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Rev. Nelson is a life coach and ordained minister. She can be reached by e-mail at RevJillNelson --at-- or through her website at Don Ross is the Queen Bee of Heresy, webmaster of his interfaith and, a GLBT business directory . You can email Don at Don --at-- Both serve on the Board of Directors at the A. Austin Amerine Retreat Center in Lake County. To learn more about AAARC, subscribe to our newsletter On Board the AAARC (join below).

Mistletoe: Sacred Herb of Witches & Christians

Copyright by the Rev. Jill Nelson and Don Ross of the Amerine Retreat Center, Nov 2007.
This article was written for's Spirituality column.

Eavesdrop on a conversation between Don (neo-pagan Buddhist) and Jill (progressive Christian) as they chat about the Queer Spirituality of Mistletoe. Both are Board Members of the A. Austin Amerine Retreat Center in Lake County where they harvest and sell mistletoe as a fundraiser.

Don: Itís that time of year again! The holidays are upon us and during the next moon cycle, it will be time to harvest mistletoe again at our retreat center!

As I was pondering this article, I couldnít help but chuckle to myself the irony of how this ancient fertility herb, mistletoe, has become accepted by our puritan society. So many ancient myths across both eastern and western cultures draw upon the symbol of mistletoe to teach universal truths; that even when the tree appears to be dead in winter, life is still present.

Perhaps it is not so surprising that even Christians like to be fertile. Surely it is innocuous enough of a tradition to kiss under mistletoe in hope that you will be in love forever. Surely it is harmless enough to kiss under mistletoe with the hope of making love with that special someone. The little Heretic within me writhes in ecstasy that the blessings of Brigit and Aengus Mac ”g still instill love, fertility and just plain horniness, even in our post-modern Christian society.

Jill: You and your heresies. Me, I just make sure I scope out where the mistletoe is hanging and whom I donít want to stand next to under it. Seriously though, Christians have been stealing good ideas from other religions for years. We value fertility just like everybody else. So get your mistletoe up soon. Hang it in every doorway and then just watch where you walk! If your supply is dried up and you need some really good stuff, or you are looking for a holiday fundraiser for your group or a nice way to thank your special customers, the retreat center has plenty of good Pagan/Christian blessed holiday mistletoe packages that include the colorful history of mistletoe use.

It is exciting that our mistletoe harvests got off to an early start this year when two national ad agencies in Boston and Seattle found our mistletoe web page on the same day and called to request mistletoe for their holiday shoots. So this holiday season, watch for Volvo and Eddie Bauer advertising to look for our mistletoe!

Don: Of course, if you just want to impress your friends while you are standing under the mistletoe, go to our website and read up on the history of this fun little plant and while you are there, place an order of mistletoe.

I am off to go hang some!

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