Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Symbol of Love & Peace

The Old English word Mistletoe  is derived from the words, "mistel" (dung) and "tan" (twig).  Hardly the romantic image we hold of this kissing bough found in so many homes at Christmas but a name typical of the down to earth English.

During the winter months Mistletoe growing on soft wood trees is easy to find as it grows on deciduous trees.  The berries are nutritious and  are eaten by bird  such as the Mistletoe Thrush, Robin, Black birds. but the seed of the plant is hard and will pass through a birds digestive tract very quickly  and then deposited in droppings on a branch of the Tree.  The seed will have the perfect growing medium and position on the tree branch.   Within six weeks the seeds will have germinated, however  It takes five years for the Mistletoe  to flower.

Numerous myths have grown up about Mistletoe, my favourite myth  is an old Norse myth of Buldar son of The goddess Frigga.  When her son was born she made all plants, trees animals and inanimate object promise never to harm  Buldar.  But hidden away in the leafy canopy of the apple tree  the mistletoe was forgotten and  was not called to make the promise.

The God Loki who is a malicious entity.tricks one of the other Gods into throwing a spear at Buldar to prove that he could not be killed..  The spear was hewn from the mistletoe and  killed Buldar. His spirit sinks into  Helhiem where all the dead go unless killed in battle.

Grief stricken Frigga sends her son Hermode The Bold  into Helhiem  to offer  a ransom to Hela Goddess of this dark dank realm of the dead.  She listens to his request in silence and stares at Hermode coldly.  He begged her to allow him to take Buldar back to the world of the living where Buldar, the God of the summer sun,  is sorely missed and loved. Eventually  Hela agrees to consider his request over night.    Hela is seething  with jealous anger, she has been banished to this dark world by Odin and no one has begged for her return to the living. 

In the morning she consents to release Buldar if all things living and dead weep for him   So loved is Buldar that all the living and dead weep for him  except one giant crone who refuses to shed even one tear for Buldar.  This evil crone is none other than  the God  Loki, Hela's father. Once again Loki plays a malevolent trick on Frigga.

Frigga holding a bough of mistletoe weeps for her precious son now lost to her.  As she weeps the mistletoe berries turn from red to white.  From that time forward the mistletoe  promised it would bring only love and peace to the world.

It was decreed that when two people passed under The mistletoe  they must give each other a kiss of love and peace and there should be harmony between them.  A tradition still carried on today. 

Wishing you all Love and Peace 

Merry B

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