Sunday, August 25, 2013


Sweet Goldenrod (Solidago odora)  Goldenrod produces a showy, bloom-like cluster of small yellow blossoms which bloom between July and October.  (Many people are allergic to Goldenrod in the fields - so beware if you are and skip this one)  It is found in dry open woods, on the fringes of old fields and roadways. The crushed leaves have a sweet anise-like odor. The leaves are parallel veined, slender, toothless and smooth with tiny transparent dots when held up to the sky. It is found almost everywhere in the United States.
Dried goldenrod make great tinder for starting fires in the dead of winter. A strong tea can be made from the dried leaves as well. It tastes anise flavored. Shredded leaves can also be added to salads for the flavor or garnish. Mixed with rose hip or mint tea is very beneficial and tasty.
A poultice made of steeped goldenrod leaves, strained and mixed with tallow, takes the pain and swelling of bee stings down quickly. A tea made with young flowers makes a good mouthwash, or general skin wash. The tea is good to aid digestion and minimize gas.

Catnip, Cattail...

Finding so much great info on foraging stuff - love it!!

CATNIP (Nepeta cataria) This plants grows along roadsides in waste ground or disturbed soils. It blooms from late spring to early falls, flowering with white to light violet with little purple spots. The leaves are arrow-shaped, gray-green with white downy covering. It smells slightly minty. It is found all over the U.S. For medicinal purposes, it is best to use non-blooming plants for the strongest medication. The leaves from the top of the plant should be dried in the sun, crushed, and then added to a cup of tea, steeping for 1/2 and hour. This will put you right to sleep. By collecting the new leaves during the year, drying them in bunches upside-down in a dry place, you can store the leaves in a glass jar for future use. It makes a very soothing tea. This tea also makes the person sweat profusely which is sometimes a good thing as it opens the pores of the body. Be sure to drink a lot of water before and after this treatment so you don't get dehydrated. The dosage of tea can be lessened by drinking less tea or by using leaves from a blooming plant. A lesser dose will relieve pain and anxiety - a greater dose will put you to sleep and make you sweat.

CATTAIL (Typha spp.) (Similar to Bulrush above) This plant is tall and straight with sword like leaves. It is topped with a sausage-shaped head on top - which starts out with tiny flowers and golden pollen spikes. It turns from green to brown. It flowers in late spring and is found in shallow water and fresh or brackish marches. It is found everywhere in the U.S. and Canada. The stalk with its head can be dipped in tallow (grease) and used for a torch at night. Soft cattail down can be collected and stuffed into fabric to make a pillow. Many cattails collected together can be used for mats, shelter, food, warmth, making fires, making rafts, medication, and lots of other things. Young plants with pollen can be collected to use for stews and bread. Cattail roots have little corms on them which you can pick off for food and replant the root back into the ground to grow some more. The corms can be eaten raw. Young stems can be eaten raw also. The green flower stalks can be cooked and peeled and eaten like corn. The early pollen can be collected, dried, and mixed half and half with flour for bread. Cooking the pollen, it gets like oatmeal cereal. You can also add the pollen to scrambled eggs and pancakes. You can make pemmican by using dried pollen and mix with dried berries, jerky, tallow, nuts, and whatever is in the area. As a medicine, by using the rootstock cooked will cure diarrhea. About 2 cups a day will take care of that problem. If you have skin problems, by picking the leaves, there is a sticky ooze which you can put on cuts and it also numbs pain on the skin. The numbing effect can be used for toothaches too. It also works on poison ivy, boils, bee stings, and other infections. Burning the cattail can be used to keep away mosquitoes and fumigating the tent. A raw cattail stalk can be used as a toothbrush and the cattail flour used for toothpaste.

Foraging for Pine & Cattail


pine“You can eat pine?!” Yes, pine trees are an awesome food source that I’ve eaten throughout the year. “OK…so how do you eat it” Good question, let me explain.
First of all, if you’ve ever eaten pesto, chances are you’ve eaten pine. ‘Pignoli’ or pine nuts are a common ingredient in pesto and are often served on ice-cream . Every species of pine produces seed (or nuts in this case) and all can be eaten. In the late fall and early winter, the cones can be gathered, opened, and the seeds extracted. The only issue is that most pine don’t produce large seeds like for example the pinion pine does.
In most other species the seeds are quite small and it takes quite a few to make a decent meal. However, if you’re lucky to live in the Great Basin or other arid areas where pinion pines love to grow you’re in luck, if not and if you don’t feel like spending so much time for a meager meal, read on…
In the spring, the male pollen anthers can be eaten and are high in protein. The inner bark of the pine can also be eaten and surprisingly makes quite a tasty meal if prepared right. And with some species – like the white pine – it can be surprisingly sweet.
In addition, pine needles can be gathered year round to make a great tea which contains a ton of Vitamin C (not in the least bit ‘piney’ tasting as you would expect).


cattailThis is my favorite wild edible. Not only is it referred to as the wilderness ‘supermarket’ (because of its many edible parts), but it has some great medicinal and utilitarian purposes as well.
Cattail provides something to eat year round. And the amount that you can gather is quite substantial. In fact, a study was conducted at the Cattail Research Center of Syracuse University’s Department of Plant Sciences by Leland Marsh. He reported that he could harvest 140 tons of rhizomes per acre near Wolcott, NY. That equates to more than 10 times the average yield per acre of potatoes!
In the early spring the young shoots and stalks can be eaten raw or cooked. The flower heads in late spring can be husked like corn and boiled — in fact it has an almost corn-like taste. Very yummy. :) In summer, the brown-orangish pollen heads can be eaten raw or dried into flour. Fall is the best time to gather the horn-shaped corms (the sproutings of next years’ plants) which are eaten raw or roasted. And in winter, the root stalk is full of starch which can be broken up into water, dissolved, strained and dried into flour as good as wheat flour.

Rosehip recipe links

I'm going to have TONS of Rosehips this year... so I was thrilled to come across this site with lot & lots of Rosehip recipe links - Love it!!

Queen Anne's Lace details

QUEEN ANNE'S LACE (Daucus carota)
Queen Anne's Lace (QAL in the following text) also called wild carrot, is now a widely distributed temperate zone biennial and the ancestor of domestic carrots.
The leaves, flowers and seeds of QAL are used for food and medicine. The roots are eaten as small first year taproots. Chopped finely, the young first year leaves are a very pleasant carroty salad green. The ground mature seeds are a major component of Madras curry powder (up to 25%). We raised rabbits for meat and fur. We tried to feed them an all-wild green diet. One early March we had over 100 bunnies and cool weather had retarded spring green growth; my daughter, head chef for the bunny brigade, could not find enough greens (dandelion, plantain, wild mustard, chicory). I saw an ad in the 5-Center for cull field carrots, about 2 ton truckloads delivered for $20.00. I ordered a truckload at once which was dumped in the driveway whilst I was off teaching at the university. That evening Hillary placed several large misshapen carrots in each bunny cage. About 10 PM the bunnies started to mutiny and have fits. They raced around their cages, thumped repeatedly for hours on their sitting boards and made weird snorty noises unlike any heard previously. Eventually we slept but not the bunnies. In the morning the big lumpy carrots were shoved into cage corners and had been barely nibbled. They don't eat carrots unless totally starving. In reality, they eat the greens, leaving the carrots for QAL reproduction the following year. Gophers and muskrats eat carrots. Bugs Bunny is really an imposter gopher.
QAL and Gout: I regularly prescribe wild and/or domestic carrot greens for my gout patients (men are 20 times more likely to develop gout than women). This treatment is long-term (lifetime) to tolerance, especially for high-protein diet-induced gout. The best results are from finely chopped leaves in salads or soups, or leaves juiced in a wheatgrass juicer.
I have not used the flowers medicinally. Phyllis Light of Clayton College, AL uses mainly leaf and blossom infusions and syrups therapeutically to treat apparent endocrine disorders (pers. comm. From PL to RD).
QAL Seeds: For a decade (1973-83) I used QAL seed heads, gorgeous green and pink half-mature, harvested in Cancer, with mature seeds at the umbel margin and tiny immature seeds in the umbel center. This was exactly how I was taught by Ella Birzneck, as the way to get optimal patient results.
Her main use of QAL seeds was for cystitis (generically speaking, most uncomfortable bladder and lower urinary tract discomfort presentations). The dried umbels were used as a strong decoction (1 ounce herb to a pint of water), long-steeped after about 20m minutes of boiling, for 4-12 hours. This decoction was to be consumed as 4-ounce doses 4-6 times daily. She also prescribed at the same time at least 4 quarts of plain water daily and no other beverages (tough on cryptic substance abusers).
My first outside case of cystitis in 1973 was a very attractive mid-30s professional woman referred to me with a "bladder infection". She had just begun a very exciting sexual relationship after several chaste years. The presumed bladder infection was not only painful but socially disruptive. She continually had an urge to urinate but usually could squeeze out only a few dark yellowish brown drops of burning urine, no matter how hard she "squnched". Fortunately she had no blood, cloudiness, or cellular masses in the scanty urine. She had very carefully limited her water intake so she would not need to urinate while cuddling and copulating. This exacerbated a usual case of "honeymoon cystitis". I suspect now that a few days of abstinence (oh horrors) and forced fluids would have brought resolution. Instead, I gave her 1 pound of the dried green QAL umbels and instructions and urged abstinence from copulation until the symptoms resolved. And, abstinence from coffee and alcoholic beverages. She was not pleased and threatened noncompliance. Cruelly, I said "So, suffer for love." She was compliant and had complete resolution of symptoms after three days of treatment. She shared the unused Daucus seeds with women friends as their needs occurred in the following several years.
Since then I regularly prescribe QAL seed decoction for mild urinary discomfort in both men and women. I frequently add marshmallow leaf or root and Irish moss. A curious side effect in some men was positive symptom improvement in cases of both BPH and non-infectious prostatitis. Now, I regularly prescribe QAL seed decoction for early stages of BPH and persistent prostatitis. To speed up the decoction process, I recommend putting the seeds in an automatic steam percolator coffee maker and process the same water three times through the seeds. The resulting dark aromatic drink is very tasty.
Daucus carota for Birth Control: About ten years after my first cystitis case, herbal gossip declared that wild carrot seeds were not only an emmemagogue, but a reliable, functional morning after(after unprotected heterosexual vaginal intercourse during ovulation) herb to prevent pregnancy. Details, cases, and proposed mechanisms were sketchy at best. I quickly realized that Daucus carota is truly contraindicated during pregnancy. John Riddle in his books on abortion and contraception discusses wild carrot seeds as herbal birth control and early abortificent. He suggests that hormonal disruption is the mechanism. We would discuss this, my female apprentices and I, when we sat around on rainy days hand garbling mature wild carrot seeds by finger, scooping out the seeds from individual basket-bracketed umbels for the retail market, wondering if the seeds were reliable. In 4 of 8 known cases, they were not, and pregnancy occurred. This made us wonder about the form in which the seeds needed to be taken. Various suggestions were made by herbalists, notably Robin Bennett, to use a teaspoon of whole seeds and chew them up. A challenging task. Others suggested oil infusions or strong decoctions. No one suggested blending immature seed heads for a slurry. There were no experiments which could indicate if incipient infertility was the real reason pregnancy did not occur in some cases.
A curious phenomenon occurred with several of the women who spent long hours hand-cleaning the seeds. For 8-10 of them, their respective menstrual bleeding began a few days (1-3) after seed cleaning independent of where they were in their respective cycles. All were surprised. I noticed no personal endocrine effects. This seems more complicated than prevention of embryo implantation, one of the speculative mechanisms suggested for wild carrot seed birth control.
I believe that there are human endocrine hormone analogs in Daucus carota seeds. This is discussed in the notes for Herbal Human Hormones elsewhere in this text. Correspondingly, medical anthropologist Farid Alakbarov describes recorded ancient medical and modern folk medicinal usage of carrot seeds to treat impotence and loss of libido in men (Herbalgram 49:76-7.2000)


NETTLES (Urtica dioica v.Lyalli)
All true nettles are edible; all stinging nettles have similar medicinal properties. Not all stinging nettle species/varieties produce the same therapeutic RESULTS.
The species/variety I describe here is: Urtica dioica v.Lyalli or simply U. Lyalli, a large and robust species, confined to the North American West Coast. The roots/rhizomes, leaves, stalks, fruits/seeds are all used therapeutically. For an extensive discussion of nettles see M.Grieve.
Nettle Roots/Rhizomes
One question that may have therapeutic implications is: in nettle root-derived medicines, how much of the material used is from “true roots” and how much is from rhizomes?
True nettle roots are perennial; growing deeply into the earth, yellow, smooth, tough, long, oval in cross-section and extremely resistant to fracture. They are relatively sparse and laborious to harvest. I usually include them in “nettle roots”. I wonder if other herbalists and medicine makers do so. I have not read or heard of any use distinctions.
Most material called "nettle roots” is mostly, if not all, nettle rhizomes. Nettle rhizomes are abundant in horizontal criss-crossed tangles, easy to harvest, relatively fragile, brittle, square in cross-section, and have a solid pith as they age. Both nettle roots and rhizomes have a distinct ammonia odor when first unearthed. (More complete nettle harvesting and processing details in: Ryan Drum, Medicines From The Earth, 1999, pp 63-71)
When I make nettle root medicine, I use mostly young rhizomes, 2-10 years old. First year reproductive rhizomes are mostly water, bruise easily when harvested, and don’t seem to make as strong a medicine. Older rhizomes are often fungal and insect infested, the pith gone, and very woody. Non-emergent nettle rhizomes have no stinging hairs; as soon as a growing nettle rhizome tip grows little roots and emerges, it grows stinging hairs as the chloroplasts develop and the tip turns green in color.
Teas and tinctures of nettle roots/rhizomes are recommended for mild BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia). I usually recommend 1 oz. dried roots/pint of infusion, 2x daily. The water may be as important as the herb. For the hardy, I encourage juicing enough nettle rhizome tips to yield at least 30cc (1 fluid ounce) consumed daily. This is possible only where nettles grow abundantly; depending on the individual, fresh rhizome juice can be either extremely invigorating or nauseating. An excellent discussion of botanicals for BPH is Brinker 1994.
Green Nettle Shoots/Young Growing Tips
Young nettle shoots are a great food and restorative whole body tonic. In environments with mild winters, nettle shoots begin to emerge in Sagittarius (21.Nov-21.Dec), with especially exuberant stinging hairs. Nettles flower on Malta at Christmas. For a supply of young nettle growing tips and young leaves throughout the nettle growing season, cut the main nettle stalk near the flowers to encourage growth from axillary buds. In U. Lyalli this occurs on mature plants with seeds matured and often shed, from leaf axils until a hard frost. Flowering can begin again in early Autumn.
Young nettles are especially rich in proteins, minerals and secondary metabolites, and, “free amino acids”. These are uncommitted amino acids in nettle sap, waiting for anticipated rapid growth in response to either temperature or sunshine sudden increases. When we consume fresh live (or barely steamed, 5-7 minutes) nettles we get those amino acids for our own protein repairs and replacement. Eat young nettles to enhance post-traumatic healing from wounds, auto collisions, surgery, and radiation treatments.
I usually recommend 2-8 ounces/day raw or steamed young nettles. I teach patients how to firmly and thoroughly compress and roll raw nettles to mechanically disarm the stinging hairs. Nettle shoots could probably be dried for subsequent food or medicinal use. M. Moore suggests freezing young nettle tips or fresh juice.
I experience a jolly mood and energy boost from eating raw nettle shoots, leaves, and fruits but never from non-emergent rhizomes. I suspect that I may be responding to an unexpected supplementation of neurotransmitters, acetylcholine, choline, serotonin and histamine from uncooked nettle venom.
Nettle Leaves
Nettle leaves are used fresh or dried in tea (infusions), tinctures, and salves.
I usually prefer nettle leaf teas for urinary and hemostatic applications.
Fresh leaves are freeze-dried, powdered, and encapsulated and are preferred for treating asthmatic and allergic conditions.
I use the mature leaves and stalks fresh or dried, in hot soaks in the bath, buckets, or boots. Patients are encouraged to soak 1-2 hours several times a week or even daily to relieve joint pain. Continue treatment until symptoms resolve and repeat weekly for relief maintenance as needed.
I suspect that in males (men have 20x more gout than women) extended nettle soaking involves transdermal metabolite relief directly to painful gouty joints. Nettles are frequently cited as an effective treatment for relief from gout (there is no cure for gout) but usually as strong infusions.
Flagellation with stinging hair-rich leaves and stalks can bring relief to arthritic joints. After the swelling subsides, secondary effects manifest.
According to Grieve, Roman soldiers at Hadrian’s Wall in Britain whipped themselves with nettle stalks and leaves to stay warm (formication) and may have enjoyed the injections of neurotransmitters.
In my area, native whalers reputedly rolled in fresh nettle patches immediately prior to going out whaling to help them stay awake. When I tried nettle self-flagellation, I formed a lot of hot angry red welts which subsided in an hour or less; but, little red centers remained after the welts had resolved and these red spots itched dreadfully for days (and nights). Not recommended.
I realized that the native whalers were staying awake scratching for hours in their little dugout canoes. (See: Nettle Seeds below). I have not seen any Roman literature on itchy border guards.
Childbirth Hemostatic Use of Nettles
In 1990 I received a long letter from an experienced Michigan midwife; one who was frequently called to help with difficult births. She and other midwives had been successfully using strong infusions of my wild-harvested nettle leaves (no stalks) to control postpartum bleeding, reducing the anticipated blood loss by as much as 90% (postpartum bleeding is the number one cause of death worldwide for women of childbearing age). Prior to the birth of her third child she had used all of her supply of nettle leaves from me and obtained some from another source.
After the baby was out she was very surprised to be told that she was hemorrhaging heavily. She had used the nettle infusion expecting little postpartum bleeding. Instead of 20-40 cc, her midwife estimated she lost 500cc or more of blood. Otherwise, it was an easy birth. She believed the nettle tea had failed. She wanted to know if there was something different about my nettle leaves. She and other midwives wanted to prevent further unexpected potentially fatal postpartum bleeding. I did not see any of the possible weak nettle leaves to check for post harvest mishandling. I wondered if rodent control warfarin, an anticoagulant, had contaminated those nettles. (In any future nettle hemostatic failures, that is perhaps the first test I would suggest.)
I wondered what species of nettles she had gotten. I suspected that there might be a significant differential factor in nettles that have a true winter dormancy and those that do not. My nettles do not. The obsessive care I take in nettle leaf harvest may also be a factor.
There is an important lesson here: how can practitioners be certain the herbs they use will work as expected? Unfortunately, the real answer is: only by trying.
I now believe that variations in therapeutic efficacy in the alleged same perennial plant are real and can differ widely from year to year in the exact same individual plant, just as wine produced from grapes grown on the same plant will vary detectably. Then, we can expect greater variations from plant to plant, location to location, variety to variety, beyond local fluctuations in nutrients and weather.
The hazard might be lessened by only using local plants. Otherwise, constituent measuring and standardization might guarantee desired patient responses.
Nettle Leaf Contraindication
In lectures and clinics many of us consider nettle tea as safe and nutritive for everyone.
Several years ago a young woman was buying a pound or so of nettle leaves each year from me. Then, one year she ordered 4 pounds of nettle leaves. Several months later she ordered 8 more pounds of nettle leaves. I wondered if she was consuming all those nettles. I was sold out when the Autumnal 8 pound order arrived. I was thinking I would call her and suggest another possible wildcrafter when I received a call from her mother urging me to not sell her daughter anymore nettles. The daughter had apparently developed an extensive whole body rash while consuming the 4 pounds of dried nettle leaves (as infusions). When she had run out of the 4 pounds, and consumed no more nettle infusion for some weeks, the rash faded and disappeared. The mother believed the rash was a direct consequence of excessive nettle tea consumption. Without a more complete case history, I am tempted to agree. Moderation is the caution here.
Nettle Stalks 
Dried nettle stalks, after the leaves have been removed, and cut into smallish pieces, make a pleasant infusion for both drinking and adding to luxuriant herbal baths.
Nettle Fruits and Seeds
Nettle fruits and seeds are used variously for recreation and therapy (see: Treasure, J. 2003). I recommend 5-20 grams/cc of fresh green nettle fruits chewed thoroughly as a very refreshing stimulant.
I suspect that my great feel good responses to eating a few grams of fresh nettle shoots and leaves in Spring and later, in Summer, eating raw nettle fruits, are caused by the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and serotonin. Acetylcholine is the most abundant neurotransmitter in our brains. Maybe a little bit extra from eating nettle provides a dash of manufacturing cost relief. Caution, drinking a decoction of 30 grams fresh nettle fruits in 12 ounces water can induce 12-36 hours of wide-eyed wakefulness.
Some Nettle References
  1. Brinker, F. 1994. An overview of conventional, experimental, and botanical treatments for non-malignant prostate conditions. British Jour. Phytotherapy 3:154-176.
  2. Brinker, F.1995. Eclectic Dispensatory of Botanical Therapeutics pp117-119
  3. Drum, R.1999. Medicines From The Earth pp63-71
  4. Grieve, M. 1931. A Modern Herbalpp574-579
  5. Moore, M. 1993. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West pp185-190
  6. Treasure, J. 2003. Urtica semen reduces serum creatinine levels. J.AHG 4:22-25
  7. Weed, S, 1989. Healing Wise pp163-190
  8. Yarnell, E. 2003. Urtica spp. (Nettles) J.AHG4:8-14

Dandelion & Plantain

DANDELION Taraxacum officinalis

Tools: STRONG DIGGING FORK, ground knife, anvil pruners, pressure water,

Whole Dandelions, Roots and Tops Together

Whole dandelions are best dug when the plants are obviously lush, green and actively growing, as opposed to late fall, winter or early spring's straggly appearance, especially of the greens. I prefer to dig them before the summer solstice in the spring and after the autumn equinox usually through October. I use a full-strapped very heavy duty digging fork which can be used as a prying bar beyond simple digging, in tough turf or unruly rocky ground. Tediously I cut a squarish 12" deep plug and lift it carefully out and break the soil away from the roots with utmost care to minimize tearing or breaking the plump brittle roots. The broken roots are a mixed blessing; each little piece may grow an entire new dandelion plant; each broken end on the harvested portion will exude some of the precious hepatophilic latex. I try to dig dandelions on cool doudy days to reduce heat and drying damage. If not entirely possible, I take an extra sheet or two along for impromptu shade/cover for plants already harvested. So far, whole dandelion plant harvest has been exclusively for the fresh plant extract medicinal trade. Since they are to be shipped fresh live, great care is taken to ensure that freshness. Not only do I dig on cool cloudy days, but also early in the morning to reduce plant stress. The plants are pressure washed with pure, unchlorinated water in the shade and allowed to drain before packing and shipping.

Dandelion Tops and Roots Separately

Dandelion Tops Dandelion tops are best harvested by briskly cutting the entire aerial plant off, about 1/2" down onto the crown of the root with a good sturdy ground knife or wide-mouthed anvil pruners, shaking off any dirt, plucking out all of the dead or damaged leaves and spent floral stems, and quickly hanging each individual plant up to dry at 80-90°F until crispy dry. These whole plants are good food and medicine.
Dandelion Roots If I am digging dandelion roots during the active growing season, I will have some greens for every root harvested; these are set aside and treated as above. Dandelion roots dug in the autumn have different though also many of the same medicinal properties, than dandelion roots dug in the spring. Late spring and summer roots can be rather puny and shriveled. I prefer plump sweet roots dug in the autumn and early winter. Scorpio and Pisces are the favorite time frames for me. I like digging on a cool cloudy or lightly raining day so the soil does not dry onto the roots while waiting to be washed away. Most dandelions grow in full sun and suitable shade may be quite distal. Before drying, the roots are pressure-washed with pure water coarsely in a pile and then finely individually by hand and allowed to drain for up to an hour on screens. Roots thicker than an inch in diameter are cut in half longitudinally before being placed on the drying racks. Otherwise, dandelion roots are dried whole without cutting at 80-100oF inside until crispy hard-crack dry, and then placed in airtight, opaque containers.
It has been my curious observation that large roots can usually be selected in the dormant season by observing the extent of leaf margin dentition: the more deeply notched the leaf margins and the more pointed the small dormant leaves' tips, the larger the roots. Dig on. Any rapid or unexplained decline in dandelion populations should be viewed with utmost alarm.

PLANTAIN Plantago major & P. lanceolata

Tools: Ground knife or anvil pruner 5-Gal harvest bucket.
Plantain leaves are very fragile once harvested even though quite tough in the ground, withstanding repeated impact trauma and related physical abuse. They are best used fresh. I harvest them by cutting 1/2" below the top of the corm so that all of the leaves remain attached to the corm; this reduces harvest shock. The cutting is done with a ground knife or anvil pruner, this activity dulls blades quickly. The cut plants are delicately handled and placed corms down in 5-gallon plastic buckets. If it were over 50oF I would put an inch or so of water in the bottoms of the collecting buckets; the buckets are kept shady and cool. I prefer to harvest on a cool cloudy day before 9 AM in one of the spring months. A little rain will not hurt. Dried plantain leaves are medicinally much less effective than fresh leaves. Cut plantain corm bases left in the ground tend to regrow successfully. Plantain seems to be a very successful abundant wild plant. Its hardiness may assure its further survival.

Mullein - great details!!

Fabulous article with Incredible details!!
MULLEIN (Verbascum thapsis)
For decades, I sold dried mullein leaves, some dried flowers, and, occasionally dried mullein flowering stalks with all three stages of floral development present (unopened floral buds, open flowers, and some hard green capsules with developing seeds in approximately equal proportions).
Mullein Leaves
I usually harvested the big fuzzy basal rosette leaves of autumnal first year plants and vernal second year plants. The cut leaves were tied by their respective petioles in bundles of 2-8 each and the bundles hung to dry for up to two weeks. The leaf blades would dry to crispness in 3-5 days but the dry-resistant petioles could take up to 4 weeks to dry to complete crispness. This is a critical factor since much of the mullein I have seen in the market place looks moldy. At herb Faires plastic bags of dried mullein leaves in the sun often have big droplets of moisture on their shady sides. If damp mullein, even with crispy dry leaves, but with still wet petioles is stored in airtight containers, it will mould.
For good future therapeutic use, mullein leaves (and stems) should be dried to crispness.
Similarly, when harvesting both first and second year mullein leaves, carefully examine each leaf to check for mould /decay on the leaf undersides, and resolutely reject moldy leaves. This also applies fresh mullein leaves cut and used for olive oil extraction for use in salves and rubs.
Mullein leaves, stems, and most of the floral parts are covered with short thin bristles that are extreme irritants to the human respiratory tract and conjunctiva. Trying to eat the leaves is so unpleasant (to all vertebrate herbivores; some insects and perhaps slugs can manage to deal with the little bristles) that this precludes possible GI irritations.
For teas and tinctures, these hairs are best strained or filtered. We use throwaway paper goat milk filters to avoid contaminating or strainers with the bristles. For a few years we did not strain mullein tea or tincture and assumed that the burning of the throat was due to some mullein metabolite. Once we began to strain the fluids before ingesting, no more throat burning.
One day I got a letter from a resident of a neighboring island (before cell phones) which contained a prescription for ½ pound of dried mullein leaf, to be smoked as needed for relief from dry cough painful asthmatic bronchial spasms. The patient reported symptom relief over many months of mullein smoke inhalation.
I reluctantly filled that order. I am an ex tobacco smoker (1968) and severe pneumonia survivor and concomitantly generally antismoking anything except fish (difficult to inhale, but it has happened), even though I know that some plant metabolites are very effectively delivered via the respiratory tract as vapors. Mullein smoke has a long tradition in respiratory therapy (Grieve), but, is it essential? The PDR for Herbs (1998) does not mention mullein leaf smoking (and inhaling) as a therapeutic delivery mechanism. Turner mentions that Native Americans readily used the introduced Verbascum thapsis for smoking, perhaps because of the leaf similarities between the two; and, noted that one native informant said smoking too much was poisonous. There was no clear distinction between therapeutic, religious, and recreational smoking. I wonder if there is a psychotropic effect from smoking dried mullein leaves. Did the pre-Columbian smoking of mullein by Europeans make them more receptive to smoking tobacco leaves?
Mullein Flowers
I harvested mullein flowers and floral buds almost daily from the same mullein plants as the flowers matured sequentially in spirals. I noticed small black spots on the inflorescences, some resembling little drops of a black viscous resin; thin black lines of the same substance appeared in the petiole scars of harvested leaves. The resin appeared to be mullein’s self-cauterizing response to open wound from cutting and from piercing insect feedings. I picked off a bunch of resin, smelled it, tasted it and concluded it vaguely smelled like vanilla. I cut off several 6-12 in. apical mullein inflorescences (knowing that stem leaf axillary buds nearby would probably grow more floral shoots), took them home, and put them on a drying rack in the cabin. As the stalks dried, the cabin progressively smelled more like cookies, especially vanilla wafers. Compulsively living off-the-land (if not off our respective rockers) my partner and I decided this might make a great improvement in our home baking as a vanilla extract replacement. I immediately ran off to the neighbors to borrow a pint of vodka. I packed 1-2 cm cut pieces of the dried stalks into a quart canning jar, shook well several times a day for two weeks until the extract was black and nearly opaque.
We did use the extract in baking until we decided that maybe fine vanilla extract from Madagascar was not an integrity violation. I had tried the mullein extract as an aperitif and decided it was quite yummy in 5-10cc amounts. Then I thought that the dark color and pleasant flavor/aroma of dried wounded mullein stalks might be good in stout. So I brewed up a 5 gallon batch, much to the subsequent delight of my island neighbors.
I had noticed that all previously cut stalk ends were capped with black resin and a blackish sheen shone through the stalk epidermal layers prior to cutting the stems again for extraction. When I had returned to harvest the plants again after the stalk cutting, I saw that the cut ends were completely capped with black resin. Later, I was able to observe capping resin formation as changing from light brown to black in about 4 hours on a warm sunny day.
Mullein stouts and liqueurs became island favorites amongst the cognoscenti, especially the next generation who used both mullein stout and strong extracts to celebrate an annual local holiday. The event was often outrageously memorable. Must have been the mullein? It is imperative to use only dried flowering stalks, harvested when all three floral phases are about equally abundant on each floral stalk at harvest.
Mullein Flower Ear Oil
Mullein flower ear oil, made with fresh live mullein flowers and unopened floral buds, is very effective for painful symptom relief from earaches caused by inspissated earwax, especially in young children whose cerumen production and secretion is still being perfected. Very warm (105oF) mullein oil is droppered into the outer ear canal. Garlic oil is sometimes added to the mullein earache oil. A subsequent puddle of yellow to dark orange ceriman on the morning pillow is diagnostic for the mechanical problem of wax-impacted ear canals and a great teaching opportunity for the attending parents. Occasionally little or no ear wax is out flooded indicating more serious ear problems, even though the warm mullein or mullein/garlic oil has reduced the pain.
Rotenone in Mullein
Rotenone is a fish poison and very effective insecticide originally of plant origin but recently synthetically produced (US Disp.). It occurs in mullein seeds and seed capsules, and leaves. Mullein seeds and seed capsules have been used as fish poison (Bremness). Mullein seeds and flowering stalks are used to quell human ectoparasites particularly lice and scabies.
After one especially raucous Verbascum frolic, I wondered about a substance link between mullein therapeutic use and mullein extract recreational use. I believe the link is Rotenone.
Rotenone is virtually water insoluble, but readily soluble in ethanol, acetone, and other organic solvents (olive oil?) (Merck Index). Fatal rotenone poisoning causes respiratory failure. Mild rotenone poisoning from inhaled mullein smoke may be spasmolytic for asthmatics and chronic bronchitis. It may suppress the cough reflex, and, act as a local anodyne for inflamed ear canals. Rotenone is more toxic when inhaled than when ingested.
The case for rotenone-sourced psychotropic effects/responses to alcoholic drinks is at yet tenuous; oral ingestion of rotenone seems to cause GI distress, nausea, and vomiting (Goodman and Gilman). So can excessive alcohol consumption. My personal consumption response to 6-12 oz of mullein stout or up to 1 oz. mullein liqueur is usually very enthusiastic. More than that manifests as nausea and distinct aversion to further mullein stout or extract consumption. M. Grieve states that the seeds "intoxicate fish" and, the "whole plant seems to possess sedative and slightly narcotic properties". Therapeutically, I have employed mullein stout when arbitrating interpersonal disputes...
Rotenone as an insecticide is curious. Mullein flowering stalks are copiously infested with epiphytic insects. Dried mullein flowering stalks are my only product returned for insect infestation (and not much of it). I suspect that mullein resin as it dries becomes very antimicrobial as well as mechanically blocking water loss from wound. I encourage a thorough study of mullein resin (done?).
Mullein and BPH
An ND from Toronto, ONT., shared a very useful mullein observation: when treating males with obstructive watery pulmonary mucous accumulations using mullein tea or tincture mixed with goldenrod (Solidago odora) there was often concomitant relief from BPH symptoms, presumably also attended by watery accumulations of proteins. I wonder if smoking mullein reduces BPH symptoms.
I always use fresh mullein leaves in my herbal salves.
Mullein References:
  1. Bremness, L., 1994.Herbs.-Eyewitness Handbooks
  2. Foster, S. and Duke, J. 1990. Eastern /Central Medicinal Plants (Peterson Field Guides)
  3. Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics 6th ED. 1980
  4. Grieve, M 1931 Ibid
  5. Merck Index 1968. 8th ED.
  6. Moore, M. 1993. Ibid
  7. PDR for Herbal Medicines 1998. 1st ED.
  8. United States Dispensatory 1947. 24th ED.
Medicines of the Earth, 2005
Ryan Drum, PhD., AHG, Waldron, WA 98297

All of Yarrow - great details on Wildcrafting

The following is from
I loved it!!

YARROW Achillea spp.

Tools: anvil pruner, cotton string, collection buckets, baskets or bags.
Aerial parts of yarrow are harvested at least three different ways, each yielding a significantly different product.


In the late spring and early summer lush aromatic basal rosette leaves of yarrow are harvested singly and dried by laying in thin layers on flat racks, or the loose leaves are tied, butts together into 1/2-3/4" thick bunches and hung to dry inside at 70-80oF. Lush-leaved crowns may be cut off intact at ground level and hung individually inside upside down to dry; drying time may take up to two weeks. Store in airtight, opaque containers when dry. Basal leaves dried and powdered make an excellent styptic which is mildly antiseptic, analgesic, hemostatic and can be applied directly to open wounds, especially shallow scrapes.


Yarrow flower tops can be harvested at any stage after the stalked inflorescence has noticeably formed, until the floral petals turn gray, brown, or droop. I prefer a mix of equal amounts of unopened flower tops, yellow-staminate recently opened flower tops, and mature, pollinated flower tops plus some stalk leaves. Flower tops are hand-snapped quickly without pruners when flowers are closed or staminate. After pollination, the entire flowering top becomes woodier and can be grasped with the chelate hand and cut with an anvil pruner in the cutting hand into a basket, bucket or strong paper bag. Flowering tops are best gathered on cloudy cool days or before 9 AM on sunny days. Drying time for flowering tops is 5-10 days at 70-90°F, depending on the ambient humidity and the woodiness of the material being dried.


My teacher, Ella Birzneck, a famous Canadian herbal healer, insisted on using the entire aerial plant in most of her yarrow medicine, i.e. all of the basal leaves (discarding dead and damaged leaves) and all of the flowering stalk (leaves, stem and flowers). We cut the stems and leaves by hand into little pieces and dried them on flat racks. She worked healing miracles.
This harvest technique is hard on the plant as Yarrow spreads mostly by vegetative runners. Care should be taken therefore, to not disturb their shallow-rooted crowns. If you do, please kindly replant them. Yarrow reproduces sexually cleistogamously, so harvesting the bold terminal flowering tops will not eliminate successful seed production. If only the initial apical flowering tops are harvested, residual axillary floral buds lower on the flowering stalk will produce more flowers. When I harvest wild plants I leave an offering, usually a small crystal or some seaweed. I try to be ever mindful of exchanging gifts and giving thanks.


Yarrow stalks for divination are best snapped off at the ground at the full moon just after most flowers are pollinated. These flower stalks are hung tied together in bundles of 11,13,or 21, butts up, to dry, after first cutting off the flower tops. Dry inside at 80°F, 6-I4 days. After drying, gently strip leaves from stalks; store stems as fine medicine. These active-constituent-loaded will add clarity when used to consult the oracle (I Ching) due to palmar percutaneous perfusion of bioactive molecules.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Purplicious Potion

Purplicious Potion
Serve up this all-natural drink for your Halloween party or any other festivity, all with no artificial colors.
Recipe by Laura Bashar of Family Spice


12 oz pineapple juice
8 oz pomegranate juice
10 oz vodka
2 oz Triple Sec
2 oz Malibu Rum
8 chunks of pineapple, fresh, optional (2 per glass)

In a pitcher combine:
12 oz pineapple juice
8 oz pomegranate juice
At this point you could serve this as a non-alcoholic drink, but for kick stir in:
10 oz vodka
2 oz Triple Sec
2 oz Malibu Rum
Divide evenly into 4 glasses and garnish with:
8 chunks of pineapple, fresh , optional (2 per glass)
Prep Time: 2 min
Cook Time: 0 min

Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 5
Serving Size: 4 oz
Serving Suggestions: Drop some chunks of dry ice for creepy effects!

Cooking Tips: If the juice is too strong for the kids' taste, stir in some lemon-lime soda to the pomegranate-pineapple mix.

Alone and dark inside
... mourning the happiness lost so long ago

Herb Grinding Blessing

When you are grinding your dry herbs into powder... increase their energy by saying this "Herb Grinding Blessing"

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Different Types & Traditions of Witches

The Different Types & Traditions of Witches
Alexandrian -
Founded in England during the 1960's by Alexander Sanders, self-proclaimed "King of the Witches". An offshoot of Gardnerian, Alexandrian covens focus strongly upon training, emphasizing on areas more generally associated with ceremonial magic, such as Qabalah, Angelic Magic and Enochian. The typical Alexandrian coven has a hierarchical structure, and generally meets on weekly, or at least on Full Moons, New Moons and Sabbats. Rituals are usually done skyclad.
Most Alexandrian covens will allow non-initiates to attend circles, usually as a "neophyte," who undergoes basic training in circle craft prior to being accepted for the 1st degree initiation. Alexandrian Wicca uses essentially the same tools and rituals as Gardnerian Wicca, though in some cases, the tools are used differently, and the rituals have been adapted. Another frequent change is to be found in the names of deities and guardians of the Quarters. In some ways these differences are merely cosmetic, but in others, there are fundamental differences in philosophy. Over the last 30 years, the two traditions have moved slowly towards each other, and the differences which marked lines of demarcation are slowly fading away.

Appalachian 'Granny' Tradition: 
A tradition dating back to the first settlers of the Appalachian Mountains who came to the United States from Scotland and Ireland in the 1700's and who brought with them their "Old World" magical traditions. Those traditions were then blended with the local tradition of the Cherokee Tribes into a combination of local herbal folk remedies and charms, faith healing, storytelling and magick. The 'Granny' Witches will often call themselves 'Doctor Witches' or 'Water Witches' depending upon whether they are more gifted in healing and midwifery, or if they are more in tune with dowsing for water, lay lines and energy vortexes. This tradition is termed 'Granny' from the prominent role played by older women in the mountain communities. 
Asian Traditions: 
In Japan, the Shinto religion is itself a shamanistic religion and thus the Japanese do not attach negative connotations to witchcraft. The word "witch" is actually used with positive connotation in the Japanese language as a female with high skills or fame. Asian witchcraft generally centers on the relationship between the witch and the animal spirits or familiars and in Japanese witchcraft, witches are commonly separated into two categories: those who employ snakes as familiars and those who employ foxes; the Fox Witch being the most commonly seen witch in Japan. In China, witches employs books, staffs, and other implements, similar to the western traditions of witchcraft and the witches are often accompanied by familiars in the form of rabbits, which are universally associated with the Moon, with fertility and with the Goddess. The witches of China are notable for their  extensive knowledge of the occult properties of plants and herbs, as well as for clairvoyance and the study of astrology.

Augury Witch:
Similar to a shaman in practice, the augury witch will help to direct those on a spiritual quest by interpreting the signs and symbols the traveler encounters.  The term derives from the official Roman augurs, whose function was not to foretell the future but to discover whether or not the gods approved of a proposed course of action by interpreting signs or omen such as the appearance of animals sacred to the gods. It is important to note that augury witches are not "fortune tellers", as their gifts are of prophecy and not divination. In the context of prophecy, in his Scottish play Shakespeare's witches appear as augury witches.

British Tradition:
Primarily a mixture of traditional Celtic and pagan beliefs from the pre-Christian era. They often train through a structured degree process and their covens are usually compromised of practitioners of both sexes

Caledonii (Hecatine) Tradition:
A denomination of The Craft that comes from a Scottish origin which preserves the unique rituals of the Scots. A fairly secretive tradition, not much is known of their rituals by outsiders.

The Celtic path is really many traditions under the general heading of "Celtic." It encompasses Druidism, Celtic Shamanism, Celtic Wicca or Witta, the Grail Religion, and Celtic Christianity or Culdees. Each path is unique and stand alone meld together with another and still be part of the Celtic tradition. It is primarily derived from the ancient pre Christian Celtic religion of Gaul and the British Isles.
As it is practiced today, most of the Celtic paths are part of the Neo-Pagan revival, focusing on Nature and healing with group and individual rituals that honor the Ancient Shining Ones and the Earth. Most are very eclectic, and hold to the Celtic myths, divinities, magic and rituals. Celtic paths are some of the more popular traditions.
Goes by the elements, the Ancient Ones and nature. They are usually healers or respect them highly. They work with plants, stones, flowers, trees, the elemental people, the gnomes and the fairies.

Celtic Wicca -
Celtic Wicca focuses mainly on Celtic and Druidic gods and goddesses (along with a few other Anglo-Saxon pantheon). The rituals are formed after Gardnerian traditions with a stronger emphasis on nature. Celtic Wicca also puts much emphasis on working with elementals and nature spirits such as fairies and gnomes. Gods and Goddesses are usually called "The Ancient Ones."

Ceremonial Witchcraft -
This tradition is very exacting in its ritual. All rituals are usually followed by the book, to the letter and with much ceremony. Little emphasis is put on nature. This tradition may incorporate some Egyptian magic, Quabbalistic magic, and derived from the works of Aleister Crowley. They may use a combination of disciplines drawn from the Old Ways, but will often employ more scientific precisions such as sacred mathematics and quantum mysticism as well.  They will also call upon an eclectic blend of spiritual entities, leaning towards archetypal figures representative of the energies they wish to manifest. They are more spiritually centered than most ceremonial magicians, using an Earth-centered path with focus on the Divine within.
Cornish Tradition:
The traditional magic of Cornish Witches commonly includes the work of the making and provision of magical charms, simple rituals and magical gestures with muttered incantations, the healing of disease and injury and divination. 
Dianic Tradition:
A mixture of different traditions. Its primary focus is the Goddess who is worshiped in her three aspects of Maiden, Mother and Crone.  A "divine feminine tradition", its covens are mostly for women only. To an outside observer, Dianic Witchcraft may appear as a single tradition, but actually it is an intertwined group of traditions that have influenced each other over the centuries and millenia. This is the most feminist Craft Tradition. Most Dianic covens worship the Goddess exclusively (Diana and Artemis are the most common manifestations) and most today are women only. Rituals are eclectic; some are derived from Gardnerian and Faery traditions, while others have been created anew. Emphasis is on rediscovering and reclaiming female power and divinity, consciousness-raising, and combining politics with spirituality. The Dianic Craft included two distinct branches:
The first Dianic coven in the U.S. was formed in the late '60s by Margan McFarland and Mark Roberts, in Dallas, Texas. This branch gives primacy to the Goddess in its theology, but honors the Horned God as Her beloved Consort. Covens include both women and men. This branch is sometimes called 'Old Dianic,' and there are still covens of this tradition specially in Texas. Other coven, similar in theology but not directly descended from the McFarland/Roberts line are sprinkled around the country.
The other branch, Feminist Dianic Witchcraft, focuses exclusively on the Goddess and consists of women-only covens, often with a strong lesbian presence. These tend to be loosely structured and non-hierarchical, using consensus decision making and simple, creative, experimental ritual. They are politically feminist groups, usually very supportive, personal and emotionally intimate. The major network is Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess. Z Budapest founded the Susan B. Anthony Coven in 1971, declaring Dianic Witchcraft to be "Wimmin's Religion". The Women's Spirituality Forum was Founded by Z Budapest in 1986, and is dedicated to bringing Goddess consciousness to the mainstream of feminist consciousness through lectures and, retreats, classes, cable TV shows, and rituals in the effort to achieve spiritual and social liberation.
  • Arcadian Tradition: A form of Dianic witchcraft, except that Arcadians place greater focus on the divine masculine along with the divine feminine. Unlike most Dianic groups, this Tradition allows both male and female members.
Draconic Wicca:
Draconic Wicca is the utilization of the powers of the dragons. There are as many dragons as there are people. They are as varied as humans are also. We work with these dragons to achieve the results that we seek. In doing so, we have to deal with the unique personalities of each type of dragon. The dragons have no real hierarchy other than age, except for the case of The Dragon. The Dragon is the combined powers of the God and the Goddess. The Dragon is invoked or evoked during Sabbats and in times when great magick is needed (not when you can not find your keys). Invoking means to call into you the power of the dragon that you name i.e. a fire dragon. You ask that this dragon assume himself/herself into your spiritual body. To evoke means to call a dragon to you, to join you in your magickal workings.
Druidic -
Neo-Druids are polytheistic worshipers of Mother Earth. Very little is known today about ancient Druidism and there are many gaps in the writings that have been found. Modern Druids practice their religion in areas where nature has been preserved - usually wooded areas. Druidic ritual often employs sacrifices to the Mother Goddess. These sacrifices often include grain, sometimes meat. These ritual sacrifices are often accompanied by a verse not unlike the following: "Earth Mother, giver of life we return to you a measure of the bounty you have provided may you be enriched and your wild things be preserved."
Eclectic -
Refers to groups and individuals who do not fully adhere to one specific form of Paganism. They choose to incorporate some beliefs, practices, rituals etc, of a few, or many paths to form a unique one that suits their spiritual needs.
They do not follow a particular religion or tradition, but study and learn from many different systems and use what works best for them.
Egyptian - 
Believed that with Heka, the activation of the Ka, an aspect of the soul of both gods and humans, (and divine personification of magic), they could influence the gods and gain protection, healing and transformation. Health and wholeness of being were sacred to Heka. There is no word for religion in the ancient Egyptian language as mundane and religious world views were not distinct; thus, Heka was not a secular practice but rather a religious observance. Every aspect of life, every word, plant, animal and ritual was connected to the power and authority of the gods.
In ancient Egypt, magic consisted of four components; the primeval potency that empowered the creator-god was identified with Heka, who was accompanied by magical rituals known as Seshaw held within sacred texts called Rw. In addition Pekhret, medicinal prescriptions, were given to patients to bring relief. This magic was used in temple rituals as well as informal situations by priests. These rituals, along with medical practices, formed an integrated therapy for both physical and spiritual health. Magic was also used for protection against the angry deities, jealous ghosts, foreign demons and sorcerers who were thought to cause illness, accidents, poverty and infertility. Temple priests used wands during magical rituals

Faery Witch:
An eclectic witch who seeks to commune with faery folk and nature spirits in their magick workings. They have no organization or tradition and it has developed of its own accord through common practice. (Not to be confused with the 'Feri Movement' )

Victor and Cora Anderson are the original teachers of the Feri Tradition. Victor is universally recognized as the Grand Master of his order of Feri. He was initiated in 1926 by a priestess from Africa. He is also one of the last genuine Kahuna. His book of poetry, Thorns of the Blood Rose, is considered a contemporary Pagan classic.
In 1959, Victor initiated the late Gwydion Pendderwen (age 13 at the time), who later became a leading voice in the Feri Tradition. Gwydion concentrated on the Welsh Celtic aspects; whereas Victor and Cora still practice the tradition as it was originally, with Huna and African diasporic influences, primarily Dahomean-Haitian. The Feri Tradition honors the Goddess and Her son, brother and lover (The Divine Twins) as the primary creative forces in the universe. The Gods are seen as real spirit beings like ourselves, not merely aspects of our psyche.
It is an ecstatic, rather than fertility tradition, emphasizing on polytheism, practical magic, self-development and theurgy. Strong emphasis is placed on sensual experience and awareness,including sexual mysticism, which is not limited to heterosexual expression. This is a mystery tradition of power, mystery, danger, ecstasy, and direct communication with divinity. Most initiates are in the arts and incorporate their own poetry, music and invocations into rituals.
The Tradition is gender-equal, and all sexual orientations seem able to find a niche. According to Francesca De Grandis, founder of the 3rd Road branch: "Faerie power is not about a liturgy but about one's body: a Fey shaman's blood and bones are made of stars and Faerie dust. A legitimate branch of Faerie is about a personal vision that is the Fey Folks' gift to a shaman."
Initially small and secretive, many of the fundamentals of the Tradition have reached a large audience trough the writings of Starhawk, the most famous initiate. Some secret branches remain. While only a few hundred initiates can trace their lineage directly to Victor Anderson, many thousands are estimated to practice neo-Faery Traditions.

Gardnerian -
Gardnerian witchcraft was begun in England and is Wiccan in nature. It was formed by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. Gerald Gardner was the first to publicize witchcraft in an effort to preserve the "old ways."
Further developed by Doreen Valiente and others. Gardner was initiated into a coven of Witches in the New Forest region of England in 1939 by a High Priestess named 'Old Dorothy' Clutterbuck. In 1949 he wrote High Magic's Aid, a novel about medieval Witchcraft in which quite a bit of the Craft as practiced by the coven was used.
In 1951 the last of the English laws against Witchcraft were repealed (primarily due to the pressure of Spiritualists) and Gardner published Witchcraft Today, which set forth a version of rituals and traditions of that coven.
Gardner gave his Tradition a ritual framework strongly influenced by Freemasonry and Crowley and ceremonial magic, as well as traditional folk magic and Tantric Hinduism. The Tradition was brought to the USA in 1965 by Raymond & Rosemary Buckland, who were initiated in 1964 by the Gardner's High Priestess, Lady Olwen.
Gardnerian covens are always headed by a High Priestess and have three degrees of initiation closely paralleling the Masonic degrees. Worship is centered on the Goddess and the Horned God. The tradition emphasizes polarity in all things, fertility, and the cycle of birth-death-rebirth. Eight seasonal Sabbats are observed, and the Wiccan Rede is the guiding principle. Power is raised through scourging and sex magick ("The Great Rite"), as well as meditation, chanting, astral projection, dancing, wine and cords. Designed for group/coven work, through solitary workings have been created. Covens work skyclad.

Green Witch:
A practitioner of of witchcraft whose focus is on the use of natural items and places. The goal of the Green Witch is upon achieving magic through communion with Mother Nature and using Her energies.

Gypsy tradition-
It uses simple spells and rituals to harness the power of nature and of the elemental spirits that are all around us. evidence strongly demonstrates that they actually originated in India, and moved west, migrating through the middle east into Europe. Although the Gypsies call themselves 'Rom' and their language is known as'Romani', the Romani language has nothing in common with the language known as Romanian (which is a Romance language, derived from Latin and kin to French, Spanish, Italian, etc.). Romanibeen shown to be closely related to groups of languages and dialects (such as Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi and Cashmiri) still spoken in India and of the same origin as Sanskrit.
They were often described as dark-skinned magicians, entertainers, smiths, horsebreakers and other skilled tradeworkers. There is a good possibility that they originated belly dancing.
They lived in tents. Gypsy wagons are a recent introduction. The wagons date from the late 18th early 19th century. Before that, they travelled by foot and horseback, setting up tents by night. The classic gypsy caravan wagons were usually built by commercial carriage shops for the gypsies, since they took a lot of woodworking and other equipment.
Reliable period info on gypsies is sadly lacking- the only people writing about them were the ones who wanted rid of them at all cost. I think it was in the fifteenth century that the pogroms against them really got rolling...Because gypsies have remained very secluded and secretive, cultural "tainting" has been comparatively low, and modern practices may well reflect medieval practices.
In France it was thought that these same people came from Bohemia and thus they were called 'Bohemes'.... [thus began the English word "bohemian"]. There are Elizabethan laws against dressing or acting "as an Egyptian," which from the descriptions seem to be what we would call 'gypsies.' It is quite possible that the word "gypsy" came into use as an abreviation of "Egyptian" somewhat later than the actual arrival of the Rom in England.
The Romnichels, or Rom'nies, began to come to the United States from England in 1850. Their arrival coincided with an increase in the demand for draft horses in agriculture and then in urban transportation. Many Romnichels worked as horse traders, both in the travel-intensive acquisition of stock and in long-term urban sales stable enterprise. After the rapid decline in the horse trade following the First World War, most Romnichels relied on previously secondary enterprises, "basket-making," including the manufacture and sale of rustic furniture, and fortune telling.
The Rom arrived in the United States and Canada from Serbia, Russia and Austria-Hungary beginning in the 1880s, as part of the larger wave of immigration from southern and eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Primary immigration ended, for the most part, in 1914, with the beginning of the First World War and subsequent tightening of immigration restrictions. Many in this group specialized in coppersmith work, mainly the repair and refining of industrial equipment used in bakeries, laundries, confectioneries and other businesses. The Rom, too, developed the fortune-telling business in urban areas.
The Ludar, or "Rumanian Gypsies," emigrated to North America during the great immigration from southern and eastern Europe between 1880 and 1914. Most of the Ludar came from northwestern Bosnia. Upon their arrival in North America they specialized as animal trainers and show people, and indeed passenger manifests show bears and monkeys as a major part of their baggage. Only a handful of items covering this group have been published, beginning in 1902. The ethnic language of the Ludar is a form of Romanian. They are occasionally referred to as Ursari in the literature.
Gypsies from Germany, generally referred to in the literature as Chikeners (Pennsylvania German, from German Zigeuner), sometimes refer to themselves as "Black Dutch." (While the term "Black Dutch" has been adopted by these German Gypsies, it does not originate with this group and has been used ambiguously to refer to several non-Gypsy populations.) They are few in number and claim to have largely assimilated to Romnichel culture. In the past known as horse traders and basket makers, some continue to provide baskets to US Amish and Mennonite communities. The literature on this group is very sparse and unreliable.
The Hungarian (or Hungarian-Slovak) musicians also came to this country with the eastern European immigration. In the United States they continued as musicians to the Hungarian and Slovak immigrant settlements, and count the musical tradition as a basic cultural element.
The Irish Travelers immigrated, like the Romnichels, from the mid to late nineteenth century. The Irish Travelers specialized in the horse and mule trade, as well as in itinerant sales of goods and services; the latter gained in importance after the demise of the horse and mule trade. The literature also refers to this group as Irish Traders or, sometimes, Tinkers. Their ethnic language is referred to in the literature as Irish Traveler Cant.
The present population of Scottish Travelers in North America also dates from about 1850, although the 18th-century transportation records appear to refer to this group. Unlike that of the other groups, Scottish Traveler immigration has been continuous. Also unlike the other groups, Scottish Travelers have continued to travel between Scotland and North America, as well as between Canada and the United States, after immigration. Scottish Travelers also engaged in horse trading, but since the first quarter of the 20th century have specialized in itinerant sales and services.
Much of this information came from the Gypsy Lore Society.

Hinduism - The Atharva Veda is a veda that deals with mantras that can be used for both good and bad. The word mantrik in India literally means "magician" since the mantrik usually knows mantras, spells, and curses which can be used for or against all forms of magic. Tantra is likewise employed for ritual magic by the tantrik. Many ascetics after long periods of penance and meditation are alleged to attain a state where they may utilize supernatural powers. However, many say that they choose not to use them and instead focus on transcending beyond physical power into the realm of spirituality. Many siddhars are said to have performed miracles that would ordinarily be impossible to perform.

Hedge Witch:
Hedgecraft is a path that is somewhat shamanic in nature, as they are practitioners of an Earth-based spirituality. These are the ones who engage in spirit flight and journey into the Otherworld. They can, in this capacity, be very powerful midwives and healers. A bird of one kind or another is usually associated with the Hedge Witch, most commonly the raven and the goose. The term “hedge” signified the boundary of the village and represents the boundary that exists between this world and the spiritual realm.

Hereditary Witch:
Also known as a Family Tradition Witch, it is someone who has been taught "The Old Ways " as a tradition passed down through the generations of their family. Though you may be born into a family with the tradition, you cannot be born a witch, a conscious decision and acceptance of “The Craft” is necessary to become a witch.
Born into a witch family and brought up learning about witchcraft. Many witches claim to be hereditary witches when in fact, they are not. You must be brought up in a family of witches to be a hereditary witch.

Kitchen (Cottage)Witch:
A practitioner of witchcraft who uses the tools at hand to work their spells and create their rituals and who deals with the practical sides of religion, magick and the Elements of the Earth. Some who hear the term “Kitchen Witch” may think it is a magickal art confined only to the kitchen or cooking, but it is much more. It is about the finding of the sacred in everyday tasks, no matter how mundane they may appear to be. An increasingly popular type of witchcraft, it is about working with the energies of nature to make the hearth and home a secure and sacred place.

Pictish Tradition:
Originally from Scotland, it is a "solitary witch" form of "The Craft". Pictish Witchcraft attunes itself to all aspects of nature; animal, vegetable, and mineral and it is more magickal in nature and practice than it is religious with little emphasis on religion, Gods, or Goddesses.. Pictish witches perform solitary and rarely, if ever work in groups or covens.

Pow-Wow Tradition: (from the Algonquin word “pauwau",  which means literally "vision seeker" )
Comes from South Central Pennsylvania and is a system based on a 400 year old Elite German magick. They concentrate on simple faith healing.  Its principles encompass shamanic like rituals of healing through visions and the application of traditional medicines, which are often accompanied by prayers, incantations, songs, and dances. The word pauwau (pow-wow) was came to be used for Native American ceremonies and councils because of the important role played by the pauwau in both. The Pow Wow Tradition places great significance on the vision seeker as the nexus of  group (coven) activites and rituals. Though some claim that the Pow-Wow Tradition is German in origin, it is more of an amalgamation of local Native American traditions with those traditions of the German/Dutch immigrants of pagan heritage who settled in the Pennsylvania region of the United States.

Seax-Wicca -
This tradition was begun in 1973 by Raymond Buckland. Buckland and works on Saxon principles of religion and magic.
Shaman -
Shamanism puts no emphasis on religion or on pantheon. Shamans work completely with nature: rocks, trees, animals, rivers, etc. Shamans know the Earth and their bodies and minds well and train many long years to become adept at astral travel and healing.
Shamanic Witchcraft:
This term refers to practices associated with those of tribal shamans in traditional Pagan cultures throughout the world. A shaman combines the roles of healer, priest (ess), diviner, magician, teacher and spirit guide, utilizing altered states of consciousness to produce and control psychic phenomena and travel to and from the spirit realm. Followers of this path believe that historical Witchcraft was the shamanic practice of European Pagans; and Medieval Witches actually functioned more as village shamans than as priests and priestesses of the Old Religion."
Shamanic Witchcraft emphasizes serving the wider community through rituals, herbalism, spell craft, healings, counseling, rites of passage, handfastings, Mystery initiations, etc. The distinguishing element of Shamanic Witchcraft is the knowledge and sacramental use of psychotropic plants to effect transitions between worlds. The theory and practice of Shamanic Witchcraft has permeated widely though out many other established Traditions.
Solitary Witch (Solitaire):
This is one who practices alone, without a coven and without following any particular tradition. Sometimes they are among that class of natural witches whose skills have been developed in previous lifetimes.
Often, solitaries choose to mix different systems, much like an eclectic witch. Solitaries can also form their own religious beliefs as they are not bound by the rules of a coven.
There is a legend among witches that after practicing for several lifetimes, the knowledge of "The Craft" is awakened upon passing puberty.

Satanic Witch: "They are not witches"  Witches do not worship Satan..

Stregheria is the form of witchcraft native to Italy; there are several distinct traditions sharing common roots, in various parts of Italy. Also called, La Vecchia Religione, Stregheria is a nature-based religion, it's followers worship the forces of Nature, personified as gods and goddesses. The witches of La Vecchia Religione are called Streghe (plural), with the title Strega (for a female), Stregone (for a male).
Stregheria is rooted in the folk religion of the Latins (the Romans being one Latin people) and the Etruscans. In the particular tradition, taught by Raven Grimassi in Ways of the Strega, the pantheon is different from the urban gods of the Romans, though some of those deities were shared with the Latins, and the Etruscans, most notably Diana, whose worship was focused at a temple at Lake Nemi in the Alban Hills. There are however other traditions of Stregheria in Italy, who may worship the urban gods of the Romans.
The particular tradition taught by Raven Grimassi in Ways of the Strega, is derived from a renewal that occurred in the 14th century brought about by a wise woman from Tuscany called Aradia. This does not imply that witchcraft in Italy began in the 14th century. La Vecchia Religione is an evolution of pre-christian religions in Italy. The tradition taught by Aradia was a revival of the Old Ways during a time of extreme persecution of the peasants of Italy.

Teutonic (Nordic) Tradition:
From ancient times the Teutons have been recognized as a group of people who speak the Germanic group of languages. A Nordic tradition of witchcraft, that includes beliefs and practices from many cultures including Swedish, Dutch, and Icelandic. A Teutonic Witch finds inspiration in the traditional myths and legends and in the Gods and Goddesses of the areas where these dialects originated.  

Welsh Tradition: Originating in Wales, Welsh witches believe themselves to be one of the oldest traditions. Members are "awakened" to their calling and pass through 9 levels of attainment. It is hereditary, but you can "convert".

Wicca -
Probably the most popular form of witchcraft. Wicca is highly religious in nature and has a good balance between religion/ceremonial magic and nature. Wiccans believe in a God and Goddess who are equal in all things, although some may lean more toward the Dianic form of Wicca, worshipping only the Goddess or lowering the God to an "assistant" status. Wiccans commonly form covens and rarely work alone.
Wiccan Shamanism-
Founded by Selena Fox in the 1980's. Ecumenical and multicultural focus. Combination of Wicca, humanistic psychology and a variety of shamanistic practices from around the world. Emphasis on healing. Uses traditional shamanistic techniques to change consciousness, such as drumming and ecstatic dancing.
All information compiled and Written by ~Citrine Waters~
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