In order to be effective in magickal spells, mistletoe must be cut with a single stroke of a gold sickle on the Summer Solstice, the Winter Solstice, or the sixth day after the new moon. Take care not to let the plant touch the earth, lest it be rendered magickally impotent.
This old Pagan custom originated with the priestly caste of the Celts, who believed that mistletoe found growing on oak trees possessed the power to heal as well as to promote fertility and protect against all manner of evil.
The Druids believed that it was necessary to appease the gods by sacrificing a pair of white bulls during their mistletoe-cutting ritual.
Also known in earlier times as all heal, devil's fuge, golden bough, and Witches' broom, the mistletoe is said to be sacred to the Pagan deities Apollo, Freya, Frigga, Odin, and Venus.
According to old Pagan herb lore, mistletoe works well to ward off lightning strikes and storms when hung from the chimney or over the doors and windows of a dwelling.
Fairies are also said to be repelled by the sight and smell of mistletoe, a belief that unquestionably gave birth to the old custom of placing a sprig of the plant inside a child's cradle. With the protective power of the mistletoe working for them, parents who once feared that their children might be stolen by fairies and replaced with changelings could rest easier at night.
In England it was once believed that if a young woman failed to be kissed beneath a sprig of yuletide mistletoe before her wedding day, she would be forever unable to bear children. Likewise, unable to father children would be the fate of any man who never kissed beneath the yuletide mistletoe while in his bachelorhood.
Many people continue to cling to the old belief that cutting down any mistletoe-bearing tree is a most unlucky thing to do. Some individuals who have done so are said to have met with a violent death as a result. But whether such strange and deadly occurrences are actually the effects of an ancient Druid curse at work or merely odd coincidences, we may never know for sure.
"Too superstitious... is their conceit... that it [mistletoe] hath power against witchcraft, and the illusion of Sathan [Satan], and for that purpose, use to hang a piece thereofat their children's neckes. " —J. Parkinson, Theatrum Botanicum, 1640.
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