Yew, European – Taxus baccata

Sacred to: The Erinyes (a yew branch was one of their attributes, used to drip purifying drops of water and as a flaming torch). Hecate

 

Myth 1: Germanic folk, have thought the yew tree important, as the World Tree Yggdrasil is often said to be a yew

 

Myth 2: The Great Chain of Being, which proposes a strict, hierarchical order for the beings (divine entities, animals, and plants) in the universe, designates the yew as the lowest form of tree among plants.

 

Other Notes: Yew has a long association with death in European cultures. Ancient Celts made funeral wreaths dedicated to Hecate with this herb, and in Roman religion, black bulls that were to be sacrificed to Hecate were wreathed in yew. Yew branches are laid upon the graves of the dead to remind us that death is a door. In some types of Christianity, yew is planted around graveyards not only to remind visitors of eternal life but also to keep the dead from wandering from their graves before Judgment Day

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