Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

Holly is one of the two herbs representative of the Christian celebration of Christmas.  The other, of course, is ivy which is the feminine to holly’s masculine.  This tradition actually came to Europe from the Roman festival of Saturnalia and was grafted onto the Druid and Scandinavian reverence for the prickly bush we now call holly.

In just about all magicks, holly is used for protection.  Both Druids and Wiccans advise planting holly bushes near a home to protect it from dark magick, the evil eye and demon infestation.  Scott Cunningham writes of an old tradition that recommends tossing holly leaves at wild animals to encourage them to leave your property or your presence.  Personally, living in a place where truly threatening creatures like brown bears are frequently too close for comfort, I’ll bring a gun along as well.

Druidic tradition says that newborns should be sprinkled with water infused with holly to protect them as they grow.  Men should carry a holly leaf as a pocket piece for good luck; in contrast, women should carry ivy.  If a girl plucks nine holly leaves at midnight on a Friday, wraps them in a white cloth tied with nine knots and tucks this under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband.  This only works if the entire ritual is done in silence; the magick is particularly potent on or near the Winter Solstice (December 22nd this year).

In hoodoo, holly carries the same tradition of protection.  The leaves are burned to protect and cleanse the home.  Holly branches are also hung above the front door to encourage luck and draw helpful spirits to the place.  Bonne chance ~

Header: The Spirit of Christmas by Spencer Baird Nichols c 1910


Timmy! said...

I'm right there with you on the firearms thing, Pauline...

Pauline said...

I know Scott Cunningham would chastise me for saying so but as in the bayou, so in the frozen north; carry a sidearm y'all.