In ancient times, Frigga, Nordic goddess of beauty, gave birth to her son, Baldur at the end of winter solstice. Frigga’s talent was that she could divine the fates of men and gods. One day Frigga discovered her son was going to die young. Frantic, she made everyone and everything promise that they would not harm Baldur.
The gods sought amusement by hurling rocks at Baldur, but he was always unharmed. Now Loki, the mischievous god, was jealous. “Why should Baldur be so fortunate? Surely something can hurt him.” Determined to find out, Loki disguised himself as a woman and went to see Frigga. “I worry for your son. The gods throw rocks at him” said Loki. Frigga waved her hand. “I fear nothing, for I have made everyone and everything swear they will never hurt Baldur.” “Everyone? Everything? How?” Loki asked. She smiled. “I travelled everywhere, and everyone and everything promised, except for one plant far away.”
Loki went and found this plant; mistletoe, growing upon a tree. He returned with a branch and cast it at Baldur. The instant it hit, he fell to the ground, dead. Frigga sat by her son and wept, her tears turned into the white berries that grow upon the mistletoe. When Frigga placed these berries upon Baldur’s breast, he came to life again. And so, Frigga praised the mistletoe as a symbol of love and of peace, and she promised that, forever afterward, whoever stood beneath this plant would be offered a kiss and forever protected
You can grow your own mistletoe. Simply take a berry and push it into a crevice in the bark of a good tree branch! The sticky mistletoe berries are loved by birds like mistle thrush who often wipe their bills on a tree to help remove sticky dregs, spreading the seed to new trees.
Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger
Help support our vital work and join us today!