15 December 2014

That Pagan Pine

The Solstice Evergreen, Sheryl Ann Karas
Everyone knows the legend of the Christmas tree! St. Boniface prevented a group of Druids from sacrificing a young boy and in the process cut down their sacred oak with one slash of his axe. From the stump sprang a young fir tree, which, the saint explained, was the symbol of eternal life.

But there are many legends surrounding evergreens, and here Karas collects many of them, from Native American tales to Japanese, German stories to MesoAmerican, Russian foklore and Sicilian, showing that around the world, all mankind was fascinated by the trees which did not shed their leaves in winter. Each chapter discusses the evergreen in relation to different religions: the nature-based prayer of native tribes, the Wiccan, Greek mythology, to the sacred tree of Norse legend, Yggdrasil. The narrative is slightly plodding, but the included tales from different countries and tribal areas are unique. A desirable library withdrawal or sale purchase if you are curious about the various aspects of the evergreen that came together to form the Christmas tree.

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