Gather Ye Redbuds While Ye May – A Colorful Harbinger of Spring…and Edible, Too!

The Herb Society of America Blog

by Karen Cottingham

Eastern_Redbud_by Dan Keck via wikimediaHere in Texas, there’s a saying: “We have two seasons – summer and winter.” That’s not quite true; but if you’re not paying attention, spring can slip right past. And the last thing I want is to miss a single day of our glorious, but ephemeral, spring. 

The nights here are still cold – sometimes approaching freezing – but the robins have arrived, so I know springtime is near. It’s time to listen for a hushed prelude to seasonal change, time to look for intimations of life beginning to stir. Every few days, this calls for a visit to the two redbud trees in my Houston neighborhood to check the trunks and bare branches for any evidence of tiny pink flowers. Nothing to see for weeks on end; then suddenly, here they are – scattered crimson buds emerging straight from the furrowed bark, swelling with life, and…

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Show Me How to Live

secretsoftheserpent

Today people are always worried, frightened, full of anxiety and disillusioned.  This is causing us to get sick.  Our bodies eventually can’t take the stress and break down.  The last couple of years they have put our anxieties into hyper drive, but we have been a stressed out people for some time.  Why?   We have been given a life, but not shown how to live.   


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Bringing back the Hearth: Ancestral Fires for Protection, Connection, and Comfort

The Druid's Garden

Sacred tea over the fire Sacred tea over the fire

Fire is one of the most ancient tools that humans have and one of the things that separates our species from others on this beautiful planet.  Humans have an incredible ancestral connection to fire. Think about how a fire draws you in–when you see a campfire or fire in a hearth, you want to get close and stay warm. That is probably because we humans have been working with fire for somewhere between 1 million and 1.5 million years. 1.5 million years ago, our ancient ancestors would have been Homo Erectus; and so, as we evolved into Homo Sapiens, it is very likely that fire was already with us. For more information on fire and ancestral fires, I suggest checking out this post!

Because of this deep connection, if we move forward quite a bit in time, we can understand why as people built…

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Hawthorn Berry Brownie Cake w/ Hawthorn Berry Buttercream Frosting — Gather Victoria

What more appropriate treat could there be for an occasion of the heart like Valentines Day? After all, many herbalists consider hawthorn berries the ultimate heart tonic and every kitchen witch knows that bewitching hawthorn opens the heart to love.  Heart-warming.& heart-strengthening, hawthorn heals, protects and uplifts heavy hearts, supporting us physically, emotionally and spiritually. …

Hawthorn Berry Brownie Cake w/ Hawthorn Berry Buttercream Frosting — Gather Victoria

Nature Connection, Wildcrafting, and the Wheel of the Year

The Druid's Garden

One interpretation of the wheel in terms of our own activity One interpretation of the wheel in terms of our own activity

The Wheel of the Year is obviously a powerful symbol, both in nature spiritual practices like druidry as well as more general neopagan practices.  It resonates with something that is ancestral and connected–living by the cycles and honoring the seasons. A host of different traditions use some form of a yearly wheel, and when you join many traditions, the wheel of the year is a critical part of the practice. But what do these holidays mean? How do they actually connect to our lives?  How do they connect to our local ecosystems, and how do the wheel holidays help us connect with nature?  I consider these questions and argue for a wildcrafted wheel of the year rooted in your own observation, connection, and daily life in connection with nature.

As a druid for the last 16 years, I feel…

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Vulcan Salute

secretsoftheserpent

The Vulcan salute was a hand gesture made by the character Spock in Star Trek.  It is a hand gesture where you put the pinky and ring finger together while holding the index and middle finger together making a V with the hand.   Spock would say “Live long and prosper” while making the symbol. What is this symbol?  Where does it come from?  You are about to find out.  


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