Personally I love Christmas, the enchanting carols, the family, friends and the food. I am also fascinated by the symbolism and this year our wreath outside the back door symbolizes love, long life and good fortune to all those that cross the threshold.
Each herb in this wreath has its own symbolism.
All evergreens symbolize immortality and victory.
Pine cones symbolize fertility, they also have numerous seeds which are edible. In ancient times pine cones were seen as a gift from the gods. St. Ambrose considered the pine cone as the image of the never ending continuance of nature and therefore a symbol of future eternal life.
The pine and spruce were considered good protection against evil and were often hung on doors to keep the ill-intentioned out!
The ivy is steeped in myth and magic. At Christmas it was traditionally used to decorate the houses and churches as it is said to bring good fortune to the women of the house. It also symbolized eternal life, loyalty, devotion, patriotism and undying desire.
Myrtle was sacred to the goddess of love , Venus. The plant was reputed to make love grow and also to preserve it. The Jews saw Myrtle as a symbol of peace and reconciliation.
May I wish you all, Long life, Love, Happiness and Peace for this Christmas and for 2014.
We have passed the Equinox and the nights are drawing in. The bees and butterflies are making the most of the glimmers of sunshine, feasting on the nectar of ivy flowers as they well know that the weather is turning and winter will soon be upon us. I have always been fascinated about the traditional and ancient uses of Herbs.
Ivy, Hedra helix L. an evergreen native herb which, in ancient times, symbolised eternal life, loyalty, devotion and undying desire, for it’s well known habit of attaching itself firmly to a wall or tree.
Bay, Laurus nobilis, was also considered a symbol of eternal life. The Greek generals wore a laurel wreath in the belief that, by doing so, they could cleanse themselves from the bloodshed. . The Romans, adopted the Bay as a symbol of victory. The latin ‘laureate’ means crowned with laurels, a synonym for bay, hence Poet Laureate.
And Myrtle, Myrtus communis, a personal favourite, for it looks good all season long and is so useful in the kitchen. In ancient times, and this tradition has returned, was the symbol of love, marriage and fertility. The Myrtle wreath was often worn by brides and bridegrooms. In Wales it was believed that the destruction of the Myrtle is tantamount to killing love and peace.
So these three herbs, Ivy, Myrtle and Bay when arranged in a vase to brighten the home in winter symbolises happiness, love, devotion and longevity.