The heART of Ritual


Traditional Plants of the Winter Solstice

History shows that the seasonal botanicals gathered were those thriving in the landscape around us. For us here in Europe, symbolic Yuletide and Solstice botanicals used for decorations include:

• Evergreens (spruce, arborvitae, Christmas fern and wintergreen) as symbols of immortality since they were among the only botanicals to stay green when all others lost their leaves. • Yews represented the death of the old year and were a connection between this world and the next. • Oak trees were revered for being long-lived. Even though they were not evergreen, they were symbols of eternal life and considered a source of protection, strength, and endurance. • Rosemary, an evergreen shrub in warm climates, was called the herb of the sun. • Bay, an evergreen herb used in holiday garlands and comforting teas. Bay laurel also signifies achievement and celebration. • Birch trees symbolized new beginnings. • Mistletoe stood for peace, happiness and kissy kissy business. •Holly was used for magical protection and good luck. • Ivy symbolized fidelity, faithfulness, and healing and was made into wreaths and garlands to decorate during the winter. • Pine symbolized peace, healing, and joy. Artist ~ Carlton Alfred Smith (1853-1946)