Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The story of festive mistletoe

Another of my favourite local plants that I use every Christmas time is mistletoe. It is an evergreen, parasitic plant that is smothered in white berries from winter to spring. It loves growing on the apple trees in Lulsley. Huge thanks to both our neighbouring farmer and Ian for collecting it. This beautiful plant will be featuring in my Christmas decoration collection this year at our open weekend, as usual.

Lulsley orchards

Apple tree in Lulsley

Making a decoration

Mistletoe (Viscum album) has many other names including the White Goddess or Allhealis. It gets its common name from the Old English misteltan and is held in great veneration when found on Oak trees.

It is considered sacred by the ancient Greeks and the Druids and very magical, giving good luck and fertility. Lovers kissing under it will have lasting happiness if the man takes a berry each time (no more kissing once berries all gone) and the mistletoe must be burned on twelfth night, or those who kissed would not be married!

Mistletoe harvested by Ian

When hung over doorways it protects the inhabitants from diseases, thunder, fire and lightening. Witches and werewolves are prevented from entering and it stops faeries swapping babies to changelings.

Although today we now that Mistletoe is highly toxic, the Druids believed it able to cure many illnesses. These included epilepsy and  infertility.

Another lovely reason why people kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas time is they believed that the Norse god Balder was killed by an evil spirit with an arrow made of mistletoe. Saddened by her son's death, Frigga wept tears of white berries, which brought Balder back to life. Frigga was so overjoyed that she blessed the plant and promised a kiss to all who passed beneath it.

I hope this is interesting. We love to include mistletoe every year in our festive foliage. I hope you like my mistletoe decorations. 

Have a very Happy Christmas X