The Legend of Pine
When the Holy family was trying to escape from Herod's soldiers, they asked several trees to give them shelter for the night. The aspen, the willow and others refused, but the pine asked them to come under his protection. He lowered his branches to shield and protect them.
The Holy family remained safe and hidden from the soldiers. In the morning, the baby put his tiny hand on the pine tree to bless it. As a result of pine's kindness, he was given the gift of being 'for ever green'. And the legend also states that if you cut open the pine cone, you will be able to see the hand print of the baby Jesus.
Holly has no rivals as a protective plant! It guards against poisons, evil spirits, lightning, and theft. Carry it with you if you are expecting to see any lions or tigers or bears - oh my! All you have to do is throw it in their direction and they will immediately stop their attack, lie down and take a nap! Handy!
Holly is a masculine plant, an herb of the planet Mars, so men will find it particularly useful in promoting good luck and protecting them from witches!
For centuries, holly, also called Holm, Hover Bush or Bat's Wings, was a pagan plant.The name holly means 'prickly'. After the birth of Christ, it began to be associated with Christianity. One legend states that the holly plant sprang up under the footprints of Jesus. Another states that at one time the berries were white, but after Christ's death, they turned red from the blood he shed for all mankind. The prickly leaves are associated with the crown of thorns, and the white blossoms symbolize purity.
It is one of the most often used greens of the holiday season. Whether you need protection, a splash of color or both, it is an ideal decoration. It will also determine who will rule the house for the coming year. If the leaves are prickly, the man will be in charge, and if it is of a variety with smooth leaves, the woman will rule the home.
Ivy is another herb frequently associated with Christmas. It is most often mentioned in association with holly, its male counterpart. Ivy is the feminine, a plant of the planet Saturn.
The three points of ivy remind us of the Holy Trinity. She is an herb of protection and healing, often seen in bridal bouquets, providing good luck, fidelity and health.
The traditional English Christmas carol (carol translates to "a dance of celebration"), The Holly and the Ivy, dates back to 15 or 16th century. It was re-introduced by Cecil J. Sharp (1859-1924) in his collection of hymns and carols, in 1911.
There was a contest between the holly and the ivy to determine which should be the 'best in the hall.' I'll let you decide who took the prize!
The Holly and the Ivy
The holly and the ivy,
when they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
the holly bears the crown.
Chorus:Oh, the rising of the sun and the running of the deer,The playing of the merry organ, sweet singing in the choir.
The holly bears a blossom as white as lily flower
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ to be our sweet savior.
The holly bears a berry as red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ to do poor sinners good.
The holly bears a prickle as sharp as any thorn,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ on Christmas Day in the morn.
The holly bears a bark as bitter as any gall,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ for to redeem us all.
Juniper is another of the trees who offered protection to the holy family. After hearing of the birth of a baby destined to be king, Herod issued a command to have all new born baby boys killed. The family fled from the manger. As they were traveling, thunder began to rumble and lightning pierced the sky. They asked the trees to offer them protection, but they refused for fear of Herod's retaliation. The humble little juniper bush bravely offered shelter to the family, and they were safe, warm and dry during the storm. The juniper's reward for its bravery was to remain ever green. To this day, juniper is known for providing shelter from storms and lightning.
Helleborus niger was valued as a medicinal plant long before it became associated with Christmas. The first mention comes from 900 B.C. when her discovery was attributed to a shepherd. He used it first with restless, agitated animals and then a neighbor who was considered insane. The king of Argus heard of the cure and contacted him to heal his three daughters, all convinced that they were cows. The shepherd's treatment was successful and his reward was marriage to the youngest princess. You can't make this stuff up!
The association with Christmas came from another shepherd, a young girl named Madelon. It was a cold and bitter night when three wise men following a star passed by her watch. They told her of the wondrous birth and she followed them to the manger. When they arrived, all had gifts for the baby Jesus - frankincense, myrrh, gold, honey, fruits and herbs. She had nothing to give him and began to cry. An angel appeared and asked her why she was so unhappy. She explained that she had no gift for the new born King. The angel took pity on her and turned each of her tears into a beautiful white flower edged in pink. Madelon was over joyed as she presented her gift of the Christmas Rose to the tiny baby.
Joseph of Arimathaea carried a staff made from the hawthorn to Glastonbury, Somerset, England when he journeyed there to share his ministry of Christianity to the ancient Britons. He arrived at wearyall Hill, exhausted from his long journey, and thrust the hawthorn staff into the ground. The tree took root, grew leaves and is said to blossom twice annually, in the spring and again in the winter on the birthday of Christ.
The famous Abbey of Glastonbury was built next to the famous Glastonbury Thorn, and pilgrims traveled there for years to seek the blessing of the thorn. The original tree has been propagated several times by grafting. Sadly, the original tree was burned during the English Civill War. It was replaced in 2010. Cuttings from the tree have been grafted since ancient times and one was taken to the National Cathedral in Washington, D. C. where it is currently growing in the Bishop's Garden.
When Christianity arrived in northern Europe and the legend of the Christmas tree became known, three angels, Faith, Hope and Charity were sent from the heavens to find the perfect tree!
The perfect tree was to be as
Great as Faith
High as Hope
Sweet as Charity
It was also to have a cross on every bough.
The search ended when they found the fir tree.
They lighted it with stars and it became the first Christmas Tree.
"As for rosemary, it is the herb sacred to remembrance and to friendship." Sir Thomas More
When Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus fled through the Egyptian desert from King Herod's soldiers, they found shelter in a rosemary grove. Mary draped her blue shawl over one of the white flowered bushes before she retired for the night.
The next morning when Joseph removed the shawl, they found that the white flowers had changed to the shade of blue of Mary's shawl. Since then, most rosemary blossoms are blue and traditionally flower in December around the time of the celebration of Christ's birth.
This comes from Merry Christmas from Valley Rural Electric Co-op, Inc., a 32 page booklet celebrating the Golden Anniversary of Franklin Roosevelt's introduction of the signing of executive order 7057. The booklet is filled with crafts, decorations, recipes, stories and gift ideas.
The Legend of the Spider
Once upon a time, long ago on Christmas Eve, a mother and her children prepared their home for the visit of the Christ Child. Everything was scrubbed and cleaned, and when the tree was beautifully decorated, the family went to bed. While they were sleeping, the spiders, who had been chased from their favorite nooks and crannies, crept back to view the lovely preparations. They were filled with wonder at the tree's glittering beauty and crawled on every branch to see each shining ornament, but alas, after their inspection, the tree was shrouded with cobwebs.
When the Christ Child came and saw what had happened, he smiled at the thought of the spider's wanting to see his tree and he blessed it as he touched each web to turn it into gold and the tree glistened with beauty even greater than before.
This is how it happened that in so many parts of the world, it is a custom to have a spider web on every tree.
2 silver tinsel pipe cleaners
1 inch styrofoam balls
black pipe cleaner
black chenille bumps (small)
eyes (wiggle eyes or silver sequins
Cut the tinsel pipe cleaners in half and space three of the pieces evenly apart to make the frame of the web. Tie with silver thread at the center to keep them in place. Then, using the silver thread, circle around the spokes, wrapping around each stem and tie at the last connection. About three or four concentric circles make it look like a spider web.
Cut the styrofoam ball in half, cover with black bumps and glue on eyes. Cut the black pipe cleaner into eight sec ions, insert into flat side of the spider's body, and bend feet to fasten to the spider web.
Gifts from Pine
Pine is often used in protective wreaths during the holiday season. Pine replaced the dead black chicken which was once hung on doors to discourage witches from entering. They were honor bound to count every feather before they could go inside. Thankfully, pine needles replaced the feathers, undoubtedly more fragrant than rotting poultry!
Witches have very active minds and often get distracted and lose count, so instead of starting over, they will probably go next door. (You may want to advise your neighbors to get a pine wreath.)
I, on the other hand, like witches - the term comes from Wicca meaning "wise one' - so I don't bother with pine on the door. It is handy inside however, as the fragrance purifies and refreshes the air and discourages illness. The evergreen needles are said to ensure continual joy! You may want to consider incense, instead of, or in addition to, the fresh pine boughs!
Amber -Pine's Gift of Golden Sunshine Energy
Welcome!! I’m Mikell (pronounced Michael). If you love spicing up your life with herbs, recipes, decorating and crafts, symbolism and rituals like I do, I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter and free Enhancing Your Life with Herbs e-book!
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!