Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

March/April 2016 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

The Golden Bough

This article was written on April 29, 2008 posted under Golden Bough

The Golden Bough is a reference to a mystical tree branch in Greco-Roman myth. In an ancient tale the hero Aeneas, on a quest, consults a prophetess who is one of the Sibyl at Cumae. The Sibyl instructs Aeneas to break a branch from a certain tree that is sacred to Juno Infernal (Proserpina). Aeneas is then take to the entrance to the Underworld, into which he descends. Aeneas approaches the Stygian lake but Charon refuses to ferry him across because he is not dead. A Sibyl accompanying Aeneas produces the Golden Bough, and he is then allowed entrance into the Underworld. This tale is similar to that of the Celtic hero Bran who is guided by a fairy woman, bearing the Silver Branch, through which he gains admittance into the Fairy Realm. The Golden Bough, like the Silver Branch, is a passport into another realm.

James Frazer wrote a book titled The Golden Bough, which dealt with the cult of Diana and Dianus at Lake Nemi, the sanctuary of the goddess Diana. In Frazer’s version, the tale of Aeneas had many similarities to the lore of Lake Nemi and to the mysterious figure known as Rex Nemorensis, the King of the Woods. In particular, Frazer was struck by the fact that a branch had to be broken from the sacred tree at Nemi in order to enter the grove and challenge the guardian. To Frazer, this was not unlike Aeneas confronting Charon.

In mystical tree symbolism, the fork in a branch represents the division of good and evil, light and dark. In the initiatory rises of Proserpina the branch was held up to her as an offering. The offering symbolized that the bearer understood her polarity, and that to enter darkness was to return to light. Only with such an understanding would Proserpina embrace one who entered her realm. This is also symbolized by the spiral dance, which embraces the same theme.

Copyright Theurgia/www.theurgia.us Wonders of the subterranean world are fascinating. Several times, I've had the opportunity to explore deep caves. In the silence and darkness of the earth, it is easier to forget the outer world. Our breathing becomes more perceptible. Simple sounds, such as drops falling regularly onto the floor, make our... read this article
The Future of Money Magic: What Do We Put Under the Candle When Our Currency Goes Digital?
Understanding the Moon Signs of Others
Express Yourself with an Herb Garden
Tarot As a Mirror
5 Areas Mindfulness Can Help Relieve Stress & Anxiety

Most recent posts:
May Day Grounding Spell
The lovely and very wise Sasha Graham has a new book in her 365 series: 365 Tarot Spells: Creating the Magic in Each Day. You can find out...

Why I'm Worried About the Revival of the Old Magick
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Aaron Leitch, author of several books, including Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, The Angelical...

TAME YOUR INNER CRITIC Wins 2016 IPPY Award and Silver Nautilus Award
Tame Your Inner Critic, by Della Temple, is the winner of both a 2016 Silver IPPY Award for Self-Help and the 2015 Silver Nautilus Award! The...




To Catch a Treat To Catch a Treat
By: Linda O. Johnston
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN
Decanting a Murder Decanting a Murder
By: Nadine Nettmann
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN
Llewellyn's Complete Book of Chakras Llewellyn's Complete Book of Chakras
Your Definitive Source of Energy Center Knowledge for Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Evolution

By: Cyndi Dale
Price: $39.99 US,  $45.95 CAN
The Final Tap The Final Tap
By: Amanda Flower
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN
Killer Cocktail Killer Cocktail
By: Tracy Kiely
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN