to create a peaceful,
conducive to the spiritual
and personal development
of people and organizations
from all spiritual and
Holiday Mistletoe now for sale!
Scroll down for ordering info
Harvesting Mistletoe near the Tipi de Jesus
1) Pay by Paypal buttons on right
2) If you have any questions, please call
AAARC at (415) 793-8661
3) Mail your check or money order to:
A. Austin Amerine Retreat Center
PO Box 339
Lower Lake, CA 95457
The Spiritual History & Magical Uses
for Mistletoe in Ancient Europe
As ancient European people interacted with their environment and began to reason why certain things were the way they were, they developed an intense interest in trees. Possibly because of the many amenities derived from trees, and especially the oaks, trees came to be worshiped by these early Europeans.
Long used for protection against lightning, disease, misfortune of every kind, fires and so on, it is carried or placed in an appropriate spot for these uses. The leaves and berries are used. Mistletoe is placed in cradles to protect children from being stolen by fairies and replaced with changelings.
A ring carved of mistletoe wood will ward off sicknesses when worn and the plant will cure fresh wounds quickly when carried (do not apply to the wound).
Mistletoe is also carried or worn for good luck in hunting, and women carry the herb to aid in conception. It has also been utilised in spells designed to capture that elusive state of immortality, and to open locks.
Laid near the bedroom door, mistletoe gives restful sleep and beautiful dreams, as it does when placed beneath the pillow or hung at the headboard.
Kiss your love beneath mistletoe and you'll stay in love. Burned, mistletoe banishes evil. Wear it around your neck to attain invisibility. Since the most ancient times, Mistletoe continues to be a legendary all-purpose herb.
The ancient Druids of northern Europe and other pagan groups revered mistletoe, particularly when it infected oak trees (a rare occurance in Europe). Over time, this reverence of mistletoe was translated into the Christian ritual of hanging mistletoe over doorways at Christmas.
Although the Greek philosopher Theophrastus (370 to 270 BC) described the common European leafy mistletoe, it was Pliny the Elder (23 to 79 BC) who wrote detailed descriptions of the attitude of some people toward the mistletoe. He recorded the widely held belief that whatever grew on the sacred oak was sent from heaven and, since mistletoe was only occasionally found on the oak, it was indeed cause for celebration when it was encountered. Pliny also recorded the belief that the mistletoe in winter contained the life of the oak after it had lost its leaves the preceding autumn. It was believed that the mistletoe plant was protected in some mystical sense from injury or harm. If it was cut from the oak, it retained some of these mystical powers, which could be channeled as healing powers. However, if it touched the ground after it was harvested, its healing powers would be lost.
Our Harvest Methods
Therefore, we at the AAAmerine Retreat Center do not allow our Mistletoe to ever touch the ground during harvest or processing, just in case it might add a little mojo per its legendary spiritual prowess, or perhaps add an extra zing to your kisses below our Holiday Mistletoe.
Following the custom of the ancient Druids, we harvest our Mistletoe on Midsummer's day, or when the Moon is six days old. We use one stroke of our Golden Sickle to harvest the native Mistletoe in the Sacred Oak and Pine on the grounds of our Spiritual Retreat Center. We use Amerine's Golden Sickle (well, an extendable gold painted tree pruner) made especially to safely harvest the Mistletoe according to this rendition of ancient customs.
Mistletoe in Myth, Legend and Ancient Rites
While a feeling of veneration for mistletoe was widely shared by early European peoples, it was the Greeks who incorporated mistletoe into some of their myths and legends. The "Golden Bough" of Virgil's hero, Aeneas, was in fact mistletoe. Aeneas was arbitrarily chosen by the Latin poets to be the mythical progenitor of the Roman people. It was Aeneas' wish to visit hell, but on his way there he first had to pass through a vast and gloomy forest. Two doves guided him to a tree bearing a mistletoe plant. He took the golden bough, and with its flickering light he was able to pass through the forest. When he emerged from the forest and showed the bough to the reluctant ferryman at the river Styx, both were immediately transported to the nether world.
Another popular myth that involved mistletoe was that of the Norse god Balder. The myth held that the heavenly bodies, which included the gods, were created fresh every day. Odin, Balder's father, tried to help prolong Balder's life beyond that day and extracted a promise from all living beings not to harm him. However, he overlooked the mistletoe, and during archery practice, a rival gave an arrow made from a twig of mistletoe to Balder's blind brother who accidentally shot Balder and killed him. This doesn't make too much sense to us today, but it probably made good logic at that time within the constraints of a myth. Probably as a result of trial and error, mistletoe plants were also found to have certain medicinal properties, and knowledge of these characteristics undoubtedly contributed to the mystical nature of mistletoe.
Yet more Mistletoe Rites from Ancient Europe:
Call on Brigit when using Mistletoe for health and fertility.
Call on Flidais when using Mistletoe for passion and lust, also for hunting.
Call on Macha when using Mistletoe for fertile crops and livestock.
Call on Aengus Mac Óg when using Mistletoe for love rituals.
Call on Dagda and Manannan when using Mistletoe for protection and exorcism.
Mistletoe Rites in Modern Times
From the Middle Ages to the last century, the literature is filled with examples of different uses for mistletoe plants, especially among rural people. It was cut, tied in bunches, and hung in front of cottages to scare away passing demons. It was hung over doors of stables to protect horses and cattle against witchcraft. In Sweden, it was kept in houses to prevent fire. Swedish farmers hung mistletoe in the horse's stall and the cow's crib, to protect against evil trolls. They also used the wood to make divining rods. In Italy it was believed to be able to extinguish fire. It was widely held to be a universal healer. As a potion it would make barren animals conceive. Even Pliny had known it was a cure for epilepsy, and that it could be used to promote conception. It healed ulcers if chewed. In Wales, mistletoe gathered on Midsummer Eve was placed under the pillow at Yuletide to induce prophetic dreams. Norwegian peasants hung mistletoe from the rafters of their homes to protect against lightning. There are various customs in several countries that utilized mistletoe plants in rituals to find treasure. Collectively, these customs prove that mistletoe had a profound effect on people's lives and imaginations since the remotest past of human history.
When Christianity became widespread in Europe after the 3rd century AD, the religious or mystical respect for the Mistletoe plant was integrated into the new religion. In ways that are not fully understood, this led to the widespread custom of kissing under the mistletoe during the Christmas season, possibly relating to the belief in the effects on fertility and conception. The earliest documented case of kissing under the mistletoe dates from 16th century England, a custom that was apparently very popular at that time.
Thus the spiritual history of Mistletoe perfectly encapsulates AAARC's mission:
to create a peaceful, nurturing environment conducive to the spiritual and personal development of people and organizations from all spiritual and cultural heritages..
Order Ye Magical Holiday Mistletoe
Individual Holiday Mistletoe pkgs $10 each
One dozen (12) or more Holiday Mistletoe pkgs $5 each ($60/doz)
One pound of bulk American Mistletoe picked fresh and special for you ($80/lb)
All mistletoe orders are mailed via USPS Priority. Price includes shipping & handling.
We only ship mistletoe inside the USA, not internationally.
Holiday Mistletoe sales for Christmas have been good in 2009.
All bulk and pre-orders were picked fresh around Thanksgiving.
WARNING: American Mistletoe is more toxic than European Mistletoe.
Therefore NO part of American Mistletoe should ever be eaten or ingested!
Medicinal Uses of Mistletoe
The name mistletoe derives from the Celtic word for all-heal. This correlates with its historical use for everything from nervous complaints to bleeding to tumors. It is difficult to categorize all of the uses of mistletoe, particularly when one looks at the vast number of uses for this herb in traditional Chinese and Korean medicine.
There are reported medicinal uses for Mistletoe in European and Asian medicine for breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and HIV immune system building. Instructions for use found elsewhere on the net are supported by tradition, but there is minimal or no scientific evidence.
POISONOUS PLANT WARNING: DO NOT INGEST MISTLETOE! While it is rare for an adult to die from mistletoe ingestion, great care should be taken around small children and pets because they are smaller than adult humans and so can die from poisoning more easily. Dogs and children especially like to eat the pretty poisonous berries, but leaves can be poisonous if ingested too. American Mistletoe is more poisonous than European Mistletoe. As always, you should not begin any new medical treatment without first discussing it with your personal physician.