Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Magical Trees

O Yuletide Tree, O Yuletide Tree
Evergreen and fragrant

O Yuletide Tree, O Yuletide Tree

Evergreen and fragrant

We bring you in our home to be

A sign of life’s eternity

O Yuletide Tree, O Yuletide Tree

Forever green and lovely.

Evergreens have long been part of Winter Solstice celebrations. The evergreen trees, such as fir, pine and cedar or juniper, keep their leaves throughout the year, making them an obvious symbol of the endurance of life through the cold and dark Winter months.

Since prehistoric times, trees have been sacred to Germanic and Celtic peoples, and there are many ancient traditions of offerings and prayers being tied onto trees as gifts to them.

Beer, bread, and table scraps were offered to trees in Scandinavia. In South Germany it was the custom to bring clippings indoors or sometimes, with its permission and great reverence, even a small tree. This would then be decorated with offerings to the spirit of the tree.

The Yule tree was considered to represent the luck of the family, as well as being honored as a powerful wight (a being, human or not). The tree, in turn, would bestow upon the family the gifts of fertility and abundance in the coming year.

In addition, it was widely understood that disease was spread from stale, unwholesome airs and vapors. So the fresh, cleansing fragrance of evergreen boughs was a cheering, healthful way to protect the family as they were obliged to spend long, dark days indoors in close quarters, during the depths of Winter.

The cosmic tree, Yggdrasil, is an evergreen yew (Taxus baccata) in some traditions, and a rowan, or mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia) in others. The latter, however, is deciduous, not evergreen. But both trees come with their own natural ornamentation of bright red berries.

Yggdrasil is the Axis mundi of the Earth, the central pillar of our planet, that connects earth and sky. It bears all nine worlds of the Norse cosmos in its branches and among its roots. So it would also make sense that our ancestors would decorate their trees with representations of the nine worlds.

In Heathen times, offerings were made to the Alfar (wights who govern growth and fertility in nature) in gratitude for harvest yields. The evergreen boughs brought inside to “deck the halls” represented the ever-renewed life force and served to welcome good Alfar into the house.

Not surprisingly, these holy boughs also served to protect the home from evil wights. Yew, rowan, and holly boughs are traditional Heathen choices for hall-decking.

Next week, I’ll have more to say about the lovely origins of many of our Yule traditions. But don’t forget that this Sunday is the lighting of the third candle on the Solstice Sunwheel.

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