"Christmas Trees for Sale: Dead or Alive" - Our Disrupted Mythology by Willi Paul, Mythologist, Planetshifter.com
"Christmas Trees for Sale: Dead or Alive" - Our Disrupted Mythology by Willi Paul, Mythologist, Planetshifter.com

O Christmas Tree (O Tannenbaum)
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!
Each bough doth hold its tiny light,
That makes each toy to sparkle bright.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure dost thou bring me!

" O Tannenbaum" is a fir tree and a - traditional folk song, it became associated with the traditional Christmas tree by the early 20th century and sung as a Christmas carol. The lyrics do not actually refer to Christmas, or describe a decorated Christmas tree. Instead, they refer to the fir's evergreen qualities as a symbol of constancy and faithfulness."

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A ritual is a semi-regular gathering of family or community members that share a Nature-based experience, value or dream often associated with local roles and traditions.

The Christmas Tree Ritual Then: Connecting with Nature's Cycles

Dating back centuries before Christ, cultures brought evergreen trees, plants, and leaves into their homes upon the arrival of the winter solstice, which occurs in the northern hemisphere between December 21st and 22nd. Although the specific practices were different in each country and culture, the symbolization was generally the same: to celebrate the return of life at the beginning of winter's decline.

In the mid 1500's, Germans began using evergreen trees as a symbol of hope for the coming of spring. This practice is likely to have gradually evolved from pagan rituals of past, and merged with the celebration of Christmas leading to the tree's Christian beginnings.

Bethlehem, PA appears to have had the first decorated Christmas tree in 1747 at the German Moravian Church settlement, however it was made by putting evergreen branches on a wooden pyramid!

The Christmas Tree Ritual Today: The carnival tent in a make-shift market square -

The modern ritual has four parts: I. Growing the trees for Christmas sales; II. Selling the trees; 3. Decorating the tree for the home, and IV. tree disposal.

I. Growing the trees for X-Mas sales

Tree farming is the process of planting a large number of saplings and waiting for them to grow into trees. These trees are then harvested for wood and more saplings, which can be used to grow another generation of trees. This can be repeated indefinitely, yielding a regular supply of logs without the hassle of covering large areas of terrain. A secondary benefit of tree farming is that it allows conservation of the surrounding environment. The use of bone meal can speed the process, or you can just plant your saplings and go do something else while they grow.

II. Selling the tree -

We had the large carnival tent at El Camino @ Trousdale Drive under casual surveillance for a several weeks before parking next to the christmas tree sales lot. Not a bad choice for a location - the hospital and a mall are across the street. There were about 75 trees on display, all on gallows-like stands of two-bys and steel straps. A worker was releasing the travel netting (see picture #1) or binding that helps to compress and ship the trees without damage; another guy was spraying 6 footers with white paint. A cheesy coating for the indoor snowless. I took pictures then left.

After years of opting for live trees at Christmas, we fell for another best friend: a robust, deep-green Norfolk Pine, at Orchard.

III. Decorating the tree for the home (a menu) -

* Select a tree at an urban tree lot or cut a tree down in Nature and drag it to the car and tie it to the top
Or put a living tree carefully in your car for the trip home

* Insert the cut tree into a stand and water or water the living tree in its container then pile presents under the tree

* Lights on the tree, ornaments old and new, with meaning and without, hang on the tree; a star or a plastic angel on top

* The needles fall and the tree is a mess in January
Or the living tree is placed outside, to rejoin Nature
The cut tree gets undecorated and put out on the curb for pick-up

IV. Christmas Tree Disposal -

2015/2016 Holiday Tree Recycling Guide -

- Rules and Regs -

• Flocked trees cannot be composted at all facilities.

• Do not bag your tree. If you do, it will not be recycled.

• Place trees at the curbside on your regular yard waste or compost service day.

• Remove stands, lights, tinsel, ornaments and other decorations.

• Cut them into shorter lengths if they are larger than the lengths specified below in the how to prepare column.

• Multi-family residents must call Customer Service to arrange a location on site for tree pick up.

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What does a Christmas Tree symbolize today?

What the does the tree symbolize? A winter time; a holiday focus; good will; sharing; getting; over-eating.

Ask yourself, are the lights - not the tree - the real focus of our gaze? Bling bling. In your living room, Nature succumbs to the LED blinking bulb massacre, that white flocking, the coating, and the extra charges.

Is the tree protecting the presents underneath? Like a bear cuddling its young? Or keeping them warm like eggs of a sitting penguin? Neither?

What does the tree size symbolize? How about its girth and height? Any treemen out there?

Then there is the fire in the fireplace. More competing symbols. Yet another: those over-stuffed red socks?

Two Christmas Tree Archetypes -

Here the power of opposites, an ageless Jungian idea and archetype fuel, is in play:

Tree is masculine (penetrating the ground) vs. -
Decoration is female (her sexy dress)

A second dominant archetype source and opposite is the source of the tree:

The living tree, to be returned to the wild vs.
The cut tree, Dragging the kill. Killing the sacred.

Consuming Christmas Trees: A Disrupted Mythology -

"I've never seen the term "disruptive mythology" before (neither has google), but I'd say each generation's or age's mythology could call out the hypocrisies of the previous'. Depending on how attached or entrenched the previous mythology is, this could be seen as disruptive. To give a more interesting answer, the etymology of the word 'disruptive' comes from rupture, or rip. Meaning to break apart. I think any good myth should break down some of the core ideas and challenge them. - A good proto-symbol for this would be: if a myth is to be remembered, it must first be dismembered or dismember us while in it. Then later it should re-member and stitch us back together in a meaningful way." - Richard Schwab, email to WP, 2016

The trophy symbolism of the modern Christmas Tree and ritual in the larger X-Mas myth has indeed desensitized and dismembered our values surrounding Nature. We are dulled by blind faith rituals, dumb pet tricks and goofy Trump stares.

"Slashed Open" - What happens to the cut tree when the season passes? Cut trees will dry-out and become a sever fire hazard. That's bad alchemy. Is the cutting of trees ethical? Sustainable? Loving? The cut tree, grown for 5 years, is then dried out after 3 weeks of fun and then burned, abandoned curb-side or chipped to bits.

"Dismembered" and illogical - killing trees because your father did it and because your neighbor is doing it. Hey, Joe - "It's on Facebook."

Planting and harvesting trees in bad soil, in neat rows, like in a killing field; a commoditized cemetery to come. "Killing trees - and our souls - in a ritual slaughter."

I call for healing: to return to the fir's evergreen qualities as a symbol of constancy and faithfulness. To end the holiday of forced giving, the green carcasses, and the meshed body bags on our annual sale.

Some ideas on creating a new Christmas Tree ritual -

1. Raise a lot more food instead of trees in 4 - 5 years.

2. Trim your own local branches and bows, and place the creation on a wooden frame (as mentioned above).

3. Make wreaths (and jobs) - using green materials and for an "alt-spirit" for your dwelling

4. Celebrate in community settings (parks) to maximize resources and minimize cutting trees

5. Create new stories and myths by learning from other rituals and festivals from global cultures.

6. See: Lake County Gifting a Tree Project -

Buy a live, potted Christmas tree at one of 10 participating nurseries in Sonoma, Lake or Mendocino counties. Return it to the nursery after you're done. Volunteers will then pick them up and distribute them to homeowners whose land was blackened by the fires. Residents who would like the trees should sign up by emailing the organizers or messaging them through the Lake County Gifting a Tree Project page on Facebook. Trees will be picked up from nurseries in January and made available in mid-February for pick-up by their new owners.

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Also, please review: "Nature is not a Ritual" - Online Roundtable Topic by Willi Paul, CommunityAlchemy.com