Pagan Christmas: The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the by Christian Rätsch

By Christian Rätsch

An exam of the sacred botany and the pagan origins and rituals of Christmas

• Analyzes the symbolism of the various crops linked to Christmas

• finds the shamanic rituals which are on the middle of the Christmas social gathering

The day on which many commemorate the start of Christ has its origins in pagan rituals that heart on tree worship, agriculture, magic, and social alternate. yet Christmas is not any usual people observance. it's an evolving banquet that over the centuries has absorbed components from cultures all around the world--practices that supply vegetation and plant spirits delight of position. in reality, the symbolic use of crops at Christmas successfully transforms the modern day lounge right into a position of shamanic ritual.

Christian Rätsch and Claudia Müller-Ebeling exhibit how the traditional that means of the botanical parts of Christmas presents a different view of the faith that existed in Europe earlier than the advent of Christianity. The fir tree used to be initially respected because the sacred international Tree in northern Europe. while the church was once not able to force the tree cult out of people’s realization, it integrated the fir tree through dedicating it to the Christ baby. Father Christmas in his red-and-white swimsuit, who flies throughout the sky in a sleigh drawn through reindeer, has his mythological roots within the shamanic reindeer-herding tribes of arctic Europe and Siberia. those northern shamans used the hallucinogenic fly agaric mushroom, that is pink and white, to make their soul flights to the opposite international. Apples, which determine seriously in Christmas baking, are symbols of the solar god Apollo, in order that they discover a average position at iciness solstice celebrations of the go back of the sunlight. in truth, the authors contend that the emphasis of Christmas on eco-friendly crops and the promise of the go back of existence within the lifeless of wintry weather is simply an edition of the pagan iciness solstice party.

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Additional info for Pagan Christmas: The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide

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The Romans associated this cosmological state of affairs with the flower blossom miracle, in which plants bloom in the dead of winter: “On the day of the winter solstice, pennyroyal [herba pulei] blossoms are hanging underneath the roof to dry, and the bubbles they produce—that are filled with air—burst” (Pliny the Elder II, 108). ” The darkest night of the year was called mothers’ night, because now the sun god, lover of the goddess, is reborn in the lap of the Earth. With him, the light of life is renewed.

On the Way to Reality” is the name of this episode of the cartoon series Alef-Thau by Alesandro Jodorowasky and Arno. (©1993, Carlsen Comics, Hamburg) Christmas in the fairy forest: Father Christmas drives his sleigh through the world of fly agaric mushrooms, in the snow. (From a German children’s book, circa 1920) THE CHRISTMAS CALENDAR The usual dates supplied for the traditional Christmas season start with November 11 and end on February 2. Here is a small survey of the most important dates in the Christmas calendar.

Our Christmas ethnobotany explores the use of plants from all over the world that have become and remain a central part of the global Christmas ritual. Every plant comes with its own story with which to enrich the feast. Every plant’s history hangs like a treasured ornament from the world tree that gives us a home in the universe. At Christmastime, the middle-class living room becomes the setting for shamanic rituals with deep roots in ancient traditions. Thus this book is not only about Christmas plants and customs, but also about the origins and historical background of the traditions that continue to inspire us and delight our senses.

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