Ivy, though actually a vine, has a very popular and extensive history in tree lore.  It’s the tree for the month of October and the vine of the Greek god Dionysus, who was known to wear a crown of ivy leaves.   It is said that at a celebration honoring Dionysus, a young maiden, Cissos, who overdid the dancing and celebrating, died of exhaustion, so Dionysus turned her into an ivy plant.

It is also the plant of the Roman god, Saturn, and was used as decoration in Saturnalia festivals. 

In ancient Egyptian folklore it was said that to become a priestess of the goddess Nepthys, the woman must be born after the autumnal equinox (or the month of the Ivy – October) when the power of Nepthys was growing in power.

To place an ivy leaf under your pillow will cause you to dream of your lover, however if you dream of an ivy plant it may foretell of a breakup soon to come.  Known to embody the attributes of fertility, love and fidelity, Ivy was frequently used in spells for love magic (though it should definately NOT be ingested).

In the ogam, (the Celtic alphabet that is the magical equivalent of the runes), the Ivy is known as Gort, and represents ruthlessness and achievement.

A tenacious plant by nature (it is actually a parasite), the Ivy symbolizes adaptability and a powerful survival instinct.  When you look at the Ivy plant you can even see in its leaves the face of a wolf (also known for its adaptability and powerful survival instincts).

Though the Ivy can sometimes be a persistent plant that ventures into places in our yard where it may be uninvited, it is a reminder of the power we all have to overcome obstacles and break down barriers of our own.


3 Responses to Folklore of the Ivy Plant

  1. Kaylene Ivy Washbourne says:

    This article was so awesome! Not only was I named Ivy as both my grand-mothers (from Mum’s side and my Dad’s side of the family) where firsts name Ivy but I was born in the month of October. So thank you for your folklore information this so interesting for me to read. WOW!

  2. Deanna says:

    Aw Kaylene Ivy! I’m so glad you liked the tale. 🙂

  3. charlottefranks says:

    Hi Deanna

    I really enjoyed reading about the follklore of ivy. I am a botanist and am researching folklore on our common plants in the uk with the aim of producing a book on the link between folklore and modern medicine. i was a little bit disappointed to read in your writing that Ivy is a parasite. Ivy is a tenacious plant but definitely not parasitic. it produces its own energy, nutrients and draws up its own water supply from its roots in the ground. An ivy plant will only be a problem to a tree if it starts to envelop the canopy and thus deny the tree its ability to photosynthesise. Please dont take this the wrong way, i understand that in the US ivy is rather a problem plant but in the UK its an extremely important plant giving late nectar sources to our invertebrates and providing shelter for birds and bats. if a ivy plant does start to take over a tree this is usually an indication of a decline in tree health and not caused by the ivy. i only say this as i wouldnt want people to start ripping the ivy from their trees and denying wildlife a much needed habitat. best wishes charlotte

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *