Tales from the Northern Forests
O' Christmas Tree
O Christmas Tree is an old traditional German Carol. It was also from Germany that the tradition of bringing an evergreen coniferous tree inside and decorating it with candy, baubles, bells, tinsel and garlands and Christmas lights spread in the 18th century. But the custom was already by then centuries old and older.
In numerous ancient cultures trees were considered to be symbols of power, wisdom, fertility and even of life itself. In the Western world the best-known trees are probably those mentioned in the Bible; the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life.
In India the Asvattha Tree is rooted in the highest heaven and descends through the spaces bearing all existing worlds on its branches.
But it is as Elsa-Brita Titchenell in her book 'The masks of Odin' says:
" The concept of a tree branching into different worlds is a universal one. Interestingly enough, we still continue a tradition of adorning a tree with multicoloured globes representing the many varieties of worlds pendent from the branches of the World Tree although the meaning has long been lost." i
The pagans would after the beginning of the New Year take the chopped decorated Christmas tree down and burn the Yule log in remembrance of the past year. They would rejoice in song and dance for the goals that have been completed and in jubilation for the coming of the spring and life. ii
For more on the meaning of the Christmas Tree visitThe Castle
of our hero and white knight Braveheart
- Elsa-Brita Titchenell, The Masks of Odin, Wisdom of the Ancient Norse, California, 1985, Chapter 2, ISBN 1-55700-137-5.
- Wikipedia, Christmas Trees; Scott Cunningham, Spirit of the Witch, 1998.
© Brigitte Franssen 2008