The Oak and the Mistletoe
THE OAK AND THE MISTLETOE
The majestic oak, long-lived and austere, is the
king of the forest. Mistletoe is a curious evergreen
parasite which roots not in earth but in tree bark,
thriving in apple trees, poplars, and willows, in
hawthorns and high linden trees.
The Druids – their name means finding or knowing
the oak – worshipped in oak forests. Central to
their rites was the ceremonial cutting of the
mistletoe at carefully calculated phases of the moon.
A white-robed priest ascended the sacred oak, cut
the mistletoe with a golden sickle, wrapped it in a
white cloth, and carried it down to complete the ritual
with the sacrifice of two white bulls.
Mistletoe, an unearthly plant living between earth
and heaven, thrives but rarely on oak trees. Thus
the Druids singled out an oak hosting the mysterious
bush for special veneration, for to them such a pairing
was a manifestation of the life force of the deity.
Page 152 Sign of the Tree
1970s; Stanbrook Abbey; Ink on Scratchboard; 10×12; Mat is signed.