Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Pagan Symbols of Christmas Part 3

The Pagan Symbols of Christmas Part 3
 Mistletoe/Kissing under Mistletoe: *Two hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Druids used mistletoe to celebrate the coming of winter. They would gather this evergreen plant that is parasitic upon other trees and used it to decorate their homes. They believed the plant had special healing powers for everything from female infertility to poison ingestion. Scandinavians also thought of mistletoe as a plant of peace and harmony. They associated mistletoe with their goddess of love, Frigga. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe derived from this belief. The early church banned the use of mistletoe in Christmas celebrations because of its pagan origins.
*The vines and berries of mistletoe were sacred to the ancient Druids who used them in their sacrifices to the gods as well as to celebrate the winter solstice.
*The mistletoe, which was also believed to have miraculous healing powers, was placed over doorways to ward off evil and bestow health, happiness, and good luck.
*Mistletoe was considered a sacred plant, and the custom of kissing under the mistletoe began as a fertility ritual.
*Mistletoe was also hung as decoration.  It represented the seed of the Divine, and at Midwinter, the Druids would travel deep into the forest to harvest it.
 *Sacred to the Druids, the berried mistletoe symbolized the semen of the gods, and was used to bring about great fertility and abundance.  Brought into the home and hung over doorways, it also protected from evil.    Why do we kiss under the mistletoe?  Norse legend  says that Frigg, loved her son Balder so much that she couldn’t stand the thought of something happening to him.  but Loki (the God of Mayhem) fashioned an arrow out of mistletoe and gave it to Balder’s blind brother.  The arrow was shot and Balder fell dead.  Frigg’s tears restored Her son to life, and in her happiness, she declared the mistletoe plant a symbol of luck, love and promise.  Kissing under the mistletoe means you are receiving Frigg’s blessing.
 Holly: *Holly is a shrub with spiny leaves and red berries. The leaves remain green throughout the year. Pagans thought its greenness was a promise that the sun would return.
*Druids once believed that holly, with its shiny leaves and red berries stayed green in Winter to keep the earth beautiful when the sacred Oak lost it leaves.
*Holly was the sacred plant of Saturn and was used at the Roman Saturnalia festival to honor him. Romans gave one another holly wreaths and carried them about decorating images of Saturn with it.
*Holly berries were thought to be a food of the gods.
 *A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to visit the residents.
*Holly has vibrant green leaves and bright red berries during the winter’s cold, providing a beautiful symbol of rebirth. The Celts gathered holly branches and placed them in their homes the night before the winter solstice as protection against sorcery, lightning, and death.  In Scandinavia, it was believed that holly would bring luck to the house.  In Roman Bacchus, holly was the female counterpart to male ivy and this is why wreaths were made of both and hung on the front door.  Pagans believe Holly is Masculine to Ivy’s feminine. With this multilayered symbolism, the holly is indeed the crown jewel of evergreens.  This is why the Green Man wears a crown of holly. 
 Evergreen Boughs: *Evergreen boughs were sometimes carried as totems of good luck and were often present at weddings, representing fertility.
*Evergreen leaves symbolize life, even in the severest winters, and the circle symbolizes immortality.
*The boughs were symbolic of immortality (evergreens were sacred to the Celts because they did not "die" thereby representing the eternal aspect of the Divine).
*Evergreen trees and other plants that stay green all year round have always carried a special meaning for the various peoples of the world. Long before the advent of Christianity, peoples of many ancient civilizations decorated their homes with pine, spruce, and fir trees. In many of these cultures, it was believed that evergreen boughs, hung over doors and windows, would fend off evil spirits and diseases.
*Ancient peoples who worshiped the sun as a god believed that winter came when the sun god became sick and weak. The celebration of the winter solstice marked the time when the sun god would begin to regain his strength and evergreens served as reminders of the coming spring when the land would be green again.
*In Great Britain, the woods priests of the ancient Celts, the Druids, used evergreens, holly and mistletoe as symbols of everlasting life during mysterious winter solstice rituals. They also placed evergreen boughs over their doors and windows to ward off evil spirits.
*Evergreens were used to decorate homes and halls dating back to the earliest Winter festivals.  Because the green never fades, they were thought to have power over death and destruction.  That power was again thought to chase away the winter demons and urge the Sun to come back. Evergreens in winter gave the pagans hope for a return of the light and the renewing power of the goddess nature.


  1. Prettyyyy! ...Why would she declare it a good plant if it's what killed her son? Maybe I'm too sleepy... >.<

  2. Because when she brought her son back to life she was so happy that she declared mistletoe to be a plant of good luck and kissing under mistletoe means you are receiving a blessing from her