I was out in the park today and there is loads of mistletoe around. A lot is written about mistletoe but when you see it growing in midwinter I think there are things that stand out about it which can lead you into its mysteries. It grows a greeny-gold colour on the bare winter branches of its host tree. It has never touched the earth, but is seeded from the sky. We know now that the seeds are usually spread by birds, but the colour of the leaves and the midwinter vitality gives it a magical aura of life in the midst of death – light and sun persisting in the dark and cold of winter. The white seeds contain a sticky white substance reminiscent of semen, giving the plant a raw sense of male sexual fertility. God’s spunk is a half-humorous name for the mistletoe, which I think also conveys some truth of its edgy fascination. And don’t get me started on kissing under the mistletoe or the Druids cutting it down with a scythe!
“The moment of the solstice occurs when Thor hurls a bolt of lightning through the black night storm and strikes an oak tree. In that moment light and dark are simultaneously both powerful. The moment marks the shift where the power of light now takes dominion. Dark is good because it holds the beginning new life. Light is good because it brings birth. Such tremendous goodness requires a tremendous celebration.
The flash of lightning, bright and hot, creates mistletoe. Mistletoe, called allheal, a bestower of life and fertility, a protection against poison and a provider of safe conduct through the underworld, is of the dark, fertile, gestating side of mid winter.”