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What's up with the Mistletoe?

Updated: Oct 18, 2019

By: Anna Dory

The air outside is frigid, each window glowing yellow into the night. A decorated tree glimmers, adorned with twinkling lights and shining ornaments, the house dressed in garland and poinsettias decorate the mantle of the fireplace. Right there above that special someone is a dainty shrub hanging from the ceiling it's berries twinkling in the candle light.

The mistletoe, a happy holiday tradition that sparks a wonderful desire to cherish our loved ones. But, like many holiday traditions, where did it come from? Through history, and in many cultures, the mistletoe has been revealed as a sacred plant with healing powers. The admiration of this plant steamed from its ability to not only grow all year long but on a variety of host plants. Yes, I did say host plants! Ironically the plant we use to symbolize love and merriment is a parasite that requires a host plant in order to survive! The more I think about my exes the more it seems fitting.

Anyway, let's get to the cool Norse God mythology part of the article. Baldur, the son of a Norse goddess named Frigg, the goddess of love, was prophesied to die. The goddess of love visited with every plant, stone, and animal in the world to ensure they would not harm her son. But, Frigg forgot to talk with the unassuming mistletoe. Loki, god of mischief, was jealous of Baldur's invisibility, so he fashioned an arrow from a mistletoe and plotted to kill Baldur.

In another version of the story the gods are able to resuscitate Baldur, but in my opinion, holidays always overdo the happy ending. So here’s the non “wishy-washy” version. Baldur was unable to recover from his wound and died. Stricken with grief, but untainted by revenge, Frigg declared the mistletoe a symbol of love and promised to kiss all of those who passed under one.

Each time we kiss a loved one under the mistletoe, let’s remind ourselves just how lucky we are to have a loved one to cherish and who cherishes us. Let’s be reminded of the mother who honored her son’s memory with forgiveness and love. Let’s also laugh, at yet another mythology story where the characters ended up bringing about their own destruction by trying to control the future.

Happy Holidays 😊!

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