Pagan Christmas: The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide

The Plants Spirits and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide

Christian Rätsch, Claudia Müller-Ebeling

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The day on which many commemorate the birth of Christ has its origins in pagan rituals that center on tree worship, agriculture, magic, and social exchange. The authors show how the ancient meaning of the botanical elements of Christmas provides a unique view of the religion that existed in Europe before the introduction of Christianity.

Christian R䴳ch, Ph.D., is a world-renowned anthropologist and ethnopharmacologist who specializes in the shamanic uses of plants. Currently serving as the president of the German Society for Ethnomedicine, he is the author of "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants" and "Marijuana Medicine" and coauthor of "Plants of the Gods." Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Ph.D., is an art historian and anthropologist and coauthor, with Christian R䴳ch, of "Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas" and "Witchcraft Medicine." Both authors live in Hamburg, Germany.


Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 224
Erscheinungsdatum 01.11.2006
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-1-59477-092-0
Verlag Inner Traditions Bear and Company
Maße (L/B/H) 23.1/20.2/1.4 cm
Gewicht 706 g


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  • Preface

    The Ethnobotany of Christmas

    Traditions, Rituals, and Customs

    Christmas Songs of the Hard Winter

    A Pagan Feast

    Red and White: Colors of Christmas

    The Darkness of Midwinter

    Sacred Nights, Smudging Nights, and Incense

    Wotan and the Wild Hunt

    From the Shamanic World Tree to the Christmas Tree

    Christmas Trees

    Holy Trees

    St. Nicholas and His Little Helper, Ruprecht

    Baccy Claus: The Smoking Christmas Man

    Father Christmas: An Anthropomorphic Fly Agaric Mushroom?

    Christmas Tree Decorations

    The Golden Apples

    Miracle Blossoms for the Winter Solstice

    St. Barbara’s Boughs

    Christ Rose or Hellebore

    Christmas Roses

    Christmas Stars

    Exotic Christmas Flowers

    Christmas Greens

    The Old Ones of the Woods

    Mistletoe: Winter Woods Green

    Holly: Frau Holle’s Holy Tree

    Laurel: The Sun God’s Plant

    Ivy: Tendrils of the Maenads

    The Aromas of Christmas: A Shower of Pheromones

    Incense for the Holy Nights

    Incense Under the Christmas Tree

    Incense Recipes for the Smudging Nights

    Christmas Intoxications and Other Delights

    Yule Drinking

    Love on Christmas Eve?

    Chocolate Father Christmas: Ritual Christmas Cannibalism

    Mugwort, the Sacrificial Goose, and the Christmas Roast

    Rosemary and the Yule Boar

    Merry Christmas from Mother Coca, Coca-Cola, and Santa Claus

    Christmas Spices and Christmas Baking

    Anise and St. Andrew’s Night

    Saffron: Red Gold for Christmas

    Christmas Baking

    The Rebirth of the Sun

    Sun Gods: Apollo, Mithras, and Jesus

    Mystery Cults

    Kyphi: Incense for the Smudging Nights

    Saturn, the God of Incense

    The Erotic Bean Feast

    New Year’s Eve: The Wild Feast of Sylvester

    Protection and Fertility Rites

    Lucky Plants

    Happy New Year

    Thunder and Witch Flour

    From Incense to Fireworks

    Lucky Mushrooms and Chimney Sweeps

    New Year’s Day

    Magical, Shamanic Clover

    The Night of Befana, the Christmas Witch

    Holy Bushes that Protect Against Witches

    Paradise Plant

    Devil’s Dirt and Witches’ Smoke

    Three Kings Day: The End of the Christmas Season

    The Pagan Magi from the East

    Frankincense, the Secret of Old Arabia