Read Pagan Christmas: The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide by Christian Rätsch Claudia Müller-Ebeling Online


An examination of the sacred botany and the pagan origins and rituals of Christmas • Analyzes the symbolism of the many plants associated with Christmas • Reveals the shamanic rituals that are at the heart of the Christmas celebration The day on which many commemorate the birth of Christ has its origins in pagan rituals that center on tree worship, agriculture, magic, andAn examination of the sacred botany and the pagan origins and rituals of Christmas • Analyzes the symbolism of the many plants associated with Christmas • Reveals the shamanic rituals that are at the heart of the Christmas celebration 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. But Christmas is no ordinary folk observance. It is an evolving feast that over the centuries has absorbed elements from cultures all over the world--practices that give plants and plant spirits pride of place. In fact, the symbolic use of plants at Christmas effectively transforms the modern-day living room into a place of shamanic ritual. Christian Rätsch and Claudia Müller-Ebeling 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. The fir tree was originally revered as the sacred World Tree in northern Europe. When the church was unable to drive the tree cult out of people’s consciousness, it incorporated the fir tree by dedicating it to the Christ child. Father Christmas in his red-and-white suit, who flies through the sky in a sleigh drawn by reindeer, has his mythological roots in the shamanic reindeer-herding tribes of arctic Europe and Siberia. These northern shamans used the hallucinogenic fly agaric mushroom, which is red and white, to make their soul flights to the other world. Apples, which figure heavily in Christmas baking, are symbols of the sun god Apollo, so they find a natural place at winter solstice celebrations of the return of the sun. In fact, the authors contend that the emphasis of Christmas on green plants and the promise of the return of life in the dead of winter is just an adaptation of the pagan winter solstice celebration....

Title : Pagan Christmas: The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781594770920
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

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

  • Spuddie
    2019-04-29 03:01

    This book looks back at history and explains the origins of some of our modern-day Christmas traditions: the Christmas tree, the colors red and white, various common decorations, St. Nicholas (and his cousins Father Christmas and Sinterklaas among others) and various festivals held over the centuries around the world that coincide with Christmas. The idea that Santa's reindeer fly because they're high on magic mushrooms made me giggle a bit, I must admit! There was a lot of new information in here that I hadn't come across before--probably because the authors are German and a lot of these traditions were things I wasn't familiar with--but unfortunately the book was not very well organized, got repetitive at times (possibly because there were two authors? I don't know...) and was not easy to navigate. I enjoyed reading about some of these things--including the bits about "Baccy Claus: the smoking Christmas man" with various 'baccy recipes! LOL This isn't a book I want to make room for as a permanent reference, however, as it just isn't very user friendly, however much interesting stuff it might contain.

  • Matthew W
    2019-05-16 04:08

    This book should have been called "Hippie Degenerate Aryan Christmas." I wish I had not judged a book by it's cover. The pictures featured in "Pagan Christmas" are the only redeeming value of this extremely disappointing book. It surely did not put me in the "Christmas spirit."

  • Kim Stroup
    2019-04-29 05:59

    It wasn't what I was expecting. I thought it would be about Pagan traditions/rituals, but it is about plants used by Pagans/Christians alike. If you are into botany, you would probably really like this book.

  • ----------
    2019-05-06 05:51

    It was an okay book.I was expecting more, but it's still pretty informative.It discusses plants and some rituals involving plants during the Christmas holidays that originate from paganism.Easy to read.

  • Lynn
    2019-04-26 23:56

    The authors, two PhD anthropologists with specialties in ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, and art history, have written a fascinating look into the origins of so many varied things we associate with Christmas today. Colors, plants, spices, sweets, shaped breads and cookies, chocolate, tree cult customs, traditional songs, and even the Church's calendar have direct links to pre-Christian and early Christian traditions and beliefs from all over Europe. Over hundreds of years, the Church successully melded worship of Christ with these pre-Christian practices to insure a complete transition to Christianity as the dominate faith. But this melding also made modern Christmas seasonal celebrations rich with all the colors, scents, sounds, and delicacies we so warmly associate with the season today. Yes, these origins have very little to do with the birth of Christ, but so what? Recognizing the ancient cultural significance of fir trees, miseltoe, nutmeg, red and green, and sleighs pulled by flying reindeer (from Siberian shamanic tradition) doesn't diminish anyone's celebration of Christ's birth. Rather, it connects us with thousands of years of our ancestors greeting midwinter with joy over the birth of the Sun/Son.

  • Rod
    2019-04-25 23:46

    A slightly mis-leading book: It's less about Christmas/Yuletide/Solstice traditions (though there is plenty about that) than it is about Christmas PLANTS. Not as silly as it sounds: Christmas trees, mistletoe, plums, holly berries; there are lots of plants associated with our rituals (Christian AND pagan) from that time of year. But it helps going into this book if you have a a feel (and an ear) for botany to begin with. There is a wealth of information here, but unfortunately the little snippets often don't seem to flow from one another in a sensible manner -- it all feels kind of randomly assembled. This is a scholarly essay, translated from German -- and as such it probably comes across as a bit more dry than it did in its original language. So not quite what I hoped it to be, but if you're looking for an introduction to aspects of Christmas from around the world, you could do worse.

  • Rebecca Cooper
    2019-04-20 05:07

    At first I thought this book would be about the pagan and folk traditions behind Christmas, historically and culturally. And those things are in there, but the real focus through which these traditions are viewed is through the plants associated with Christmas. This is a book on ethnobotany, but it is really quite fascinating. There are many color photos and illustrations throughout -- including quite a few whimsical portrayals of the fly agaric mushroom. I'm interested in herbalism, anthropology, symbolism, shamanism and entheogens, so I enjoyed it immensely. Might not be everyone's cup of tea, and it's definitely not for they lay neopagan who just wants a light book on Yule traditions.

  • Dave
    2019-05-10 21:59

    All these "origins of" books need to be taken with a grain of salt. I've already read a bunch of these and in my opinion the general ideas are basically on the right track but the details are highly questionable. There's just such an overwhelming amount of information to compare that nobody's really managed to put together a totally convincing timeline for how these beliefs have evolved. It's an interesting and important topic though so I definitely recommend looking into this stuff a little bit. Everyone should at least have some understanding of where their culture's traditions come from and how other cultures relate to their own. Just keep in mind that this isn't exactly an ultimate authority on the subject.

  • Justin
    2019-05-04 03:47

    While the primary focus of Pagan Christmas is on European holiday traditions and the plants associated with them, this book is nothing if not broad in scope. Food, ornamentation, incense, drinks, festivals, there's little related to Christmas (or its preceding practices), that isn't touched upon within these pages, in at least some capacity. While a little dense at times, Pagan Christmas is still a fascinating read which casts light on the origins of many holiday celebrations--as well as a look at how Christmas is celebrated in various parts of the world.

  • Margaret
    2019-05-08 04:02

    Whilst the premise was interesting, the book itself rapidly became quite boring. The subtitle is "The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals of Yuletide", however there was far too much of the first and not enough of the other two.I will take two things away from reading this book. 1) The image of Santa Claus as an anthropomorphic fly agaric mushroom! and 2)Eating chocolate Santas as a form of ritual cannibalism!I am NEVER going to be able to look at a shopping mall Santa in the same way again!

  • Jack
    2019-05-14 22:47

    This book is a little more choppy in its presentation, but it had some great recipe's in it for holiday incense and punch, as well as ideas for crafters. The author tried to please pagans and Christians alike, leaving everyone just a little dissatisfied, I'm thinking. Still, it is a book I plan to have in my library for future reference!

  • Wendy S.
    2019-05-04 22:09

    Now this is the type of book that I've long looked for that has information that I've long been fascinated with for Yule. Every plant and tree and the mythology, etymology, lore, traditions are beautifully written and illustrated. A must book if you're interested in unknown and unique pagan Yule lore.

  • Gwnhwyfer
    2019-05-05 04:45

    From the bibliography of Ellen Dugan's Green Witch's Herbal (2009).

  • Wondra Vanian
    2019-04-29 03:45

    Basically just a bunch of random facts and pictures presented in a way that doesn't make much of a point. Reads like a highschool report on the subject, rather than a professionally presented book.

  • June Narber
    2019-05-15 23:04

    Nothing can document the pre christian origins of this Luciferian holiday. To ignore the pagan everything of this holiday is to ignore simple truth.

  • LondonFog
    2019-05-02 03:57

    So far, so good.

  • Dan
    2019-05-11 02:50

    An interesting and enjoyable book. I spread its reading over three pre-holidays seasons. it now joins another two Xmas holiday history and traditions books on my reference shelves.

  • Beth
    2019-05-01 21:44

    An in-depth look at the pagan roots of Christmas traditions, such as the tree, mistletoe, etc. Very educational, sometimes a little dry, but pretty engrossing as well.