Archive for the ‘herbals’ Category

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Herbal Studies

February 8, 2007

 

I didn’t progress very far in my studies over the past week and change.  I stared at the stack of books.  I wondered what to do next.

 

It seems to be, as I previously mentioned, that I need to add some botany texts to my books.  I’m in the process of researching those texts to find something that will work well in tandem with the books I use.

 

I also decided that yes, I do need to keep a separate notebook with dangerous herbs and their antidotes.

 

Which means as I research and learn, I must take the tangent of antidotes.

 

What’s interesting is how the process is not a linear study, the way it would be if it was a university course.  It spirals, grows, and moves like the living plants I study.

 

I find that as interesting as the information on the individual plants.

 

Moon:  3rd quarter in Libra

Retrograde:  Saturn

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Herbal Studies

January 25, 2007

Adventures in Herbal Studies

I piled my various texts on herbs, and also the relevant encyclopedias, and dug in.

I quickly realized that I’ll have to add botany texts to the study pile – I need to know what these plants look like, and the line drawings from 1636 just aren’t cutting it for me.

In any case, since Culpepper’s herbal is still around after all these years, I decided to start with the first herb in his repertoire and work my way through.

It’s going to take a few years.

The first herb is Amara Dulcis.

This herb is also known as mortal, bittersweet, woody nightshade, felonwort. There’s an American Bittersweet, also known as wax work and false bittersweet, and a European Bittersweet that goes by the names above as well as violet bloom, scarlet berry, dulcamara, and bitter nightshade, and, according to Gerard (another ancient herbalist), Amarodulcis and Amarodulciia. He adds that Pliny called it Melortrum: Theophrastus and vitus sylvestris, but disagrees, saying the latter is what he considers “Ladies’ Seale” and not a member of the Nightshade family.

It’s masculine, under the astrological sign of Mercury and the element of Air.

Culpepper goes on and on about its curative, restorative, and magical powers. Scott Cunningham agrees with some of that, but points out that American bittersweet is poisonous. The Encyclopedia Britannica and Audobon’s Nature Encyclopedia agree.

Culpepper is eager to use it for preventing witchcraft, while Cunningham suggests putting some under the pillow to forget a past love.

According to the encyclopedia articles, there are 1400-3000 species in the Nightshade family (depending on which encyclopedia you read).

Here I thought I was starting in the “A’s” and I’m in Nightshade. Go figure.

What I didn’t know was that potato, tomato, eggplant, cayenne pepper, tobacco, and belladonna are all members of the Nightshade family.

My overall feeling and my personal decision for working with “Amara Dulcis” is:
Good for birds
Bad for people, horses, cows, sheep, etc, despite Culpepper’s recommendations
Maybe I’d rub it on a bruise, but I sure as heck wouldn’t ingest it!

And I’m realizing that part of learning about these herbs isn’t just ingesting information (pun intended), but figuring out where they fit into my overall work and life.

I’m tempted to keep a separate book of poisons and antidotes, but in this day and age of paranoia, it might be misconstrued as something nefarious when it’s true purpose is so I don’t have any poisonous plants where my animals can get at them.

Sources:

Audobon’s Nature Encyclopedia. Entry for “nightshade”.

Culpepper’s Complete Herbal by Nicholas Culpepper. NJ: Chartwell Books. 1985. H. (originally published in 1653).

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham. Minnesota: Llwellyn Publications. Second Edition: 2001. P.

Encyclopedia Britannica. Entries for both “bittersweet” and “nightshade”.

Gerard’s Herbal: John Gerard’s Historie of Plants edited by Maras Woodward. Middlesex, UK: Senate. 1998. P. (originally published in 1636).

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New moon, site, and study

January 18, 2007

Terrific news! My website, Cerridwen’s Cottage, is finally live. Of course, I forgot to put up a page with most of the writing details, but that will go up shortly. I’m excited about it.

Today is the New Moon, and the start of the herbal studies. I’ll talk about the studies on Thursdays here on Kemmyrk, and focus on The Celtic Oracle work on Mondays.

To begin my studies, I stacked my books, lit a candle, and asked for a blessing on the work:

Lady and Lord,
Nehelenia and Lugh,
Watch over me
And guide me
As I embark
Down this road
Of study and knowledge.
Keep me alert and aware,
Open and discerning,
Contemplative and explorative,
In the name of Gaia.

I’m looking forward to this adventure!

Moon: New in Capricorn
Retrograde: Saturn

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Herbal Studies and THE CELTIC ORACLE

January 15, 2007

Preparations for Herbal Studies

The ideal would be to sign up for a course in herbalism. However, due to the chaos in my life right now, that’s not an option.

So, starting when the moon turns, I will pull out all those herbals I’ve collected over the years and embark on a study course, a few days a week. That will give me the foundation, so that when I am able to enroll in formal training, I can progress more quickly.

However, to successfully learn what I need to learn, I need to brush up on my Latin. I only had one year of Latin in high school. I loved it, in spite of a rather flaky teacher. And, in the year I took both Latin and French, I got straight A’s in French. Additionally, it was right before I took my SATs and ACTs, and I landed in the top 90% in the former and the top 98% in the latter – thanks in a good part, to the Latin.

How I will juggle all this, I’m not quite sure yet. I have my Latin textbooks and will hunt down a good site or CD or something. Step-by-step, right?

The Celtic Oracle

Meditation has been a bust this weekend. I can’t seem to quiet my mind at all.

So I’ve only connected with the Wildman and the Ferryman cards. I connected deeply with the Ferryman card – but then, I’ve always felt drawn to the ferryman tending the souls across the River Styx. And Cerberus, the three-headed dog at the gate of the Underworld. I’m more likely to give him a cookie (okay, three cookies) than scream.

I will continue to work with the Oracle at night, but do try to study during the day.

Stay tuned to see how this all works out. I’m not setting up a rigid schedule. I have a feeling some herbs will take longer to learn than others.

I will also rely heavily on The Herbal Tarot to help.