Ramblings of a modern druidess

Perhaps I should accept the fact that sometimes my column wants to be written on a Wednesday and sometimes on a Thursday. As to the why I have no freaking clue, but I’ll just leave it at that.

These last few days I spend in our beautiful provence Limburg, mostly Valkenburg and Maastricht, the capital of this beautiful provence.

It is the only provence in our country where you can find mistletoe, which grows here on the oak tree, tree of the druids.

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I always loved the oak tree, but this time of year it really turns into a magical tree producing another new life, the mistletoe.

Because it’s so rare in our country, it is protected, so cutting the mistletoe could cost you quite dearly if caught.

Mind you, you’d have to find an oak tree with very low hanging branches full of mistletoe or be a really good tree climber. I remember my mother yelling at me not to climb trees when I was a little girl because my clothes would get dirty, of course. I’m sorry to say I think I lost that particular ability, though in all fairness, I did not even try after looking up at the enormous giant before me.

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The ritual of oak and mistletoe is described by Pliny the Elder, dated 1st century AD, in a lovely yet dramatised sort of way;

“The druids – that is what they call their magicians – hold nothing more sacred than the mistletoe and a tree on which it is growing, provided it is Valonia Oak…. Mistletoe is rare and when found it is gathered with great ceremony, and particularly on the sixth day of the moon….Hailing the moon in a native word that means ‘healing all things,’ they prepare a ritual sacrifice and banquet beneath a tree and bring up two white bulls, whose horns are bound for the first time on this occasion. A priest arrayed in white vestments climbs the tree and, with a golden sickle, cuts down the mistletoe, which is caught in a white cloak. Then finally they kill the victims, praying to a god to render his gift propitious to those on whom he has bestowed it. They believe that mistletoe given in drink will impart fertility to any animal that is barren and that it is an antidote to all poisons.”

So bear this in mind when you’re finally kissing that cute girl or guy under the mistletoe this year and remember its fertility powers 😉

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Until next week folks!

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