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Witchy Wednesday - Mistletoe

Witchy Wednesday - Mistletoe Mistletoe is the common english name for a parasitic plant which grows on and up the sides of predominantly hardwood trees to feed on their sap. It belongs to a distinct genus of the family Santalaceae. The name mistletoe originally referred to the species Viscum album (European mistletoe); it is the only species native to the British Isles and much of Europe. A separate species, Viscum cruciatum, occurs in Southwest Spain and Southern Portugal, as well as Morocco (North Africa) and southern Africa. It has dark lance shaped leaves and a short stem with many forks and can form a large, bushy clump hanging from the host plant up to three feet long. Plants are unisexual and greenish flowers form in clumps. White, translucent, veined berries with one seed follow. In Norse Mythology it was said to be the plant used to kill Baldr son of Odin. Baldr suffered from prophetic dreams, even dreaming of his own death. His mother Frigg made everything swear not to harm Baldr. She got the guarantee from everything except Mistletoe. When Loki heard of this he plotted to assassinate him. The gods had taken to throwing weapons at Baldr for sport as nothing, they thought, could now harm him, when Loki told Baldr’s blind brother Hodr to shoot a dart at Baldr, which was made of Mistletoe, which in turn killed Baldr. Mistletoe is the state floral emblem of Oklahoma and the county flower of Herefordshire. Every year, the UK town of Tenbury Wells holds a mistletoe festival and crowns a 'Mistletoe Queen'. The serving class of Victorian England is credited with perpetuating the tradition. The tradition dictated that a man was allowed to kiss any woman standing underneath mistletoe, and that bad luck would befall any woman who refused the kiss. One variation on the tradition stated that with each kiss a berry was to be plucked from the mistletoe, and the kissing must stop after all the berries had been removed. Mistletoe is used to lower blood pressure and for the general health of the heart and circulatory system. It is also used to treat epilepsy. For both of these, make a tea of 1 teaspoon dried leaves with one teacup of boiling water. As needed for blood pressure, and two to three times per day for epilepsy. Magickally It can be burned to banish unwanted spirits, laid across the threshold of the bedroom to banish unpleasant dreams, hung in the home to attract love and drive away negative influence and carried as a general protective amulet. Mistletoe was one of the most sacred plants to the Druids, and was commonly known as all-heal, and used to increase fertility in both people and animals. It was also used to attract good luck, and defend against evil spirits.

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