your journey with us and I look forward to much more of your lovely work.

    I have used Bach Flower remedies a little in the past but I didn’t really understand their significance at the time; I think I would be much more receptive today:)

    Love and
    (((BIG HUGS)))

    Christine xx

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you very much for your most lovely and kind comments.

      I’m very glad that you liked the painting and found beauty in it and that you also enjoyed the Art Diary. It’s reassuring to know that there is something of intrest in my ramblings. 🙂

      To be honest it was only in retrospect that I myself realised the theraputic value of writing and my painting is kind of like medication *LOL* It provides a focus that allows my brain to calm down and gives me a break from my more intense emotions. I’m a much happier person for painting. 🙂

      I’m very happy for you that you’ve discovered a similar path with poetry and that it does bring you contentment and enrich your life. 🙂 I hope you continue to gain much from poetry, you are quite wonderfully talented! 🙂

      I have used all sorts of different combinations of herbal remedies both actually but also their psychological value. I have used plants and flowers as emblems to remind me of certain qualities I would like to cultivate.
      I believe something should work regardless of whether a person believes in it or not or understands its deeper meaning. To that end some things I’ve found very effective and others not. It never hurts to give it a try though. 🙂

      Thank you again and for sharing with me! It is deeply appreciated. 🙂

      Love and
      (((BIG BIG HUGS)))

  5. Tikarmaa,

    I love the idea of using plants and flowers as emblems to remind you of certain qualities you would like to cultivate – you have really given me something to consider here – thank you.

    Love and
    (((GIANT HUGS)))

    Christine xx

    1. Christine,

      I’m really glad that my intial idea has sparked off a potential idea for you. 🙂
      This reminds why it can be so good to share. 🙂 Thank you. 🙂

      Love and
      (((GIANT HUGS))) 🙂


  6. Hi Tikarma, thank you for visiting my blog 🙂

    I saw some very nice poems here and I like the Holly painting very much, it reminds me of the atmosphere in Christmas cards. The Holly grows wild in my “garden” and I love it when birds eat the berries 🙂 I never realized they also grow in Australia lol, as you have such exotic plants there!

    I have also found drawing (my drawings are not very good but I love to do them) and writing (thinking of) poetry calmes the mind (more so than reading them) and gives me a better outlook on what I can and can’t do/be. Not sure it is theraputic, but a good way to express myself in 🙂

    What is the yellow thing in the picture? (sorry for being ignorant lol)

    Ina x

    1. Hi Ina,

      Thank you for visiting my blog. 🙂

      I’m glad you saw some poems you thought nice. 🙂
      Yes holly does grow here. We have around 27 native species of holly in Australia though many look very different to the European holly. Some people though do grow the European variety. 🙂

      I think each person chooses for themselves what something is or insn’t to them. I wouldn’t say every poem of mine is therapeutic, sometimes they are just exercises or a bit of fun.
      Everything we do is an expression of ourselves I feel. 🙂 There are no rights and wrongs just what is true for ourselves. 🙂

      I’m sure you are not being ignorant but it is lack of skill and talent on my be-half. The yellow thing in the painting is a flame.

      Thank you again for visiting.

      Tikarma. x

      1. Hi Tikarma, how stupid of me! I really should have known it was fire, as it also says so in the title! I hope you don’t mind my silly question!

  7. Both the painting and the poem have an ancient feel to them–a beginning of the world and civilization feeling where gods are close, and in, the earth and speak through wind, sun, water, and trees that speak to the spirits of men and women. I relate closely to the old world, the world that is filled with mystery and holiness and the feeling that women are powerful, so I salute this entire post. It is powerful.

    1. Hi Thomas,

      Thank you! For your most wonderful and kind comments.

      I relate very much to your sentiments. For myself those acinet days are still just within reach if I’m still and listen closely.This for me a wonderful journey being able to explore my spirituality and its wider history in this way.

      I’m glad you were able to get something from the painting and blog as a whole.


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