Monday, March 03, 2008

Why worship mistletoe?

Here's one of our neighborhood live oak trees, looking like a half-and-half special. The green half, of course, is the mistletoe; the sere limbs are the oak. I believe they are doing their early spring leaf drop, to be followed by a new set of leaves. Often I've wondered just why early inhabitants of the British Isles worshipped the mistletoe. Because it remained green through the winter, perhaps -- a sign of life?

Or is it for a more practical reason -- because the knot formed by the roots of the mistletoe could be used as an absolutely splendid cudgel? I knew this specimen was to be found in my yard, but had lost its location until yesterday. It's the best I've seen in a long time.

10 comments:

OmegaMom said...

Nice shillaleigh! Or however you spell it...

Granny J said...

dotter -- isn't it just a great one? I've never seen any quite like it!

meggie said...

Be sure to take with you, a stout cudgel, lest you be waylaid by footpads, & set upon.
My brother knows the correct version of that, but I like it nevertheless.

SallyAnne said...

When I was a little girl I found a shillelagh in the attic. I thought it was magical. Maybe yours is too.
Prescott.
I've been there twice. Hope to make it three times before too long.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I think that city council members are quaking in their cowboy boots knowing you are so well armed!
(LOL, joking)
~Anon in AV.

sheoflittlebrain said...

I never knew! That root is really weapon-like!

Avus said...

The mistletoe, as a parasitic plant growing on deciduous trees, was seen by the ancients as a symbol of the continuing 'life-force' (and vitality/fertility) of the tree through the winter.
That's why we kiss under it, I suppose.

Avus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Granny J said...

meggie -- I don't know -- it's a very heavy piece of wood!

sally -- welcome to Prescott when you come!

anon av -- see above comment about weight. If I needed the protection, I would get a concealed carry permit & the lightest pistol possible.

brain -- isn't it though. When I first saw it, many years ago, it was still in the ground, upright. Then it disappeared under all that vinca. I just rediscovered it.

Granny J said...

avus -- sorry. Your comment snuck in while I was typing my response. I was counting on hearing from the UK to get a better insight into the mistletoe mystery.

 
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