An herb of Jupiter and the sun. The bird associated with Ivy is mute swan. The gemstone is yellow serpentine. Ivy symbolizes healing, protection, co-operation and exorcism. It is the tree of resurrection and was believed to be a source of divine inspiration.
Throughout the ages, Ivy has been regarded as a symbol of fidelity. Ivy has a strong tradition at Christmas, along with holly. The custom of decorating houses and churches with ivy at Christmas was once forbidden by the Christian Church, on account of its pagan associations. Ivy provides protection against evil when growing on or near a house but should it fall off and die, misfortune was said to be on the way. Ivy was sometimes used in divination: an ivy leaf placed in water on New Year' s Eve that was still be fresh on Twelfth Night foretold that the year ahead would be favourable. Should ivy not grow upon a grave, the soul of the person buried there is said to be restless - and should it grown abundantly on the grave of a young woman, then this meant that she died of a broken heart. Women carried it for good luck and fertility.
It is said that wearing of ivy leaves can prevent intoxication - the plant's primary association is with wine and Bacchus, to whom the plant is dedicated.
Since it never shows signs of withering, the ivy is the plant which they say Bacchus gave to the boy Cissus as a gift; restless, provocative, tawny with its golden berries, verdant on the outside, it is pale elsewhere. From it are shaped garlands to crown the poets' temples -- poets become pale from their exertions, though their fame flourishes for a long time
Robinson tells us that a drachm of the flowers decocted in wine restrains dysentery, and that the yellow berries are good for those who spit blood and against the jaundice.
Culpepper says of the Ivy: 'It is an enemy to the nerves and sinews taken inwardly, but most excellent outwardly. According to the old English Leechbook of Bald; to relieve sunburn, smear the face with young ivy twigs boiled in butter. When used correctly, Ivy heals headaches, muscle cramps and assists in the art of prophecy.
In Scotland, ivy plaited with honeysuckle and rowan, was hung over the doorway of the barn and put under the milk pails on the night before May Day, to keep evil away from the milk, butter, and animals.
Ivy people are steadfast, constant and even-tempered. They are generally easy going and at times can even be whimsical. They do not take sides in disputes unless they feel a threat to their basic beliefs. They should not treat love attachments too lightly, for it is easy for them to move on, but if they love longer they will love better
The moping owl doth to the moon complain
Thomas Gray: 'Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard'
this week in the Artist's Way we are asked to send a postcard to 5 people - so, the first five who mention here that they would like a postcard from me, will receive a Blue Mountains postcard in a week or two!