Ivy is carried by women for luck in general, and by brides in particular, especially as it symbolizes fidelity and love. Magically paired with holly, it is often seen in Yuletide decorations.

It is a protection herb, said to ward off disasters, negativity and curses.

According to the Greeks, Bacchus had a son named Kissos, who, while playing with his father, died suddenly. Heartbroken, Bacchus tried to revive him to no avail. Taking pity on the unhappy father and dead child, Gaia, the goddess of Earth, changed the boy into ivy, which in Greek is named Kissos, after the child. Bacchus thereafter held sacred the ivy plant, and is most often depicted wearing a crown of its green leaves in Greek art.

When Tristan was slain, Iseult was so brokenhearted that she died as well. The king, who was jealous of Tristan’s hold on the love of Iseult, whom the king fancied, ordered their graves to be placed far apart. From each of the graves, however, an ivy vine grew, and, over time, they met and joined in a true love knot in the sanctuary where the graves lay. This tale was immortalized in Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde.

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