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Mistletoe - the Legend

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Mike Kennedy

Thread Starter
Elite Member
Sep 28, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
New York

Mistletoe also known throughout history as the golden bough has several different legends associated with its beginning and its meaning.

Starting back as far as the Celtic Druids you can find more than one story concerning the mystical mistletoe. One such story is their belief that the plant held the soul of the host tree, which was the “holy oak”. During a ceremony, the Druid priests would harvest the mistletoe with a golden sickle to ensure the mistletoe never touched the ground, as it would lose its magical powers. The powers would quickly be absorbed back into the earth. Once the mistletoe was harvested, the priests would have the branches out to the people for them to use against all kinds of evils.

In England, mistletoe at one time was placed over the doorways for good luck. They believed that only happiness could pass underneath the mistletoe, therefore, enemies would hug and seal their peaceful intentions with a kiss of friendship.

The ancient Norse people have a wonderful legend centered on the mistletoe. In their legend, the god Odin and his wife Frigga had a son by the name of Balder. Frigga loved her son very dearly. She took steps to ensure that nothing would ever harm him by way of earth, fire, water, or air.

The mistletoe did not fit into any of these categories, so an evil spirit by the name of Loki created an arrow out of mistletoe and gave it to Balder’s brother, Holder. Holder was blind and Loki held onto his hand and shot Balder in the heart with the mistletoe arrow. Balder died.

From this moment on, the legend is told differently in various stories. One is that Balder is brought to life. In another one, he had a Viking’s funeral and was sent to the Otherworld on a burning ship. He was to remain there until it was time for him to come back to earth to start a new era.

From that day, forward, Frigga stated the mistletoe would never harm anyone again and made it a symbol of love and made the promise to bestow a kiss upon everyone who passed beneath it.

Mike Boyd

Elite Member
Jan 18, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser

I do not hang mistletoe anymore. It seems it is growing higher and higher on the trees and my desire to be kissed under the mistletoe is significantly less than my fear of climbing high on the tree to harvest it.
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