With Christmas and all its traditions only a few days away, it got me thinking…what is the deal with kissing under the mistletoe? I always thought it was some plan concocted by pervy dudes who lurk under the mistletoe and try to catch pretty girls there so they can kipe a kiss. Oh, wait – it is…depending on what folklore you look at.
The Druids, those sly dogs, believed mistletoe berries represented the sperm of the Gods. Press one of the white berries and you’ll get why, and coupled with the shape of European mistletoe...I’m sure your imagination can take you there. That’s all I’m saying about that. Mistletoe was considered a magical aphrodisiac, so when a girl stood beneath a sprig of mistletoe, she might be asking for more than a quick kiss. *Nudge, nudge, wink, wink*
Another English legend says a kiss is required for each berry on the mistletoe bunch. After each kiss, a berry was plucked and tossed aside…and the kissing doesn’t stop until the berries are out. Needless to say, guys went about hunting for the branches with the most berries. Hopefully, a girl wasn’t required to kiss whatever random lad confronted her with a berry-laden mistletoe branch. Shudder. That could be a long torment session.
But have no fear, the myths don’t all revolve around lust, fertility and questionable activities. In Greek mythology, Aeneas (pronounced uh-NEE-us as opposed to…other possibilities) picked a bough of mistletoe at the gate of the underworld, which was his safety charm. In Sweden, mistletoe is sacred, associated with Thor, and used as protection against fire and lightning. I'm not sure I'd put up much of a struggle if Thor accosted me with a healthy branch of mistletoe. Just sayin'.
In ye olden days of yore, mistletoe was called Allheal and used for all sorts of cures and antidotes—and it’s still used medically today. Not only that, but if enemies met by chance beneath mistletoe, they would call a truce until the next day. Any kisses in that situation were more a sign of friendship and goodwill, but who’s to say it didn’t lead to more? And if you’re afraid a witch might cast a curse on you, hang some mistletoe on your doorpost for protection. Mistletoe, such a useful plant.
So what about you? Do you willingly kiss any sap that lurks hopefully beneath the mistletoe, or are you more prone to keep a sprig with lots of berries handy, just in case?