Category Archives: Column: Women, Healing & Lore

Remedies, Magic or Warnings…traditions that can be linked to times far beyond the Middle Ages, that was the knowledge of these Granny Women.

Women, Healing & Lore: Herbal Properties

 

I think we are all trying to go more green these days. If not for the environment, if not to go easier on our septic systems and land, then without a doubt, just  a chance to save a buck.

Not sure about the rest of you but I am a Self-Admitted – Cleaning – Product- Junkie. The big, fat amount of “Money Due” added to the end of my grocery bill each week, though, has broken me of that.  Pinching pennies where we can so we can save up to buy more land has made me more aware of what I can make and what I better not mess with. Plus, not sure if anyone else has noticed but while the price of products have gone up, their cleaning potential and once-alluring-power has went down. Way down. Not sure if Companies are diluting them or reworking recipes to cut costs, but either way, it sure has ruined what those products used to be able to do.

Below, you will find a list of Herbs — most are easy to find– and their beneficial properties. Some of these are real easy to come by. Some are special order but can be found online, or will take a trip to a Health Store or Herbal Shop. Some of you may grow them.

Use them to clean or work them into a tonic for healing.

HERB

PROPERTIES

Bay

Antibacterial

Bergamot

Antibiotic

Camphor

Antibacterial

Cardamom

Antibacterial

Chamomile

Antibiotic, Antibacterial

Cinnamon

Antiviral

Citronella

Antibacterial

Clove

Antibiotic, Antiviral

Cypress

Antibacterial

Eucalyptus

Antibiotic, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral

Ginger

Antibacterial

Hyssop

Antifungal, Antibacterial

Juniper

Antifungal, Antibacterial

Lavender

Antibiotic, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral

Lemon

Antibiotic, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral

Lemongrass

Antibacterial

Lemon Verbena

Antibacterial

Lime

Antibiotic, Antibacterial

Marjoram

Antibacterial

Myrtle

Antibiotic, Antifungal

Nutmeg

Antibiotic

Orange

Antibacterial

Oregano

Antibiotic, Antiviral

Patchouli

Antibiotic, Antifungal

Pine

Antibiotic, Antibacterial

Rosemary

Antibacterial

Sage

Antifungal, Antibacterial

Sandalwood

Antifungal, Antiviral, Antibacterial

Savory

Antifungal

Spearmint

Antibacterial

Tea Tree

Antibiotic, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral

Thyme

Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral

Vervain

Antibacterial

Wintergreen

Antibacterial, be careful when handling

Sources: The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegal-Maier

August 1st Lammas, Lughnassadh Sabbath Info, Recipes & Ritual

Those of the Ancient World and Present Day Pagans share an event known as, Lammas, or, Lughnassadh. It is a Sabbath on August 1st, when God enters the Earth, sacrificing his body to become the Grain or Corn. Please note, while I may use “Grain” below, it may also be interpreted as “Corn” for both were very important – then and now.

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It is the first Harvest when the God of the Sun marries the Goddess of the Earth, relinquishing his former existence and essence so that he may rule the Underworld as Lord of Shadow.

Mabon, (Autumn Equinox) will be your second harvest and Samhain, the third. All good things come in threes.

como-fazer-o-ritual-de-lammas

This belief has survived throughout the Ages from one Culture and Religion to the next. Some, who blend Christianity with Paganism or recognizes the link from one to the other, may think of Christ, when he died upon the cross, giving up his flesh to become something more spiritual, passing from one life to his next. Christ was said to give his blood to wash away sin while the Pagan God gave his to offer life after death and to the grain, blessing a life-giving Harvest.

The grain is represented by the God and vise versa.  It represents the cycle of life – a reflection of us all.

The season has begun it’s coming to an end, as life eventually comes to an end. But while the grain dies in the field, is it lost to us forever?

No. The grain relinquishes it’s seed and when joined with that of Earth, holds a promise of rebirth—renewed life.

As the God dies and joins with the earth, entering her for their sacred marriage, he will one day be reborn from Mother Earth, anew.

So is the same for us all.

Our Ancestors used bread to commemorate this holiday. Present day Pagans, whether they are Practitioners of Rituals or not, may also use bread.

If you are one to use Rituals, I have one listed below. If you are not one for Rituals but want to do something to mark the occasion, then my suggestions is to either make or buy a bread that is made up of grains, cracked wheat – the healthier stuff. You can also use corn, corn bread, etc.

corn

If white is all you have, I am sure your Deity will be forgiving, but if at all possible, a more natural food would be best.

Incorporate it in a family meal or a supper of one. Simply bow your head asking that the God, Goddess (insert your deity) bless the bread and grain.

This is a time to say thanks for all the blessings in your life and for all the blessings to come.

It is a time to enjoy the fruits of your labors or a time to see your efforts pay off and come to form.

Rituals & Recipes

Dancing is often seen and done in the old world and new. Twirling, spinning, dancing around a fire represents the sun (fire) and the constant orbit we make around it. The sun passing through seasons, moving and changing.

A song or chant to do, whether round a fire or candle flame can be found in a book called, Grimoire for the Green Witch, by Ann Moura. This is just a shortened version…

Clap or ring a bell three times:

I celebrate the Day of the First Harvest, the Festival of Bread and the Marriage of the Sun and the Earth.

Then Sing or Chant while dancing in circles:

Dance, dance, wherever you may be;

When you dance with the Lord, He will dance with thee.

Turn, turn, a Circle then you form;

And the Lord of the Dance is the Lord of the Corn!

Raise arms, sing and chant:

Down, down, into the Earth He’ll go;

Giving life to the grain that in Spring we sow.

He rules the Shadowland till Yule;

When His Sun is reborn and He joins us anew!

My Own Personal Molasses Bread Recipe

 

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Ingredients

1 & 1/2 cups of boiling water

1 cup of rolled oats (If you can’t find “rolled oats” go ahead and use steel cut or rough cut oats. I wouldn’t do instant, though. They won’t hold their texture. )

1/3 cup vegetable shortening (If you have lard that you made, go for it.)

2 packs of active dry yeast (I used a fast yeast and it worked great for me.)

1/2 cup of warm water

1/2 cup of Molasses (The first time I did this, I used homemade Molasses. Was great. Second time, I used store bought. I wasn’t wild about it. You can, however, replace this with Raw Honey if you want.)

2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons of salt

Butter (Enough to brush the tops and the inside of your bread pans.)

6 & 1/2 cups of unbleached flour (I used 3 & 1/2 cups of whole wheat/ whole grain flour.)

Directions

+ Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8 & 1/2 inch loaf pans.

+ In a large bowl, mix the boiling water, oats and shortening. Set this to the side and allow the shortening to melt.

+ While that’s going on, in a small bowl, mix together your warn water and yeast.

+ Now, go back to the Shortening – Oats- Boiling Water mixture and add your Molasses or honey. Stir in the eggs and salt.

+ Add the yeast mixture and 3 cups of your flour. Beat the batter until its all well blended and smooth.

+ Start adding the rest of the flour, slowly. You may not need all of the left over flour.  So add it little by little. Once it pulls from the sides, throw it onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until the dough becomes elastic and springs back when you poke it. Knead for about 8 or so minutes.

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+ Form it into a ball and put it in a greased bowl. Place plastic wrap and a towel on top and let the dough rise for an hour.

+Once it has risen twice it’s size, throw it back onto a floured surface and punch it down. Divide it into three pieces. Lightly knead and shape each one and place it into the bread pans. Put a towel over them and let them rise again for 45 minutes. When they have risen to the tops of the pans, bake in the oven for about 40 minutes until golden brown. Slide from the pans, brush the tops with butter and then let cool.

Tips:

For easy slicing, wrap the cooled bread loaves with plastic wrap and toss into the fridge. Once the bread is chilled, you can easily slice with a jagged edged knife without the bread bending or squishing.

Golden Sweet Cornbread

Recipe By: bluegirl

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Women, Healing & Lore: Holly

Holly

Since today’s Ancient Calendar marks the season of the Holly King, (Read Here), I thought, what could be a better opportunity than right here and now to delve deeper into the folk medicine and lore of something we are all somewhat familiar with.

Holly actually has quite a few nicknames. For the Celtic Tree Month, we know it by Tinne, but it is also called, Christ’s Thorn, Bat’s Wings, Holm Chaste, Hulver Bush, Aquifolius and Hulm. It’s proper name would be quite the tongue twister, Ilex aquifolium or I. Opaca.

Here in the mountains, we know it as Holly and it’s something that stretches as far as landscaping to the table and wreaths inside our homes. And while today, most of us are oblivious to it’s true history or purpose, not so long ago, those dead and gone from these mountains, knew it all quite well.

While present day Pagans might plant Holly by the front door for protection, it wasn’t much different in times of old. Not only did people believe that Holy warded off evil spirits but they also believed it kept them safe from lightning, dark sorcery and poison.

People used to make something called, Holly Water. Was this the origins of “Holy Water”? They would make Holly Water by infusing water with Holly. This was used to protect babies, especially when they were first born, by sprinkling a few drops of the water upon their heads, much like baptism.

Holly was deemed so powerful, when thrown at wild animals, people believed it made them lie down and grow silent.

It was carried by people for luck – especially by men– and hung around the home at Yule for an extra dose of something special.

According to, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Herbs, there was even a special ritual surrounding Holly. It had to be done on a Friday after Midnight, but if someone gathered nine Holly Leaves (from a smooth plant) and wrapped them in a white cloth created nine knots, then they could sleep with it under their pillow– making their dreams come true.

Medically, the leaves, berries and bark is used. The berries are actually harmful to people. Animals, however, love the Holly Bush. Deer eat them during winter. Birds feast on the berries and for those who keep rabbits, a stick placed in a rabbit hut, will give them something to gnaw in order to restore their appetites. A tonic, if you will.

In olden times, Holly was used to treat smallpox, pleurisy, fevers, rheumatism, and catarrh. It’s leaves were used in tea and because of it’s tannins, it is known as a good blood purifier, diuretic and was also, highly revered as a diaphoetic (which made it good for fevers and such).

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Women, Healing & Lore : Daisy, the “Day Eye”


Daisy, belonging to the Aster Family, means “Day Eye”. . .


 

For the simple fact that when night falls softly over the world, so does a Daisy shut its eye. Even on shady days, a Daisy is known not to even peek.

In Latin, the Daisy’s name is Bellis Perennis, meaning “beautiful.” The reason I’m including the Daisy in our Medical Plant List, is that it grows everywhere– Europe, Asia, North America, etc–and is very easy to find.

The Daisy, often thought of as a weed much like Dandelion, will grow absolutely anywhere: paths, lawns, wooded areas, meadows. Accused of being a stubborn weed or not, doesn’t change the fact that for decades, this plant has been well admired and used from folklore to remedies.

Daisies contain something called saponines and tannins , both really good stuff. Saponines are famous for kick starting and stimulating the old metabolism, by way of the liver and gallbladder. While also being famous for helping the appetite and having a mild analgesic (pain killer), antispasmodic (relieving muscle spasms) effect, as well as aiding gastrointestinal (stomach and intestines) functioning. And Tannins, the miraculous good stuff which is also found in Green and Black teas, is considered a bitter astringent, toning tissues and helping to remove the body of toxins. (Note: This is why many age defying creams now have green tea in them.)

Now, while you won’t find doctors writing out prescriptions of Daisies, in Folk Medicine the plant was treasured. Not only for its pain killing effects, metabolism support, and or all of the wonders I listed above, but also for its ability to purify the blood, relief of gout, rheumatism, lung congestion, illumination of swellings, bruises, varicose veins, sprained muscles, healing of wounds, and many infections including that of flu and bronchitis.


 

The fresh flowers, leaves, and stems can all be dried, stored, and saved for Medical purposes.


 

Tea for Metabolism:

1 cup of boiling water for every teaspoon of dried flowers and leaves. Let it soak for ten minutes, then strain. Drink two to three times a day and remember, the tea can be mixed with other Metabolism supporting herbs as well.


Compresses:

Take a washcloth and soak it in Daisy tea (warm or cold–whichever is needed). Then, place the cloth over the desired area.


Tincture:

Soak 1 oz of the dried Daisy in 5 oz of Vodka for a total of two weeks, shaking it up every day. Strain and then store in a closed bottle. Take twenty-forty drops 3 times a day.

 


 And now to reflect back on all our ancestors who were Mountain Mommas and Granny Women.


  • Wear a Daisy and you will attract love.
  • Sleep with a daisy underneath your pillow and your lover will return to you.

 


 

Resources:

 The Complete Guide to Natural Healing

Wikipedia

Gardening the Daisy

Women, Healing & Lore: Black & Green Tea

While coffee can sponge up the vitamins in your body,  black and green tea have the opposite effect. Now if you don’t know what black and  green tea is—think Lipton Tea (something popular in the States) Lipton tea is made of black and green tea.

Black Tea . . .

is tea that has been fermented. It can be found in any tea isle of any grocery store. Some popular varieties are : Breakfast teas, Orange pekoe, Darjeeling, and so on.

Unlike coffee, the lower amounts of caffeine in black tea help blood flow in the brain (alertness) without putting pressure on the heart. The tea has something in it called Tannins–which is an astringent (a chemical causing retraction of body tissues and canals–Word Web)  found naturally in many herbs which have soothing anti-inflammatory effects on a person’s digestive tract.  Tannins also help the mind. Black tea also has small traces of Fluoride and is said to help tooth decay–so again, way better than coffee.

Black Tea can stop diarrhea—steep a cup of water for 15 minutes –this makes sure the tannins leave the tea and enter the cup–drink unsweetened.

Black Tea can lower cholesterol levels–drink 2 cups of black tea everyday for 3 weeks.

Green Tea comes from the same plant as Black tea only its not been fermented. And sometimes, certain types of Green tea is lightly roasted.

Green Tea . . .

has many of the same qualities as Black tea–the same tannins, prevention of tooth decay, lower blood pressure, detoxification, anti-inflammatory, improves concentration, invigorates the body, and lowers the rick of heart disease and some types of cancer.

To lesson the caffeine in Green tea–pour some water over the leaves before putting them in your cup. Strain the water off after 30 seconds.  Caffeine is the first to flood any cup of water–the longer the tea soaks, though, the more tannins enter the cup.

For those who are trying to quit drinking coffee, green tea seems to help  since it has a slight bitter taste.

Healing & Lore: The Wild Strawberry

https://thecrowinhen.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/e00c719e570f50bb1bb3a796fe370a8c.jpg?w=278&h=407 The Wild Strawberry is  apart of the “Rose” family. You should start seeing the berries around June. The seeds are actually the fruit. When you harvest the Wild Strawberry, you want to take the leaves, berries, and roots. When you dry these out, keep them out of humidity and dampness.

Leaves and Roots…

Tannins live in the leaves and roots. Tannins can be found in most vegetables and fruit. The leaves, when dried, are when Tannins pack a punch. By definition, Tannins are various complex phenolic substances of plant origin; used both in tanning and in medicine. The Tannin in leaves have astringent effects – as do most tannins elsewhere. It’s the astringent that aids in the antidiarrheal and anti-inflammatory super-powers of the leaves.

 


What’s in the Berries?

www.bluffviewnursery.orgThe berries have 60 milligrams of Vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit. Not to mention the Minerals, Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese, Calcium, Zinc and Fruit Acids. The leaves of Wild Strawberries also have:

  • Triterpene Alcohols (Anti-Inflammatory)
  • Flavonoids (Powerful Antioxidants)
  • Citral (Lemony Scent)
  • Essential Oils

 


 

What to do with it?

  • red-wonder-wild-strawberry-75-seeds-3.gifAmerican Indians used the root for jaundice, stomach ailments and and heavy bleeding during menstruation—again, much like Raspberry Leaves.
  • For sore throats, gargle 1/4 cup chopped leaves to 1/2 cup boiling water. Steep for 30 minutes.
  • For sunburn, apply crushed berries. Leave for 10-20 minutes.
  • For diarrhea, add 1 gram root to 1/2 cup cold water. Heat and steep for 30 minutes. Drink 2 cups daily, 1 before each meal.

 


 

Now, what sort of Mountain Lore or Folk Lore surrounds the strawberry?

  • It was known for two things: Love and Luck. Perhaps one of the reasons Strawberries are a must during a romantic interlude is because back in the day, if someone was in love with you or if you were in love with someone else, you would give or serve them strawberries.
  • If you wanted luck, stuff your pockets with the leaves.
  • And like Raspberry Leaves, pregnant women often carried a small packet of the Strawberry leaf to help ease pain.

 


 Magical Associations

Strawberries are Feminine in nature and belong to the planet, Venus. Their element is Water and they are linked to the Goddess Freya.


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Cinderella’s Pagan Origins

Cinderella by AliaChek.deviantart.com
Cinderella by AliaChek.deviantart.com

Once Upon a Time….

Actually, scratch that. While Cinderella was a tale spun long ago, it’s origins and true meaning grow even deeper.

In fact, did you know that the original story may have even been meant as Prophecy?

Cinderella was a story told by Pagans. Cinderella was “Ella” or, Hel. Hel, as in the daughter born of Mother Earth.

Also known as Helle, who’s fires of renewal would reduce one to “Cinders”.  Hence the name, Cinder -Ella.

The Nasty Stepmother was code for the “New” Church. The “Ugly Stepsisters” were really the powers behind the throne– the Aristocracy and Clergy supporting the New Church by way of Military and other means.

The tale went like this….

Cinderella’s mother, the Earth, gave her daughter a “Fairy Tree”, which would later become spun as a Fairy Godmother. The tree gave Cinderella Golden Apples– Apples being a VERY important part of Pagan lore— and various other gifts.  Beautiful garments, the slippers. You get the idea.

The Prince was actually symbolic for “Mankind”. With the gifts from the Fairy Tree, Cinderella was beautiful and like the story we know today, this enchanted beauty won the love of the Prince — the love of mankind.

Did this mean the New Church would lose it’s favor and the ways of the Goddess would find itself anew, would survive the powers attempting to crush her and remain beloved of the people? That’s my own personal speculation. Nothing written in stone.

Now, back to it….

Where did the glass slipper come into play? Well, that was actually a ritual in days of old, a sexual innuendo, if you will. The entire thing represented the Union. In certain cultures, working a phallic object into a woman’s shoe signified a sacred marriage.

Some theorize that the “glass” slipper was symbolic of the “Crystal” Cave. Men, or heroes,  would enter the underworld — this Cave– which again, had great meaning. In fact, Ill have to type up another article soon on, Cave– yep, that much meaning behind it.

There were many Prophecies in Medieval times which spoke of the rich and powerful being tossed off their high horses. Overthrown by the very people feeling the grunt of their blows.  Having the Great Mother reach beyond the Underworld, ridding them of these awful threats. Aiding them from the beyond. Having her own Daughter as a Champion– well, you can imagine the attractiveness of it all.

And Pagans learned long ago, in order to protect and hide their message, it was easier to create a fictional story– a deeply-seeded symbolic one– to hide it’s truth and camouflage it, if you will, within colorful imagery.

Do you think they knew it would survive such a long test of time or are we doomed to repeat ourselves — an old history bleeding into our present one. Are there lessons to be learned that apply to us today? How far would this prophecy go?

Just something to think about.

Sources:

  • The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths & Secrets by Barbara G. Walker
  • Jung & von Franz
  • G.M. Graves
  • Tuchman