Women, Healing & Lore

witchcottage1In my neck of the woods, somewhere within the Blue Ridge Mountains, we have in our history those who made more than their fair mark, who we call, Granny Women, or what many now days call, Granny Witches. Also known as, Midwives, Folk Healers, and Elders.

These ladies were the roots of their communities especially during a time when Doctors were scarce or there were none at all. They were the Healers, the Midwives and perhaps the Peacekeepers of the mountains they lived and roamed. And they roamed within the Appalachian and Ozark Mountains.

If someone had a problem with a neighbor, they may go to her, the Elder of those Hills, to have it settled. If someone was ill, then the Granny Woman knew what root and herb would heal them. If a girl wanted to catch the eye of her future Bo, a Granny Woman could work up a trinket for her to carry that just might do the trick.

  • Carry a piece of Oak Tree, any piece, will attract good luck.
  • Sleep with the root of a Daisy flower beneath your pillow at night, and an ex-lover may find themselves drawn back to you.
  • Raspberry Leaves will stimulate the uterus and aid in labor but a pregnant woman should never use it until the time comes for it can also induce labor.
  • Dandelion Tea is good for cleaning up the liver and kidneys. Its a blood purifier.
  • Pack ground Clove on a bad tooth to help numb the pain.

In my opinion, these remarkable Women carried with them the secrets of the Old World, of their Pagan Ancestors. And they learned how to keep them safely hidden among the various superstitions that seem silly to most of us now.

Were these superstitions as ridiculous as fairy-tales or did truth live within them?

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

But why hide these things in silly little tales? Unfortunately, the Dark Ages were horrifically, deadly times for Women who held such knowledge. Midwives were hunted down and murdered as Witches.Witches turned into a frightening label of broomstick riding fat, old crones who hunkered down with the Devil while smearing their bodies in unbaptized, baby fat.

The early Church waged a war on any Woman having Knowledge to Heal that was originally passed down from Generation to Generation, from Goddess to Priestess, from Ancient World to Dark Age.  What these Women knew, was not written down in books. It was taught from woman to woman. Maybe to help the next generation to remember them, they cloaked the truth in some catchy little rhyme or fabricated superstition.

Either way, because of an ongoing war to silence and stop them, my generation may lose what these Women knew forever.

And what a shame because these Women helped their people survive harsh winters and unforgiving summers of a brutal new land that had yet to be forged into their very own vision of a new life. Without them, many would have died from infection, child birth, or who knows what else.

That is, until the 19th Century, when Congress passed laws that would forbid these women from practicing Medicine any further. And so the war set upon them during the Dark Ages would rear it’s ugly head once again, in the United States.

In honor of those who were of my bloodline, and those who were of yours, I hope to write a Monthly (with extras) Column dedicated to the knowledge of these Women. I hope to include their Superstitions, link Healing Methods to them, and whatever other wonders I can dig up. I may dig something up from as far back as the Ancient World, (hence the part of the titled called, Women), or it may be something from the Mountains I call home.


As of now, I haven’t coined a phrase that I think is suitable. I know many would call them Granny Witches, but because of the ugliness set upon that word during the Dark Ages, I don’t think my Ancestors would have liked the term all that much. I’d like to call them Granny Women but were all of these women truly that old? Their teachings and instructions from their chosen Elders started far too early for that. And yet so many Pagan Traditions and Labels can be linked to them now– Kitchen Witches, Green Witches, Herbalists and a countless many other titles falling under the vast Pagan Umbrella.

So for now, I’ll just use a mix of these terms up and hope you follow the Column and that I can do it justice.

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