Sunday, 23 June 2013

Mistletoe - not just for Christmas


Two black crows sitting either side of a great bunch of Mistletoe at the Summer Solstice - about as un-Christmassy as you can get, eh? Sorry about the crappy photo (again).

Mistletoe berries are quite a powerful sedative, if you can actually swallow them. The fruit surrounding the seeds is extremely slimy and sticky, so it tends to be next to impossible to get them down your neck and just as difficult to spit them out if you decide against swallowing them in the first place. I suppose they have evolved like this to give them as much chance of sticking to a tree without falling off as possible. Anyway, I am not suggesting you try to eat them, it's just that I did once, in my youth.

Perhaps our resident Druid can tell me why Mistletoe had such significance to his ancient forbears, before the symbolism was hi-jacked by Christians?

14 comments:

  1. 'Mistle' OE for 'middle', so 'middle-toe'. The middle toe would be cut off to make a 'backside' plug against the effects of winter, bean-based, gruels. If a Druid was suspected of farting during the Winter Solstice ceremonies, his punishment was to be eaten by the other Druids. Hence the 'Middle Toe' became an important part of Druidism. Simple.

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    1. Excellent Cro! Well done old boy.

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    2. And he's normally so ill-informed on matters esoteric.

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  2. I think you must have led a very colourful youth Tom. As for Cro (above) I can only assume he has a very vivid imagination. You make a good pair if i may say so.

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    1. If I could remember it, then I might agree with you, Weave. For the record, Cro and me are not a pair, and never have been.

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  3. Dear Tom,
    the mistletoe is now used in treatment of cancer.
    As for the sticky fluid: we have a family-saying I'm sure that will please you: "Turdus sibi ipse maculam cacat" - the thrush shits her calamities herself. They said it in Italy because the glue they put on the rods they caught birds with were smirched with glue made from mistletoes.
    And if you observe - as I know you do - people around you: that old proverb very often is very true.

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    1. That was truly informative, Britta. I have a sneaking suspicion that Mistletoe has something to do with male sperm in Druidic lore, but Heron is being uncharacteristically quiet about it.

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    2. And my modesty forbade me to speak of it

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  4. Old English misteltān, from mistel mistletoe + tān twig; related to Old Norse mistilteinn

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    1. Now be honest - did you Google that, or was it already in the old memory bank?

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    2. I guessed as much. I doubted if your keyboard had those inflections without copying.

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