A to Z CHALLENGE
Today's letter is.....Y
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THE SACRED YEW
Tree of life...tree of death...the Yew tree has been revered as both for centuries. Due to it's longevity, of over 600 years, it has been called the tree of life. Because of it's deadly poision, it has been called the tree of death.
Taxus baccata, the Yew, is an evergreen, that produces red berries (arils) that are sweet. However, the seeds, leaves, and all other parts of the tree are highly toxic. The Yew is a native of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and is also grown in North America. It is mostly a small to medium shrub, but can grow to great heights. It lends itself to being easy to trim as a hedge, and formed into topiary designs, and mazes.
The wood of the Yew, is valued as pliable enough to be shaped into bows, and strong enough to be used as a weapon, such as a spear. It has been used to make musical instruments, also.
In hot weather, the leaves emit gaseous toxins, said to cause hallucinations. Many religions, revere the Yew as sacred, and plant them around churchyards. Some say it's long life was suggestive of eternity. It is believed to be a potent protection against evil, a symbol of magic, and is used to summon the spirits of the dead. Mystical and magical, the Yew is found close to cemeteries, to help ward off evil spirits.
In the book "Lost Souls" by Poppy Z. Brite, the local club, where the band Lost Souls play, is named the "Sacred Yew". This is the book I write my fan fiction story about.
Whether you think of the Yew as the tree of life, or the tree of death, depends on your point of view. In either case, it is a very interesting tree to read about. If you'd like to read more, you can find it here... http://whitedragon.org.uk/articles/yew.htm
Thank you for reading! If you'd like to, visit my other blog for the letter Y...http://teleportingweena.wordpress.com
Peace, Love, & Writing