The winter solstice has been celebrated in some form all around the world for centuries. Individual human cultures often mixed magic with religion in acknowledgement and celebration of this important astronomical event. Here we briefly look at five of these festivities from around the world, before discussing why they were so important to our ancestors and concluding with what science has to say today.
Trees have been a centre point of many world mythologies and religions throughout the ages. As a symbol of growth, death and rebirth, they are powerful reminders of the recurring cycles of life, with evergreen trees specifically representing fertility and immortality. The rituals and beliefs surrounding trees in general, and Christmas trees in particular, are rooted in something far more ancient than the birth of Christ two millennia ago.
Historically, distilling was an art, as well as an arcane type of magic, regulated by custom, law, and superstition. Certain individuals were trained in this magic of turning honey into mead, a powerful conjuring that mystified the ignorant. The process by which the juice of the grape, the toil of the bee, or the grain of the field, were turned into mind altering substances was not well understood…
Plants play a major part in the many customs surrounding the Christmas festivities. The Yule log for example, was essentially associated with Christmas Eve, for on the evening of that day it was traditional to transport the log to the fireplace, ignite it and allow it to burn for at least 12 hours if ill-luck was to be avoided.
This articles examines the myths and legends which surround the distillation, sales and consumption of gin.