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Yuletide Musing: The Lore of the Holly

Holly by Katheryn Laible

The Druids regarded holly as a symbol of fertility and eternal life, and thought it to have magical powers. The Romans associated it with Saturn…agriculture, fertility and the harvest. Although the berries are poisonous, it’s been used as a healing plant by Indigenous Americans, who made a tea of it as a heart stimulant.

It is said to attract love and to repel poison, lightning, and evil witchcraft; that its wood when thrown would make a beast lay down beside it. To cut a good one down is terrible luck, but taking a few boughs in no sooner than Christmas Eve, (or its ancestor, Saturnalia, if that’s your thing) is warmly recommended, possibly inviting in Sylvan spirits to shelter with you and in turn bestow good luck to all fellow household inhabitants. Taking care to do this decorating with a combination of smooth (female) and pointed (male) leaves is further indicated, leading to balance and hamony in the household all the whole year round.

The Christians adopted the holly as a symbol of Christmas. The sharp leaves are said to symbolize the crown of thorns worn by Christ, while its berries have been said to have turned from white to red with His blood.

Us, we’re simply delighted that this American Holly decided to self seed outside the window and that it was found immediately when poking through the snow…

It seems a lovely omen, indeed… ❤