Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Golden Bough

In Classic Myth, the branch which a newly elected priest of Diana must pluck from a Tree in the grove sacred to her; then – as King of the Wood – he must slay his predecessor. Aeneas (see Virgil) breaks a branch from the same tree before his descent into the Underworld. What is going on, according to The Golden Bough (1890) by Sir James Frazer, is the ritual Sacrifice of the king (see Christian Fantasy) by his successor so that the Land may be healed (see Healing). [JC]

see also: Christian Fantasy; Goddess; Seasons; Trees.

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.