Sacred Tree Profile: Chestnut’s Magic, Medicine, Mythology and Meaning (Castanea dentata)

The Druid's Garden

Basket of abundant chestnuts!

Just a few weeks ago, I went and checked the local chestnut trees that are in a field near where I live.  Ever since I moved to the new homestead, I have been eagerly visiting these trees.  Last year, they dropped plenty of husks but with only shriveled nuts inside. This year, I was extraordinarily pleased to find that both trees had produced a bumper crop of the delicious nuts–some almost 2″ across, but most smaller, almost all worm-free, and delicious. I eagerly filled my basket with the nuts, stepping carefully around the extremely prickly husks.  I sat with each of the trees and we conversed as I harvested the nuts. I took home 25 lbs of nuts that day, and these nuts will sustain myself, my geese (who love them), and my friends and family for many a Samhain, Thanksgiving, and Yule feast!  Chestnut trees…

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Shoes

Many people take their shoes off to keep the negative energy from the day out of their house.

I don’t know if it’s still a practice, I’ve been married nearly 35 years, of tying tin cans to scare off evil spirits and shoes to the bumper of the transportation the newlyweds use to leave the wedding beginning their new life together.

secretsoftheserpent

We have lost what the shoe symbolizes in today’s world.  If you look up on the internet what the symbol of the shoe means, it will tell you that it represents authority and power, humility and servitude, our direction and focus in life, or our faith in god.  How you get faith in god from shoes is beyond me?  What I have found will make way more sense and will answer a few of questions.  One of those questions being, why would someone throw a shoe at President Bush?  

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Ancient Order of Druids in America

The Druid's Garden

Dear readers, I’m taking a pause from my regular article-style blog posts this week to share some big news and do a bit of reflection. Last week, as of the Fall Equinox, I became the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA). I’ve been in leadership and service with the AODA since 2013, serving first as Trilithon journal editor for four years, then as Grand Pendragon, then as the Archdruid of Water for the last four years. And now, I’ve stepped up to lead the AODA, following Gordon Cooper, and before him, my friend and mentor, John Michael Greer. Because of this, I wanted to take a week to share my story of AODA and reflect on this path. I do this for a few reasons–first, I wanted to share the news. But also, I realize that a lot of people may find this reflection useful…

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The Ways of our Ancestors: Review of the Mountaincraft and Music Gathering

The Druid's Garden

Here, in the center of our camp, the sacred fire burns. This fire is tended for the four days we are together, never being allowed to go out. This is an ancestral fire, and all of us at the Mountaincraft gathering have the responsibility of feeding it. This is where we remember that learning primitive and earth skills is the work of our ancestors. This is where we gather for a quiet moment to commune with those ancestors, and will our bodies and hearts to remember. This is where, each morning, we gather as a group to hear about the day’s classes, call to the directions, hear a word of intention, and recieve a water blessing from Nancy Basket, a tribe elder. This is where, at each meal, some of us may find ourselves, talking with each other or engaging in quiet communion with the flame. This is where, each…

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Building with Cob, Part II: Soil Tests and Mixing Cob

The Druid's Garden

Happy feet mixing cob!

In a meadow under the summer sun, a group of dancers laugh and fling mud.  Beneath their feet, clay, sand, and water become mixed together, creating a sticky earthen blend that sticks to their feet, their legs, and, after some play, faces and fingers! This is a cob mixing party, one of the best times you can have with good friends. After the cob is mixed, it is added by others to the bench and more soil is added and the dance continues.  In last week’s post we explored some reasons to consider exploring natural building as a potential way to build sustainable structures and be more attuned with the energies of earth.  In this week’s post, we will get into how to test your soil and how to make some cob!

One thing I want to share about cob–you don’t have to build big things…

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Building with Cob, Part I: Project ideas and Honoring Earth

The Druid's Garden

Making some cob!

Connecting with the earth can mean a lot of things–and today, I want to talk through how to create a simple building material that can be used for a wide variety of purposes: cob.  Cob is an ancient building material that is a combination of sand, clay, and straw (or other strengthening materials) mixed with water. Cob, the synthesis of water and earth, becomes the passive forms through which we shape anything from a small earth oven to a whole living space.  In this post, I’ll introduce cob and offer some different kinds of projects that you can do with it. This post compliments last week’s post, where I shared how to make ecobricks from waste plastic materials.  Cob is certainly one of the more sustainable and local construction materials to use in conjunction with ecobricks, so I thought it would be a nice time to…

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Wild Cakes for Camossung: A Prayer For Restoring The Garden — Gather Victoria

My family background is pretty diverse (stretching across Europe, from Spain, France, Greece to Eastern Europe and Russia) so I harvest and write about the many foods my ancestors have eaten for literally thousands of years. But I also resonate deeply with the food cultures of the Coast Salish Peoples whose territories I occupy. I…

via Wild Cakes for Camossung: A Prayer For Restoring The Garden — Gather Victoria

Bird Folklore of Healing and Death

Elder Mountain Dreaming

By Phoenix of Elder Mountain –As a bird shaman, a very ancient one, birds have been my helpers, my animism souls and my bringers of prophecy my whole life. In Etymology, Avis in Arabic means to fly away in reference to a “bird” and in Greek and Roman Latin it means “Bird”. The more correct Latin is Avis Praeda which means “Bird of Prey”.

The basic theme and meaning of this Avis bird, which has several different names in different cultures is that it can sure and bring death equally. There is a bird known as the Iterus, from its peculiar color; if the patient looks at it, he will be cured of jaundice, they say, and the bird will die. This is the same bird that is known in Latin by the name of Galgulus.

In Roman Mythology the caladrius is a snow-white bird that lives in the king and queen’s…

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Old-fashioned Banana Fritters

A Hundred Years Ago

Banana Fritters are a wonderful comfort food, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for them. The fritters were crispy; and, when served with a little confectioners sugar sprinkled on top, had just the right amount of sweetness. The fritters are made using banana slices or chunks, and when I bit into them, the embedded fruit was pure delight. This recipe is a keeper.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: American Cookery (March, 1919)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

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Ancient Shaman Artists

Elder Mountain Dreaming

By Phoenix of Elder Mountain – My sacred archaic orison today…

I give great reverence, great respect and praise to all our ancestral and ancient women artists whose names were never known, or never mentioned by scribes in any sacred texts of earth the last few thousand years.

I light a candle and whisper to the wind to you, to send you the message from my heart, that your glowing love, your passion and connection to nature through the meadows and caves you once lived, still breathe and still holds its beauty. I am grateful to know you and the pure earth through your eyes again, where my soul had once lived.

The same creeks, rivers, streams, oceans, mountains and clouds are here, where you sang your honoring songs through your dreaming cultures, then your shaman cultures and much later, your goddess cultures. The culture of clan, tribe, town, village…

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