Native American Herbs of the Northeast

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

A look to the past reveals some of the most important plants used by Eastern woodland tribes – and an inestimable connection to nature.

My adventure into the historical uses of many Native American plants began when Maine native Kerry Hardy, author of Notes on a Lost Flute: A Field Guide to the Wabanaki, presented a program for Western Maine’s Greater Lovell Land Trust, billed as “Native American Plant Medicine” last summer. So many plants and so many uses! I was intrigued to find out more about these plants and explore the wealth of medicinal knowledge from Eastern Woodlands tribes like the Mohawk, Wyandot {Huron}, and Iroquois. From Hardy’s work, as well as from the research of author Charlotte Erichsen-Brown, I enjoyed a glimpse into how these tribes looked to nature for healing – and how early pioneers benefited from their knowledge.

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The Essential Elderberry

Hardy’s book focuses on…

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Regional traditional folk symbolism of Lublin, Poland

Elder Mountain Dreaming @ gmail

Some of my ancestors are from Lublin, Poland and when I ran across this article (source at the bottom) of Traditional art of the rural community, I thought I would share. Its motifs, patterns and ornaments in folk tradition, folk dress, folk objects and talisman of Lublin shows many of the symbols that a lot of Slavic countries applied long ago and still today. ~Phoenix

Traditional folk art of Lublin had a different function than the art of the educated social classes. It predominantly served as a uniting and integrating factor. It forged identity, emphasized distinctive features, informed, offered a link to the past and memory. Crafted items were not only aesthetic, but functional.

Folk art is inextricably linked with the traditional character of culture – it emerged from the combination of “the head and the hand,” of imagination and creation. Skills and patterns were passed down from one generation to the next. However, items created…

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A Druid’s Guide to Connecting with Nature, Part I: A Framework

A Druid’s guide to connecting with Nature – Part I:  A Framework

The Druid's Garden

A lot of people find druidry because they want to “connect” with nature.  They want to attune to nature, feel part of it, gain knowledge and wisdom about it. But what does “connecting” to nature look like in practice?  Going out in the woods and feeling good?  Knowing the name of trees?  Walking with sacred intent in a natural place?  Spending time in nature?  All above the above? And so, over the next few posts, I want to spend more time with the concept of “connecting to nature” and share some strategies for what people can do to connect with nature in a multitude of ways.

As I’ve written about earlier, part of what I see as the core of druidry as a spiritual tradition is the work of “connection.” In that post, I talked about connecting to nature, connecting to the spirit, and connecting to the creative practices as…

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Fat Goddess

Fat Goddess …

secretsoftheserpent

There have been figurines or statues of Goddesses found that are plump or fat like the Venus of Willendorf.  All over the world they are finding  statues like these and no one seems to know what they are or what they represent.  The the free-standing sculptures or drawings of the Goddess is represented as an imposing, and hugely fat woman with dangling breasts, egg-shaped buttocks and bulging calves and forearms.  Some are standing, some are sitting and some are lying down.  They are various sizes from miniature to grand scale carving and drawings.  With the patriarchal mind of today, no one knows what they mean.  Time to illuminate.  

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El Dorado

By secretsoftheserpent

secretsoftheserpent

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I have just returned from an awesome trip to Cancun, Mexico.  I spent time going to ruins that have not been commercialized.  During this trip I was lucky enough to be invited to a Mayan village.  Here I met the Queen.  They called her the head matriarch, but she was the Queen. Her name was Norma.   With my archeological guide translating for me, I was able to have conversations with Norma.  While I was at the village I received the stone you see in the pictures.  This stone is Obsidian and it is what the Spaniards and Christians were chasing when it came to El Dorado.

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Indigenous Mind: Remembering Who We Are

by Ancestral Apothecary

Ancestral Apothecary

Much of the vision of Ancestral Apothecary is inspired and informed by my experience in the Indigenous Mind Program.  As the founder of Ancestral Apothecary, I, Atava Garcia Swiecicki, received a graduate degree from  from Naropa University in the Indigenous Mind Program in 2003.  The Indigenous Mind Program focuses on reconnecting to one’s indigenous ancestors, no matter what their cultural or ethnic background.  The program was founded by Dr. Apela Colorado, who also is the founder of the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network.

Heidi Corning, of White Tigress Ancestry, was also a student in the Indigenous Mind Program and created a short film to document the process of the Indigenous Mind students and they reconnected to their ancestral ways of knowing.

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Healing Ancestral Trauma with Plant Medicine

In these days of DNA tests one gets through websites to trace your family tree … Is it truly appropriation of traditions or culture if the DNA of your ancestors come from Nigeria, Romans that conquered Germany, Britons, Eastern Europe, North Africa, etc. Skin color maybe white, but the ancestors that traveled to colder climates were not. Those ancestors often provide guidance to practice their indigenous traditions. Through many of the traditions of my ancestors, I have learned to revere and elevate ancestors that had been ignored for generations. As anthropological research and DNA tests trace our origins back to the area of ancient Egypt … As ancestor reverence once again comes to the forefront and people learn to listen to the messages from their ancestors, it is my hope that terms such as cultural appropriation become obsolete because it’s not appropriation, but a rediscovery of our ancestral roots.

Ancestral Apothecary

By third year Cecemmana student, Kara Wood.

Several years ago I had a lightning bolt message from my ancestors that I needed to live my truth and combine all the things that I care about (plants, ancestors, genetics, herbal medicine) and really live who I am. That is when I found Ancestral Apothecary School and the Cecemmana program.   I am in the third year and what I have learned and experienced surpassed any possible expectations. So much of what I had always been doing, that I didn’t yet recognize, was preparing me for this.

In this life do any of us really escape trauma? It can affect us at any time in our lives from in utero on.  We also experience ancestral trauma, sometimes referred to as transgenerational trauma. This trauma is the one that inhabits each of us in some way.  Each generation before us imprinted information and trauma…

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Herb Lore: (Herbalism)

Good Witches Homestead

Hippocrates – ” Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

For the purpose of this article, herbs are loosely referred to as the category of edible plants which can also be used for Medicinal, Spiritual or Magical purposes.

It seems that on every part of the globe where humans have lived, there has developed a body of herbal knowledge, something which has led to a special relationship developing between herbs and people. The foundation for this relationship is the fact that apart from herbs being acknowledged for their nutritional value, there has been a longstanding recognition that they also possess a variety of curative properties, being amongst the most important tools used by Shamen, Medicine men, Witch doctors, and healers, in general, the world over. Indeed, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the population of some Asian and African countries presently use herbal…

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Doe, A Deer, A Female Reindeer: The Spirit of Mother Christmas

Gather Victoria

Oh wondrous headed doe… Amongst its horns it carries the light of the blessed sun…” Hungarian Christmas Folk Song

Long before Santa charioted his flying steeds across our mythical skies, it was the female reindeer who drew the sleigh of the sun goddess at winter solstice. It was when we “Christianized” the pagan traditions of winter, that the white bearded man i.e. “Father Christmas” was born.

santareindeer

Today it is her beloved image that adorns Christmas cards and Yule decorations – not Rudolph. Because unlike the male reindeer who sheds his antlers in winter, it is the larger and stronger doe, who retains her antlers. And it is she who leads the herds in winter.

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So this season, when we gather by the fire to tell children bedtime stories of Santa and his flying reindeer – why not tell the story of the ancient Deer Mother of old? It was she…

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Sacred Tree Profile: White Pine’s Medicine, Magic, Mythology, and Meanings

The Druid's Garden

White Pine Towering in a Conifer Forest at Parker Dam State Park, PA White Pine Towering in a Conifer Forest at Parker Dam State Park, PA

In the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) legend, there was a terrible conflict between five different nations of people. This conflict was rooted in cycles of pain, revenge, and chaos. A messenger of peace sent from the Great Spirit, the “Peacemaker,” sought to unite the five warring tribes. After convincing them to unite, they came together to make peace, but they still carried their weapons. The Peacemaker uprooted a White Pine tree and had them throw all of their weapons into the hole. He then replanted the tree, and the underground waters carried away the weapons. On the tree, the needles grew in clusters of five, to represent the five nations who came to find peace. The roots of the tree spread out in four directions, to the north, south, east and west; the roots are called the roots…

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