Monday, October 11, 2010

Celtic Tree Lore - Ivy Mythology and Folklore

t was the ivy leaves which formed the poet’s crown so of course it was important to the ancients. Ivy was dedicated to the Greek God Dionysus, the god of intoxication. He is often seen with a wreath of Ivy on his head and holding a thyrsus or wand which is entwined with ivy and vine leaves.

Ivy leaves were thought to prevent intoxication and the binding of the brow with ivy was seen as a counterbalance to the vine. It was thought that the effects of wine could be removed by a handful of ivy leaves which have been gently bruised and boiled in wine and drank.

Ivy is also associated with the Egyptian god Osiris, god of the sun, agriculture and health. In legend Osiris had an evil brother, Seth who was the god of the desert. Seth was jealous of his brother because he ruled the fertile lands while he had to rule the barren desert land. He convinced Osiris to get into a large chest or sarcophagus which he then closed and threw into the Nile River. The coffin floated down the river and into the Mediterranean Sea. Yet the coffin was carried to the port of Byblos where his wife Isis recovered his body. Isis was overjoyed for it was a general belief that there could be no life after death without a physical body.

Once again Seth retaliated and re-seized the coffin and cut the corpse of Osiris up into 14 pieces and scattered them throughout Egypt. Once again, Isis searched for her husband, finding each piece except for his genitals which were said to have been devoured by fishes. As a reborn god, Osiris didn’t return to earth but instead stayed in the Underworld. In this story we see the association with ivy as a plant of life, death, and re-newal and also equated with fertility.


rox said...

Oh I was so thinking to write you last night about ivy !
I so always wish we could grow ivy here up walls like in the pics of England .Even in ON. iv7y grows on buildings !
This summers end I recued a german ivy from the dumpster . It grew splendidly for the next two months . I brought it in and now the leaves are turning yellow !! also falling off . thjere does appear to be new growth on the top of the plant .
does german ivy loose its leaves like other deciduous trees ? I know other ivy apparently does not .
I moved its location now into a bit more of a lit area perhaps I had it in to much shade ?
If You have any tips pon keeping this beautifulo lady alive please let me know ☺
thanks so much