Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Legend of Mistletoe

"Mystical power of mistletoe and the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe owe itself to the legend of Goddess Frigga and her son Balder. Frigga was the Goddess of Love and her son, Balder, was the God of the Summer Sun. Once, Balder dreamt of his death. He was worried and told his mother about the strange dream. Frigga was worried not only for the life of her son but also for the life on Earth because she knew that without Balder, all life on Earth would come to an end. Thus, she did her utmost to avoid such a mishap and went everywhere and to every being in air, water, fire and earth to extract a promise that they would never harm her son. She was promised safety of her son by every animal and plant under and above the Earth. However, Loki, the God of Evil, who was the enemy of Balder and always had evil designs in his mind, was aware that there was one plant that Frigga had overlooked. It grew on apple and oak trees and was known as Mistletoe. Thus, Loki made an arrow and placed Mistletoe at its tip. He then beguiled the blind brother of Balder known as Hoder, the God of Winter, and made him shoot this arrow at Balder. Balder immediately was poisoned and died. Everybody was worried as the Earth turned cold and life became dreary. Every creature tried to bring Balder back to life for three days but it was finally Frigga who managed to revive her son with the help of Mistletoe. Her tears on the plant became pearly white berries and she blessed the plant anyone who stands under the mistletoe plant would never be harmed and would be entitled to a kiss as a token of love."

Christmas coincides with the Winter solstice which was honored in many ancient cultures. In ancient Rome this day was celebrated as the Dies Natalis Invicti Solis
, the birth of the Sun god. Many rituals that are associated with Christmas today derive their origins from Pagan worship and celebrations.

The Christmas tree is one such example. The tree represents Axis Mundi that connects heaven and earth. It is a symbol common to all cultures of the northern Europe that celebrated the winter solstice. It was a custom to bring evergreen trees into the homes as a reminder that the winter will be over soon and the crops would grow again. Evergreen boughs were often carried as symbols of good luck and were often present at weddings where they represented fertility. The Druids used the tree as a religious symbol, holding their sacred ceremonies while surrounding and worshiping huge trees.

Wishing everyone  a healthy and peaceful Christmas. May your hearts be filled with joy!

Dominique Allmon