There is a legend that says mistletoe is a sacred plant and is cut only during the Summer or Winter Solstices. In Medieval times mistletoe was cut with a golden sickle. It was unlucky for the plant to fall to the ground; so a cloth was held under the tree to catch the cuttings.
- SYMBOLIZES: Peace, Prosperity, Healing, Wellness, Fertility, Rest, Protection
- FORMS: boughs, amulet sprigs above doorways, kissing balls
- TRADITIONAL TO: Celtic & Teutonic
Bringing Evergreens into the home is an ancient practice that dates back to Mesopotamian times. The branches were brought in to give warmth and chase away evil spirits. Evergreen branches stood for everlasting life. They were believed to be supernatural plants because they stayed green and alive during the winter months. Many countries still include Yule logs as part of the celebrations. This could be anything from a large tree to a log only big enough to fit into a fireplace. The log was often covered with wine, salt and evergreens; then set ablaze. Some logs were burned outdoors while people danced and sang around. The preferable type of wood used for the Yule log is Oak, but Birch, Willow and Holly can be used.
- SYMBOLIZES: Continuity of Life, Protection, & Prosperity
- TYPES: Pine, Fir, Cedar, Juniper, Oak, Yew, Birch, & Willow
- FORMS: boughs, wreaths, garlands, & trees
- TRADITIONAL TO: Christianity, Roman, Celtic, & Teutonic
Holly was used in the solstice festivities in olden times because it's an evergreen plant, which represented everlasting life. It was also used during the Yule celebrations as decorations over doorways and in wreaths.
- SYMBOLIZES: Old Solar Year, Waning Sun, Protection, & Good Luck
- FORMS: boughs over portals, & wreaths
- TRADITIONAL TO: Roman, Celtic, English, & Christianity
During the Winter Solstice the Ivy plant was also used and still is. Ivy was highly respected by the Greeks, who wore it as a crown in celebration of victory.
- SYMBOLIZES: Fidelity, Protection, Healing, Marriage, Victory, Honor, & Good Luck
- FORMS: crowns, wreaths, & garlands
- TRADITIONAL TO: Greek, Roman, English, & Christianity
The Oak tree was revered and worshipped by the Druids as well as the Greeks and Romans. It is said the Druids would not meet for rituals unless an Oak tree was present. Because the Oak tree is long-lived and strong it was considered a source of protection. Acorns were placed in the window seals to guard the house from lightening. Acorns were also carried for protection against sickness, aches and pains, and to preserve youthfulness. Today the Yule Log is most often made from the Oak tree.
SYMBOLIZES: New Solar Year & Waxing Sun; Endurance, Strength, Triumph, Protection,& Good Luck
FORMS: Yule log, acorns, & wood for sacred fires
TRADITIONAL TO: Teutonic, Celtic, & Christianity
For thousands of years Frankincense and Myrrh were considered life-line to spiritual health, physical health and well-being. They were considered one of the most prized and extremely valuable in the ancient world (over 4,000 years ago); like gold and diamonds today (kings and emperors vied for the finest grades).
They are two of the gifts that the Three Wise Men presented to Jesus at his birth.
Myrrh was used to prepare the body of Jesus for his tomb.
During the Winter Solstice ritual they should be burnt as incense and on your Yule Logs:
The black powder with which the Egyptian women painted their eyelids was made of charred Frankincense, or other odoriferous resin mixed with Frankincense.
- SYMBOLIZES: Sun, Purification, Consecration, Protection, & Spiritual Illumination
- FORMS: incense & oils
- TRADITIONAL TO: Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Judaism, Greek, Roman, & Christianity
Myrrh is said to help one maintain the state of enlightenment; it connects one to the spirit of youth and clears the path of debris that stands in the way of one's truth.
- SYMBOLIZES: Healing, Death and Afterlife, Purification, & Inner Peace
- FORMS: incense & oils
- TRADITIONAL TO: Egyptian, Roman, Greek, Judaism, & Christians
In the ancient Egyptian world, the chaffs of wheat was in fact a universal symbol of the saviour-god of death and rebirth.
Adding wheat (not in flour form) to your Yule log as a symbol of death and resurrection of the power of the Sun.
- SYMBOLIZES: Sustenance, Abundance, Fertility, & Good Luck
- FORMS: grain, straw figures and symbols, cookies, cakes, & breads
- TRADITIONAL TO: Egyptian, Christianity, Roman, Celtic, Scots, Teutonic,& Judaism