Ozark Encyclopedia – O – Oak

Mountain Man Traditional Healing

Oak – Quercus

Parts used: bark, leaf

Traditional uses: Astringent, antiseptic, bark and leaves can be used to treat diarrhea and dysentery, can be used in poultices and to help stop bleeding.

“The astringent effects of the Oak were well known to the Ancients, by whom different parts of the tree were used, but it is the bark which is now employed in medicine. Its action is slightly tonic, strongly astringent and antiseptic. It has a strong astringent bitter taste, and its qualities are extracted both by water and spirit. The odour is slightly aromatic. Like other astringents, it has been recommended in agues and haemorrhages, and is a good substitute for Quinine in intermittent fever, especially when given with Chamomile flowers. It is useful in chronic diarrhoea and dysentery, either alone or in conjunction with aromatics. A decoction is made from 1 OZ. of bark in a quart of…

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A Little Yuletide Crystal Magic

By Krista Mitchell

Yuletide Blessings & Season’s Greetings!

We’ve made it through the darkest time, and longest night, of the year.
Slowly but surely the sun will begin to wax, and while they still feel far away, the warm days will come again.

We’re moving into a potent phase of intention setting and manifestation magic from the 25th to the 6th (the original 12 days of Yuletide or Christmas), when our thoughts and hopes will look to a fresh start at the new year.

According to the ancient Celtic and Druidic calendars, the month of Birch begins today. The birch tree symbolizes new beginnings, rebirth, and resurrection. In the runic language of the old Norse, it symbolizes fertility, healing, prosperity, and the feminine mysteries.

A Little Yuletide Crystal Magic

To consciously welcome in the magic, healing, and blessings this time brings:

  1. Place a candle in your window at twilight, the magical “between and betwixt time” revered by the Druids. (An LED candle is fine, safety first!)
  2. Using your saliva (or a sacred oil) and your index finger, draw the runic Berkana symbol (meaning “birch”, pictured above) on your window.
  3. Hold a piece of quartz and whisper your desires for healing, renewal, fertility or prosperity into the quartz.
  4. Leave the quartz beside your candle throughout the night, symbolizing the light of your dreams blazing through the darkness.
  5. Keep the quartz with you, place it on your altar, or bury it in your garden after the Spring thaw.

May magic, healing, love and hope bless you and yours this holiday season!

Warmest wishes,

🌟Krista🌟

Making A Yule Log/Having A Old Fashioned Christmas

Good Witches Homestead

Make this Yule Log use as a handcrafted herbal gift for family and friends this holiday season.

Yule Log Recipe

The Yule log is traditionally burned on New Year’s Eve to usher in good fortune for the coming year. It is created in the spirit of prayer or ritual for the fulfilment of dreams, hopes, and wishes for prosperity, happiness, peace, or whatever you want the New Year to bring. As you create the log, perform each action with intention for your dreams to come true.

1. Start by tying a red ribbon around the middle of a large piece of firewood. There are many items that can be used to decorate the log such as moss, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg, rose hips, frankincense resin, fir branches, pinecones, or prayers written down, rolled up, and tied with pieces of string.

2. Attach all of the ornaments with drippings…

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Winter Tree Lore

Good Witches Homestead

ELDER (Sambucus spp.) – The Latin name Sambucus is derived from a Greek word for a wind instrument made from the elder. Also known as Ellhorn, Elderberry, Lady Elder. Sacred to the White Lady and Midsummer Solstice. The Druids used it to both bless and curse. Standing under an elder tree at Midsummer, like standing in a Fairy Ring of mushrooms, will help you see the “little people.” Elder wands can be used to drive out evil spirits or thought forms. Music on panpipes or flutes of elder has the same power as the wand.  The pith can easily be removed from the small branches to make a flute. Elder re-grows damaged branches with ease and can root rapidly from any part. A tea for purifying the blood can be made from the flowers and wine from the fruit, but in general, the tree is poisonous. In Norse mythology, the Goddess Freya chose the…

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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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Holly Wood

Elder Mountain Dreaming @gmail

Trees are magical, there is no doubt and those of us who love and respect them are far and few between. The Wood of the Holly is hard, compact and close-grained and its color is of beautiful white ivory that can be buffed to a very high polish.  When freshly cut the holly wood has a slightly greenish hue but soon becomes perfectly white, and its hardness makes it superior to any other white wood. However the wood of Holly is very retentive of its sap and as a consequence can warp if not well dried and seasoned before use. Old, fancy walking sticks were made from Holly, as were the stocks of light riding whips.  Today it is used in delicate instruments such as weather-gauges and barometers.

Holly is commonly used all over the world as a winter season decoration in many traditions, a custom derived from the earliest Romans who…

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Establishing Sacred Land: Shaping A Shared Vision

The Druid's Garden

In Tending the Wild, a book that has deeply shaped my thinking about humans, nature and relationship, M. Kat Anderson reports in her introduction that the concept of “wilderness” had a very different understanding to the native peoples of California.  To the native peoples, “wilderness” was a negative thing; it was land that was essentially “untended” and left on its own. Native peoples saw tending the land–scattering seeds, selective burning, cultivating various kinds of perennial and annual spaces–as necessary for the health and growth of the land.  And the abundance that is reported by early western visitors to California and all of what is now known as North America certainly supported that fact: the land was incredibly rich, diverse, and abundant.

Of course, today, we see “wilderness” as a good thing. It is something that humans haven’t touched, it remains pristine and unbroken. In the post-industrial western…

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Elder Tree and Elderberry Folklore

Elder Mountain Dreaming @gmail

Black Elderberry Sambucus-nigraBlack Elderberry Sambucus-nigra

Juniper and I here at Elder Mountain, went into the mountains to pick Elderberries last month and she made her yearly herbal remedy for the winter and it tastes delightful as a medicine. I thought I would look up the Elder Tree after our two days with the trees. I had said thank you to the Elder Trees every time I cut the berries off the branch and felt it was very important to honor the tree that way. After I gathered the information about the folklore, I am lad I did. 

Elder trees in one of their oldest folklore is about the tree’s power to ward off evil like the Hawthorn, and also to give protection, while other beliefs say that witches often congregate under the plant, especially when it is full of fruit. If an elder tree was cut down, a spirit known as the Elder Mother…

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Establishing Sacred Land, or, A Home-Coming

The Druid's Garden

There has been a lot of talk in the American druid scene in the last few years about establishing sacred spaces, creating sacred groves, and really staring to re-enchant our land here. I think druids and other earth-centered spiritual traditions around the world, particularly those living in places shaped by colonization, face these same challenges: how do we create our own sacred spaces? What does that look like?  I wrote earlier this year, for example, about Stones Rising at Four Quarters farm, and the raising of standing stones. A few years ago, I’ve also written a series on sacred sites in the US and how to build some sacred sites. This post continues those conversations.

White Oak by the Creek White Oak by the Creek

In my Stones Rising post, I talked about how establishing sacred spaces, as a community, was certainly an “American” challenge because of the history of colonialism and the…

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Ozark Encyclopedia – H – Hickory

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Mountain Man Traditional Healing

Hickory – Carya 

Parts used: leaf, stem, nuts

Traditional uses: Leaves can be used for headaches and poultices. Bark can be used to help treat arthritis. The sap of the shagbark hickory is used like sugar or maple syrup.

Pegging for malaria, chills, fever, etc. – “To cure malaria, chills, fever, and ague all you need is a hickory peg about a foot long. Drive it into the ground in some secluded place, where you can visit it unseen. Do not tell anyone about this business. Go there every day, pull up the peg, blow seven times into the hole, and replace the peg. After you have done this for twelve successive days, drive the peg deep into the earth so that it cannot be seen, and leave it there. You’ll have no more chills and fever that season. If the cure doesn’t work, it means that you have been…

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