Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tree of Life, The Golden Bough, Balder, and Mistletoe.

Tree of  Life by megan_n_smith_99
Tree of Life, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I did not feel very well this week and have not been especially chatty, I guess. But at least I did some painting and knitting. I love painting trees and feel especially inspired to do some in autumn - though this tree has not started to change colors yet. There are 2 things to look for: an owl and the golden bough.

The Golden Bough is a book on mythology original published in 1890 by Scottish anthropologist James Frazer. It's a very odd, but interesting, book. Kind of a bit maze-like. You can read it online at Project Gutenberg. The title is a reference to a specific myth, " Aeneas and the Sibyl present the golden bough to the gatekeeper of Hades in order to gain admission." (from Wikipedia.) Actually until I looked that up I was thinking the title was a reference to the mistletoe that killed the Norse god, Balder, which is another interesting story. Balder was so beloved by all of the gods that his mother Frigg, got all of the plants and animals and creatures on the earth to promise to never harm Balder. After that the other gods made sport of hurling items at Balder, because they would just bounce off and not harm him. But Frigg had missed one small plant - the mistletoe. Balder's trickster brother Loki hurled an arrow or spear made of mistletoe at Balder and Balder was killed. (In some versions Loki tricks someone else into throwing the mistletoe.)

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant - it actually grows in the boughs of other plants- and it can be gold in color, so I suppose that is where I got THAT idea. Or maybe Frazer even mentions that connection someplace in The Golden Bough.

I think that is just about enough thinking and research for a Saturday..

Tree of Life
8 x 10"
available on Etsy.

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