Saturday, 1 December 2012

1st December - Druids Cutting the Mistletoe on the Sixth Day of the Moon


I'd like to start Blogvent with a nice snappy title, so here it is....

Druids Cutting Mistletoe on the Sixth Day of the Moon (c.1890) Henri Paul Motte
Now, anyone who did not join me for Blogvent last year will be unaware of my mistletoe obsession, but here it is: I am obsessed my the power of this plant, possibly born out of my painful teenage years when it seemed to be only available in plastic form from Woolworths.  I used to dream that if only I could get hold of actual, proper, real mistletoe then maybe I would finally be attractive to boys.  Well, I may well have wished for a unicorn for the use it would do me.

Anyway, enough of my problems, and back to the picture.  This is the first of my Druid pictures (I have another one lined up for later in Blogvent) and rather jolly it is too.  As we canter towards the shortest day and the Winter Solstice, the thought that I will once more come and go from work in actual daylight seems far from reach.  The Druids celebrated the weakening of the darkness, the Mean Geimhridh, in its fight against the sun, and huge feasts and celebrations were held in the spirit of optimism and thankfulness that the sun would come again.  This picture shows the All-Heal ritual performed by Druids in their ceremonial robes, cutting the mistletoe from trees with golden sickles.  Found in trees, suspended half way between heaven and earth it symbolised the gateway to another world.  The mistletoe was cut and suspended in the doorways of homes to enhance spells and prayers and to give the inhabitants beautiful dreams.  When you pass under the mistletoe, you should exchange kisses for peace and magic.

In case you were wondering, the bundle of mistletoe is still hanging from the tree down my street and I fully intend to shin up and get it, unless I can find a trampoline.  One word to the wise, be sure not to let your mistletoe touch the ground or the magic will escape.

See you tomorrow.  Right, where's my golden sickle?

9 comments:

  1. We have a different type of mistletoe - our inferior American variety grows on almost everything but oak trees but it still looks great at Christmas. My best friend and I would go out and gather it for the gift store I worked at every year. We'd give out pieces for free. We had a lot of fun. Unfortunately we didn't have any gold sickles so we generall just used our hands. I bet as long as it isn't iron you could use any other metal. Have fun!

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  2. I'll let you know how I get on. If I fall out of the tree I'll insist they take me to a hospital with Wi-fi so I can continue to blog...

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  3. In the southern U.S., the children who sell mistletoe before Christmas usually have shot it out of the trees. Don't know that this will go over well in your neighborhood, however.

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  4. Be careful Kirsty its effectiveness with kissing is because it was considered to be the sperm of the solar deity Taranis, the promise of the sun God’s rebirth.

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  5. Now that's just filth. Not that it will stop me.

    I think if I started shooting at the tree in our street, I may raise a few eyebrows...

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  6. We modern Pagans don't get fancy platforms up trees with tapestries and suchlike - no fair! Maybe a bronze sickle would do well - it can be brought up to a fabulous sheen, and is suitably 'Bronze Age', (Even if Druids are Iron Age, but at least it isn't Iron).

    You should do something about art and the connection to the Druid revival of 18th and 19thC orders of fraternal Druids - 'Neo Druids' - the real origins of modern Neo-Paganism.

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  7. Hurrah for Blogvent! And she's done it again - found a mistletoe picture I don't know - saw the caption & expected the John Duncan one. This one is lovely.

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  8. Why's it so bloody hard to buy mistletoe here in the USA? Every bog standard greengrocer has it in the UK and you're not telling me Wal*mart doesn't know how to make a buck. Where is it? Is it a Baldur safe zone or something? (Ends rant. Oh, and I understand the needing it as a teenager thing, yeah, my chances of catching a unicorn were way better than getting kissed under the mistletoe...)

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  9. Yes, you can buy it in any old supermarket here, plus oodles of the plastic sort if you're a classy kind of girl. At least I am ensured a kiss under the mistletoe now, being married - Mr Walker is contractually obliged.

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Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx