Bavarian Folk Remedy: Schwarzer Radi Hustensaft

Growing up I was always intrigued by and passionate about folk remedies and superstions.  Information I often held near and dear to my heart was when elders in my family would tell me bits of folk-wisdom that they knew growing up.

I believe my attraction and fascination to such truly was a major element in nurturing and cultivating my spiritual path and practice.

Another aspect of this is that I find many nowadays seem to see all such tales or information of nothing with any real-world merit. However, we’re forgetting one simple fact: much of our modern knowledge, understanding and advancements in modern medicine often have a foundation in  old folk remedies. Such examples include: the cherished benefits of honey. We now know in a modern scientific world why that is.  Along with certain plants and herbs being associated with healing and protection. Often such plants actually contain anti-bacterial or anti-fungal properties.

With observing such trends  this further fueled my fascination with studying such things often referred to as “old folk-remedies” and “wives tales.” I found a deep connection and sense of pride connecting with my German/Northern European heritage by studying the folk beliefs, customs, and even superstitions of my ancestors.  As well learning comparative customs from the cultures of surrounding peoples. And of course as anyone of a German or Scandivian background will know that even within one respective general group there is much variation. One example is that my own family background is that more so of Scandinavian and North-German or rather my family is predominantly of a Plattdeutsch background.

Many are often intrigued to notice that there is some actual major variation of my specific background and that of my significant other’s who is Bayerische   (Bavarian.)   In-fact even in-terms of dialect and language I can honestly say that I have a hard (nearly impossible) time trying to understand a conversation between my fiancé and in-laws.  The type of Deutsch they speak sounds much different than that of the Platt or Pommern dialect Hochdeutsch and the accents I heard my own grandparents speak.  Just as how I believed my fiancé must have had the most terrific childhood ever cause you know….. They have Krampus!

When meeting my now soon to be husband we immediately bounded over our love and passion of lore, history and our culture. And of course for me it allowed me to discover a whole new world of German customs and lore that I was previously not entirely familiar with.  The fascinating thing about the Bavarian and Alpine people is that they have so wonderfully kept their traditions and customs in-tact.

One instance I recall last fall I was preparing my usual tinctures and remedies I always keep on hand for the fall and winter season ecspecially.  A lot of garlic infusions along with elberberry and echinacea blends. Mixtures I create both for their handy medicinal uses ecspecially for assisting the immune system in the cold season along with uses in Hexerei workings to do with such works in a magical manner.  As I was doing so my fiancé was watching “Bayersiche YouTube” he came across a video and said “Here this! You will find of interest. This is a popular remedy back home. I know it from growing up.”  He then explained to me  the subject matter something called  “Schwarzer Radi Hustensaft” roughly translated to English it would be “Black Radish Cough syrup.”  He explained to me that this remedy has been popular with and prepared by the Alpine people for centuries.

The ingredients for the preparation of such would be as follows:

~Schwarzer Radi (Black Radish)  or sometimes it is often called “Black Spanish Radish.”

~Brown sugar or raw cane sugar

~Honey

Preperation method involves first cutting the top off of the black radish. Then from here you want cut into some of the inner-flesh hollowing some of it out as to make a funnel  with the radish.

Like so:

As you can see you want your radish to sit on top of a glass/ container as a funnel would. From here place your brown sugar into the radish, then pour in your honey.

What happens now is your ingredients will slowly sift into the glass. The process should take a couple hours. Thus the honey and sugar is slowly being infused with the juices and properties of the black radish.

This is the most common and traditional “Bavarian method” that I was informed of. However, off hand I know that some may find it easier to make a similar such concoction by means similar to how I make my own garlic infused honey/syrup.

This can be done by dicing the radish into pieces or cubes. Letting it steep in honey for sometime. An additional step (if desired) one can also add chopped garlic cloves to add the added benefits of garlic.

~So what is it about the black radish?

Of course I am sure many are familiar with why honey and it’s benefits are so popular ecspecially in such remedies.

But one some may not be entirley familiar with is that of the black radish! Well it’s basically one of those roots that has a long history of being prized in lore and remedies by many peoples and for good reason! The black radish is rich in Vitamin C (for one.) Also, having antimicrobial and antibacterial properties along with being rich in antioxidants the black radish is without a doubt a boon for many reasons.

Along with being useful in such cold and flu remedies (as one can guess) it’s also a food with many nutritious benefits. As well even has benefits  for topical uses such as for hair and skin care.

Since the black radish is antimicrobial and antibacterial  it can be very useful for helping to treat blemish prone skin. Along with being rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C which is nourishing and beneficial for all skin-types.

Plus it has been used in many tonics to help the liver as well. In-fact it has a long history of this.

The vegetable was orginally thought to be native to South Asia. However, there is still much speculation about this and it’s origins. However, none the less this root vegetable has been used throughout history and in various cultures for both medicine and food. Everywhere from Asia, the Mediterranean, and  even Egypt where it is depicted in tomb illustrations  from 2000 B.C.

And of course in the past centuries it made it’s way into Europe where it then became a popular and most prized food and medicine among many. And still is to this very day with the Alpine people!

 

So so next time you recall an old tale, remedy or even story that you heard? Remember! Look into it! Study it! Maybe after all…. There really was something to it. Remember your ancestors were no more or less capable than you. The only thing that really sets you a part from them is modern advancement.

Other than that? Not only are you “no different” but some (including myself) may argue:  “You ARE them.”

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For The Midsummer High-Tide

As of late, I have had the wonderful opportunity to travel, getting to observe and become familiar with various different landscapes. So of course such adventures keeps one occupied but none the less gives one the chance to experience and become familiar with new forms of wisdom and lore to share. (Wherever I travel or reside I make it a point to become familiar with the local plants and superstitions of the people.)

Coupled with the fact that as the tides turn from spring to summer I find myself spending more time in the natural environment and taking up such tasks and participating in hobbies that pertain to such. Gardening, going out observing, as well as foraging what the local wild-life and woods has to offer in the current season of it’s full peak of activity. Where as during other tides or tide transitions such as the fall I find myself harvesting and enjoying the “fruits of labor”  (literally and metaphorically.) Going from this and into winter I find myself more focused on in-door activities, crafting,  entertaining and celebrating with family and immediate folk.

*A theme that can be observed with even our most ancient ancestors as it was known that the normally hospitable Germanic tribes and Nordfolk became more reserved with their practices and customs as Winter Nights began to usher in.  A time when they prepared for the all-important Jul-tide and kept their affairs to their priority obligations. That being: kin and closest communal folk. *

As the cold tide lets up, and starts to make way for spring bringing re-birth to the land the first signs of “movement” begin to show again. I find myself preparing for the sowing of seeds. Spending the last bits of cold and sleep that the landscape has, preparing for awakening I often begin to embark on or rather prepare for new endeavours. Discussing, sharing, and presenting that which I have reflected upon and studied during   the “rest time” of the land. Ready to open up again to those outside of immediate kin. Or rather like the mother-bear awakening from her long winter hibernation.  The ancient Nordfolk Barbarian woman stepping out and able to be hospitable to the world abroad once again. There is a reason why I decided that this year at the beginning of spring that I would start this blog.  Starting off rather having it’s introduction with such posts pertaining to Easter Witches of the Scandinavian people. A custom and tradition of Germanic people that alludes to their most ancient ethno-cultural celebrations and rites that far pre-date their interaction with any modern concept of “religion.” And even then we know that such customs never disappeared but merely forced the customs of the new institution from outside peoples to assimilate to it.       Another post of introduction was that regarding mutterbirke. The lore of the birch tree. Known as the “mother tree” to almost all peoples of the European continent. As this was the first tree to take root after the ice-age receded.  Thus the birch has always and will always have a certain strong symbolism of such regarding such attributes of renewal, rebirth and “purification.”

With all of this said: for me Heidentum or “Heathenism” (whatever the term one must use to best to describe it in a modern world where we need to identify ourselves as such.) Is for me not just what I call myself or what I could best respond with if  an unfamiliar person asked me “what religion?” Rather it is also my way of life. It’s a spirituality that does not separate parts of my life into “mundane versus scared matters.”   Such things for me live symbiotically or as one. There is little separation there in regards to this. Which in my personal opinion? (If I maybe so bold to say.)  Any path that is merely words or practices that cannot be somehow reconciled with or reflect (to at least some degree) one’s daily practical life? Is (in my opinion) a path that has become “spiritually dead” (so to speak.)  Or rather if one finds that what they identify with (in theory) does not reconcile with them in actual practical matter or in “practice”? It is always my impression that such a person usually needs to do more searching and find who they “really are.”  *These are just my personal views.*

Thus the reason why I identify as heidnisch (aside from the fact that yes! I was raised as such!) Is because it is genuine to my personal views. It reflects my way of life. And thus: honors the value of my ancestors (both ancient and recent) of integrity. Defining myself as anything else would be disingenuous.

*But I digress.

With the mention and reflection of other seasonal tides: here we are now again at the tide of Midsummer. The peak or prime of the “warm season.”  When hearing such terms like “Mid” in regards to the solstices? I know that many who are only more familiar with more modern terms are often perplexed by this. As typically the Solstices are often referred to as the “First Day” of the respective season. However traditionally, the solstices were seen as the mid or climax of the season. Which makes sense if we look at it in the context of judging it by the solar phases.  As a  moon cycle is approximately a month (actually where the English word for month comes from a “Moonth.”)  In this monthly cycle we see the full moon, and the opposite which is the dark moon. Which oddly enough most modern calendars note the dark moon as the “new moon” when in-fact technically and traditionally the “new moon” would be the night proceeding when the moon begins to show / wax again.

A solar cycle goes through the same process, however it’s cycle being a year span. Summer Solstice (the longest day of the year) being the climax point, and Winter Solstice (the shortest day of the year) being the opposite side of the cycle the “dark phase” before the days begin to “wax” again.  Hence the festivity of Jultide being the most sacred for Germanic peoples. As originally by their calendar system this was the point of the year that was betwixt the end and beginning.

With this there is the other high-tide of great importance representing the opposite forces that are observed at Jultide. That being Midsummer. In-fact those of you who maybe of a Swedish background will know that the Swedish folk to this day have preserved the communal observance of  “midsommar.” Through-out Sweden one of the most well-known and important yearly celebrations is that of this tide.  Even today it is very common to see ladies and young children crafting and wearing the traditional krans.  The krans being the lovely headband or crown made from the local wild flowers or blooms from the garden that are in abundance this time of year.  As well one will also notice the iconic “Midsummer Tree” among Swedish festivities. This is actually a custom to as well as serves the same function as the “Maypole” or Maibaum erected and ecorated on Walpurgis more particularly with the Deutsch. Although we can see here the Germanic tradition of adorning sacred trees on special tides and festivities.  Much as how we see this with the Weihnachtenbaum or “Christmas Tree.”

So as anyone who was raised within the context of any Germanic cultural world-view one will be very well aware that are traditions with roots stemming back to our most ancient ancestors are alive and well.  Religions, eras, and what rules over us has come and gone throughout the ages (and will continue to.)  But our traditions and values in themselves always have been and always will be as long as we are a people.

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Also of course, Midsummer like any certain important tide of observance is ripe with lore and superstition pertaining to it.  One will stumble across many old-wives tales and folk beliefs or “divination methods” used by young maidens and suitors to divine who will be their future love.  One example of this: is the belief that if a young lady was to pick fresh flowers on Midsummer day and place them under her pillow, she would then that night dream of her future husband.  Another such method for beckoning one’s husband was for the young maiden to walk backwards into the garden on midsummer’s eve, pick a rose, sew it up into a pouch. Where it is then kept secretly in a drawer of her’s until Christmas day, she is then to wear it on her person. In some versions of the charm it is said that the first man to approach her or rather show admiration will be her future spouse.

It was also said the Midsummer was another time when fairies, elves, and nature spirits were active.  Thus we see many superstitions pertaining to contacting or seeing them on this day.  Like looking through a holed or “hag stone” on Midsummer midnight to peer into elphame. Or rubbing one’s body down with an ointment made of fern for this effect. Also gathering certain flowers and herbs like: fern, rowan blossom, thyme (to name a few) for creating charms to make pacts with such beings.

 

Another common practice or custom associated with Midsummer is that of harvesting or collecting herbs or flowers that will be used in crafting or charm weaving. It  is said that flora and herbs gathered at this time have a certain potency. Much as how it is also believed that gathering such on the full moon serves a similar function and belief. (As the Midsummer is the solar peak.)

 

With all of this said, I would like folk to keep in mind:  As a practioner or rather if you work from a Heidentum tradition you do not necessarily need some archaic ritual to celebrate such tides. In-fact if it is outside of your means or would take you out of what is practical or keeps you in-tune with your environment?  That would entirely defeat the purpose of any such things significance.  My advice? Take the day to go out into nature. Of course honor your gods and spirits as appropriate. But this can also be done be sharing with them this day.  Or be mindful of it’s beauty enjoy the woods, or whatever natural habitat of your geographic location is.  Spend time in your garden, tend to it, collect the flowers and herbs that are ready.  And of course give gratitude for such, and show admiration for the beauty of this season and the land that is around you. Also, one may even keep the memory of their people alive by observing the customs and superstitions that your elders may have had pertaining to or celebrated on this day.

 

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In Granny’s Attic and Among Antiques

One thing I have noticed with many young and contemporary folks who show interest in any area of esoteric study, occult or paganism is that in the recent decades there seems to be this trend of needing or searching out expensive goods. As well it seems to be common that many nowadays often have this notion that the most profound and potent occult wisdom will be found by pursuing some far-off foreign idea.

Many folks seem to be surprised when I tell them that some of the best compilation and  information regarding Germanic folk tradition and paganism/heathenism is found in the works of Brothers Grimm!

I have also noticed that many that are intrigued with and study such things like the history of Scandinavian folk magic will often be familiar with (and of course seek for) copies of a most valuable and old Cyprianus  or “Spabog” (Spabok/book.)

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And all too often even if you do find such tomes? Well you will need to be able to  read in one of the respective Scandinavian languages it was written or published in.

However, if there is one thing I have learned or rather noticed: being of a Dansk/Deutsch background but myself being raised in and spending much of my life in North America. Having the opportunity to hold the traditions of my elders but also observe the customs and superstionss of many people throughout the western world. Whether it be the German-Canadian and Ukranian immigrants of western Canada to the Hillfolk culture of the Appalachian peoples, to the root-workers of Louisiana,  Mississippi, and the rest of the southern United States.

All such regions and peoples not just of the “Old World” but the “New World” as well have their own thriving and rich folklore!

After all: What is a Spabog? A book of “fortune telling.”

What is an “old tradition” Wort-Cunning Crafter. Or rather what does the term “Wort Crafter” mean in modern North American English terms?  Well “Wort” is an Old English term for “root.” And surely those versed in New World Southern folk culture have heard the term “root worker” (or maybe even known a few.)

It was also interesting for me to note that when a Swedish friend of mine explained that in their language the term “troll” is synonymous with “spellcraft” as well noting that the term for a certain Nordic folk magic known as “Trolldom.” The Swedish word equivalent for the English word “conjure” would be “Trolla.” So I found it quite intriguing when first becoming aquaitanced with the conjure-lore of the Americans.

With all of this being said. I think many of my dear “New World” readers would be intrigued to hear about how I once found something along  the lines of a “Cyprianus type grimoire” in a lovely antique mall in western Canada.  But of course it was not called a “Cyprianus” and of course it was entirely written in English.  In-fact much as how some of the most valuable  old “folk wisdom ” of Germanic people is not found in over-priced modernized tomes or behind fancy veils. But rather among the pages of an old Almanac and the old superstitions taught to you by your Oma or Mormor. The same can be said for those in the New World and the wisdom of their Grannies and “Granny Ladies.”  Much as how simple old vintage paper books often disregarded  as the junk in “Grandma’s attic” that end up on a shelf in a flea-market  for 99 cents. Modern folks only seeing it’s value in face-value terms.  But! A rare gem for the Hexe that stumbles across such a thing!

Which was the case when my husband and I visited an antique mall in Canada. The same trip I also found an antique witch-ball. My husband stumbled across a less than a dollar, very worn and somewhat faded paperback booklet titled:   “The Great Book of Wonders Secrets And Mysteries.”

When skimming through the first introductory pages one can find intriguing little tricks and favours for amusement. Like a recipe for “Powder that Catches Fire When Exposed To Air.” As well as techniques for making “Artficial Illumination.” Then reading further in one can also find:   -A table of fortunate and unfortunate days. -Table for finding Lucky Numbers.

~I can’t help but think of all those who are fascinated and overcomplicate the study of divination. When in reality? There could be some really great examples of it found among their elders “junk.”  As seen with the above mentioned. ^

Further reading into the book we find such curious and lovely charms such as follows:

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I am sure that if you’re one familiar with the concepts, history and/or study of folk magick in any discipline you have noticed that this simple little booklet gives one techniques and even ideas into certain methods and variations of formulas many seek for digging through (at times) even most obscure sources.

Such things also give us a glimpse and insight into the mindset of “traditional” practioners. They worked with what was at hand.  The found the formulas of magick and “Witchery” even among the items of their daily lives.  Much as how the sacred instruments and places of worship of our most ancient ancestors were places and objects that were also of their practical mundane use.

So if there is one thing I wish for you the reader to take away?

When looking to study and find wisdom of esoteric nature? Never undermine what maybe right under your nose, below your feet, or above your very head. In the place that you stand at this very moment.  Also, never overlook what might be boxed away in “Granny’s Attic.”

After all: You may find something quite priceless in so called “esoteric”value.

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A Quick Post Regarding Rune Sets

Traditionally a set of runes is crafted by the practioner themself.

Using such woods like Ash or Rowan, they’re risted/carved, and then reddened with blood. (Or maybe red paint/ink with a bit of blood added.)

Although I am aware that nowadays run stones  or rune sets are available for purchase.  This maybe a good option for those who maybe do not live in a geographic region where they have access to such trees or wood. Or may not have the means to craft their own.

The key here of course is to assure that regardless you have properly sained and connected to your runes.  Even if the set did not come  about to you in a traditional manner or traditional materials it is important that ones is still mindful of the symbolism and reasoning of the traditional methods.

Earlier this year I actually decided to purchase a set of runes that were crafted from black obsidian.

I of course charged and sained the set in accordance: by honouring and making sacrifice/offering to Odin, and “reddened” them with the “sacrifice” substance which had my own sacred  Blut added to it.

The idea here is that the blood/red gives the runes “life hue” your blood is the substance that symbolically and spiritually represent gives them connection or rather binds them to you. Those of who are familiar with working with Galdr stav or bindrunes will know that most often the work is coloured with red.   The red being the blood the component which activates/charges the work.

The idea is that you’re bringing them into being spiritually you as one of Alfather’s children who was given the gift of the runes when he “sacrificed himself unto himself.”

So regarding as mentioned above using purchased or otherwise runes that are crafted out of non-traditional means and/or materials?

Although, I find that there is something sacred and special in the process of working and crafting with the traditional woods and means I have found that the otherwise set works and can be used fine.  And as mentioned maybe a good means for those who may not have access to the materials or means to do a traditional crafting.

The key here being keeping in mind the significance and the symbolism used in the traditional crafting method of risting, reddening, and saining.  As long as the charging ritual is done in accordance to this concept.  Just as how in some Galdr work if the stav is reddened with red paint/ink or colouring as opposed to actual blood, it is important to keep in mind why the red colour is used. To represent the blood the “scared life hue.”

Keeping this in mind and working in accordance wih such will allow you to still bring them to be spiritually.  Utilizing them as such working and strengthening your bound  with the sacred runic forces.

Walpurgisnacht “The Night of The Witches” and The Lore of The Harz

Walpurgis or rather Walpurgisnacht (Walpurgis Night) the eve of May day.  A seasonal high or holy tide that has been present in the customs in traditions of many European cultures from ancient times to even today.

In the Celtic world April 30-May 1 this was known as Beltane. For the ancient Celts this was one of the most sacred tides of the year.  For their two main tides were: “The end summer and the coming of winter.” Samhain which is now more commonly known as “Halloween” or “Hallow’s Eve.”   Along with the high-tide at the opposite end of the year  “The end of winter and the coming of summer.” Which was Beltane.  So as we can see Walpurgis or May Day is at the opposite end of the yearly wheel from Samhain or Winternachten as Midwinter and Midsummer solstices are to each other, the equinoxes, etc…

In the Nordic and Deutsch world May eve is known as Walpurgisnacht.  It’s interesting to note that in  modern Deutschland the holiday known as Halloween is not as a popular or widely celebrated as it is in maybe Western Europe or North America.                                   However, Walpurgisnacht and May Day seem to be virtually unknown (or not really communally observed on a large scale) in places like North America. However, it is without a doubt celebrated in Deutschland and in nearby regions.    In-fact throughout much of Europe the day holds much significance.   For example:  in modern Finland the day is known as Vappu. Vappu is one of the largest annual festivities in the nation.  Modern day Vappu celebrations in Finland mostly stem from the 1800’s more in theme of a “Labor day”  a holiday for university students and workers. Being one of those where typically everyone gets the day off work to enjoy carnival like celebrations.

Vappu (May Day) picnic in FinlandKaivopuisto_Vappu_picnic_2008

Although aside from the aspects of the contemporary Finish holiday which as a “Labor day” it’s roots only seem to go back to the 1800’s. Keep in mind this is only regarding the more contemporary aspects of it.   One thing to note is that “Vappu” essentially means or rather is the Finish word for Walpurgisnacht!

Getting it’s name from a Saint Walburga we can see how this is one of those examples of holidays that originated in heathen times but persisted throughout history.  The role and titles of ancient heathen deities taking on “Saint” titles.  It becomes rather obvious that this is a re-branding of a very old Germanic rite as such lore around Walburga and Walpurgisnacht carries heavy pre-Christian symbolism and overtones. Such as: Walburga being “chased” by The Wild Hunt.

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The wild hunt: Asgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo       *The Wild Hunt is a belief from pre-Christian Germanic era. Said to be lead by Wotan himself. As well in other versions the Germanic Goddess Frau Hold.*

Another major traditional and historic custom of this time is that of the Maypole. A large decorated wooden pole, decorated according to the seasonal tide a theme akin to what we see such things like the Weihnachtenbaum or Osterbaum. The tradition going back to ancient heathen times.  One that is very much still upheld in the present day in places like Bayern (Bavaria.)  In the there annual holiday literally known as “Maypole Day”  As I have observed myself having Bayerische in-laws the “Maibaum” is an old Germanic custom that is very well perserved in Bavarian culture.   Maypole day is considered a very important annual occasion.  You will not find a Bavarian village without this spring festivity. The Maibaum is typically made from a large tall pine tree.

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More about the customs and traditions surrounding the Maibaum in Bavaria here: http://www.bavaria.by/maypole-day-in-bavaria-germany

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Common Walpurgis and Mayday rituals and superstitions: 

Walpurgis like many other such seasonal tides is steeped in superstition and rituals pertaining to this day.  Some examples of such are:

~Washing one’s face in the morning dew on the first of May assured beauty.

~It was believed that if one wished to make contact with any sort of mystical spirit or being (like elves, trolls, ghosts, or even witches.) Walpurgis was one of those times to do it.  One such very practical method involved putting one’s clothes on inside out, walking to a crossroads backwards on midnight of Walpurgisnacht.

~As this was a time that was believed that spirits and spectres would be most active it was common custom to light bonfires on hill tops and various prominent points on the land to protect the area.

~The German tradition of the  Ankenschnitt is an offering of bread covered in butter and honey left out on Walpurgisnacht as a offering to the “Wind Hounds” as an offering of appeasement to assure the “howling hounds” of the winds would not damage one’s homestead or place throughout the year.

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~An Ankenschnitt offering of my own from a couple of years past. Left out on the balcony of the third-floor apartment I was residing in at the time. (Which was often subject to very intense winds during summer storms and seasonal changes.) Along with the Ankenschnitt offering is a glass enclosed candle that I crafted used as a luminary. The candle featured a depiction of  Frau Holle riding a goose (an animal sacred to her) through the skies.~

*As shown here:

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Mount Brocken or “The Blocksberg” and the Hexentanzplatz

And of course what article about Walpurgisnacht would be complete without the mention of the famed legendary Mt Brocken!

The Brocken is the highest peak of the Harz mountain range, as well as the highest peak in all of Northern Germany.

The Harz mountain range most specfically The Blocksberg (Brocken) is a place of many great legends of heathen-time themes and superstitions  ecspecially those regarding witchcraft and ecspecially pertaining to the tide of Walpurgisnacht or as it is also known as:  “Hexennacht”

According to legend Mt Brocken was said to be the place that witches flew to and congregated at annually on Walpurgisnacht.  As those of you who recall my blogpost about Easter Witches probably notice the similarity between this and the Swedish legend of witches flying to a mystical place known as Blåkulla.

However, where as the Blåkulla (a place that according to Swedish legend witches congregated at on “Maundy Thursday” ) is said to be a “mystical valley that can only be reached be magical flight.” The Blocksberg where the German legend of the Walpurgis congregation is a very literal and tangible place.

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Among the lore  regarding the Harz mountain range and Walpurgisnacht is as well a plateau in the range which is called the “Hexentanzplatz.”

Hexentanzplatz literally means “Witches Dance Floor.” According to German legends and folktales the coming of the warm season was marked “Frau Holda and her witches dancing away the snow.”  As well on the night of Walpurgis this witches congregated, danced, and had all manner of festivities in the Harz mountain range to celebrate the changing of the seasonal tide.

When further studying the history of the Hexentanzplatz we learn that this plateau was said to be an Old Saxon cult site.  At which on or around the night of May 1 the Saxon heathens gathered to celebrate and as well honour  a forest and mountain goddess known as the Hagedisen.

So essentially the night and tide known as Walpurgis!  So know we see and begin to understand: When observing and noticing the festivities of Deutsch people today, the Sachsen people who dress up as “witches” celebrating the Hexennacht which is now  known as The Night of Walpurgis we see that this is really a modern remnant of something much deeper and ancient that has been a part of their folk culture since always.  The pagan/heathen rites of their people have certainly not gone anywhere! Maybe changed names through the ages as well as themes. But the roots remain.

Where does this idea of witches “dancing away the snow” on Walpurgisnacht come from? Or rather who were the witches?  This idea comes from the seasonal rites of the ancient Saxon ancestors honouring the mountain forest goddess (Hagedisen) at the changing of tides into the warm spring and summer season. The witches? One could say:  These are the “spirits” of or rather how their most ancient ancestors are remembered and continue to be honoured.

 

~~~”We know that our forefathers very generally kept the beginning of May as a great festival, and it is still regarded as the trysting time of witches, i.e. once of wise-women and fays; who can doubt that heathen sacrifices blazed that day?” (Grimm v. II, p. 614)~~~

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Remedy and Medicinal Uses of The Nine Herbs

An area that I am very passionate and enjoy studying that of herblore. Both the folklore and superstition associated with given herbs or plants but as well actual remedies that are tried and true and even used to this very day. One example of such is one I am sure many of you are familiar with is ginger being used in supplements to help calm nausea or any such ailments pertaining to an upset stomach.  Such things are handy to research for the modern leechcrafter both for obvious practical reasons and as well this gives one insight into what some of a plant’s “magical” correspondences maybe.

This is an area that I wasn’t really sure “where to begin with.” So of course I took inspiration from the lore of the ancestors and folk for guidance. I decided to introduce the subject by starting with the category of  “The Nine Herbs Charm.”

Here I will focus on and discuss how each of these herbs are used medicinally and as remedies in the modern day.  More so focusing on this area. Now of course each of the herbs as well as the Nine Herbs Charm in itself has many esoteric and “magical” lore attached to it and how it can be utilized as such. Which this in and of itself could have it’s own post/s dedicated to this alone.

However, here today I would like to focus on an area that will surely spark interest to many. Whether folk magicians or not.  Focusing on how such herbs are utilized as a simple remedies even in contemporary times.

*DISCLAIMER:  Any such info given here on in one uses at their own discretion! Please keep in mind your unique requirements, allergies, etc… This is general educational information! 

With that being said! Let’s begin….

~Remember, Mugwort, what you made known,
What you arranged at the Great proclamation.
You were called Una, the oldest of herbs,
you have power against three and against thirty,
you have power against poison and against infection,
you have power against the loathsome foe roving through the land.~

mugwort

Just it’s passage in the poem alludes to; Mugwort has been in use both as an herbal charm and medicine for a very long time thousand of years!

Mugwort is said to be beneficial for the female reproductive organs. Specifically for women who are not pregnant it is said to assist in bringing on a delayed menstrual cycle, as well as helping a woman’s cycles be regular.

As well a very good digestive stimulant.   In-fact mugwort tea has been quite popular through the ages. Drinking this tea is said to help alleviate and treat gas and bloating. Which may also add to the benefits for menstruating women as these are common ailments that occur at this time.

Much like it’s close relative Wormwood ; Mugwort can be used to help “get rid of worms” or rather getting rid of certain parasites.

Mugwort is also one of those plants that is fantastic for keeping pesky mosquitoes at bay. You can combine mugowort with other such herbs and flowers known to repel such pests like: lavender, lemongrass, and of course citronella (to name a few) to make an effective mosquito repellent.

Along with burning the herb mugwort is often used to “clear the air” or purify a space.

***

 

~And you, Plantain, mother of herbs,
Open from the east, mighty inside.
over you chariots creaked, over you queens rode,
over you brides cried out, over you bulls snorted.
You withstood all of them, you dashed against them.
May you likewise withstand poison and infection
and the loathsome foe roving through the land.~

Plantain1

Plantain is a fantastic herb with a distinctly beautiful appearance. Native to and found growing throughout most of Europe, Plantain is also quite abundant in North America as well. In-fact I recall seeing this stuff everywhere in Canada. Even finding it growing in plenty out of the cracks of sidewalks in even the most urban areas during the summer months.

Plantain has many soothing  topical qualities. The leaves work great in poultices to help treat and alleviate many types of skin irritations from rashes, insect bites, to sunburn.  These poultices can also be used to help alleviate sore or swollen joints and muscles as well sprains. Any sort of ailment that requires treating irritation or inflammation.

Taken internally Plantain can be consumed as a tea to help with digestive issues, heartburn, and other such irritated and inflamed issues like Urinary Tract Infections.

Also a plant rich in nutrients! Such as vitamins A, C, and K as well as magnesium. Parts of the plantain can be added to foods to get such nutritional benefits.

***

Lambs Crest

lamb cress

The herb known as “Lambs Crest” is know more commonly known as  “Bittercress” or “Harry Bittercress.” Another one of those lovely little plants that often go unappreciated by many modern folk, often being seen as a “weed.” Although this tiny little intricate plant is actually among that are mostly edible. It contains many such essential and beneficial nutrients such as  Vitamin C and Beta Carotene. Thus it is often added to many edible dishes to help incorporate such things into one’s diet.

***

~‘Stune’ is the name of this herb, it grew on a stone,
it stands up against poison, it dashes against poison
Nettle (?) it is called, it attacks against poison,
it drives out the hostile one, it casts out poison.
This is the herb that fought against the serpent,
it has power against poison,  it has power against infection,
it has power against the loathsome foe roving through the land.
Put to flight now, Venom-loather, the greater poisons,
though you are the lesser, until he is cured of both.~

***

nettle_flower_full

Nettle or as it mar also be knows as “Stinging Nettle” is a plant with wonderful benefits. Rich in iron nettle is great for those who maybe needing to build this up in their system.

Nettle also has diuretic properties.  Helping with urinary tract issues as well as water retention.

To get the internal benefits nettles can be cooked and added to food or the easiest way is Nettle tea. Which can then have many other herbs incorporated into the recipe. For flavor or to boost and reinforce certain benefits.

It’s also one of the many plants with properties that help with inflammation. Best incorporated in with other anti-inflammatory topical treatments.  As a tincture it has astringent properties used to treat certain skin ailments. Topical tincture can also be used to help with bleeding, cuts, and scrapes.

***

~Remember, Chamomile, what you made known,
what you accomplished at Alorford,
that never a man should lose his life from infection
after Chamomile was prepared for his food.~

chamomile

Chamomile, among one of the very popular and “staple” herbs even in modern times. Very popular in teas, as chamomile as a delicious taste. Good for treating indigestion, as well very reputed for it’s “calming” effects. Of course with this it makes a great drink for times when needing to relax, like unwinding for sleep.  Chamomile can be used in a “bed time” tea help induce sleep. An example of this is combining equal parts of: Chamomile, Lavender, and Valerian. Chamomile and lavender both having relaxing qualities and a very pleasant taste! Along with the Valerian having  sedating properties this combination makes for a very good night time tea.

Chamomile tea also being great for treating internal irritants such as any sort of cramping and bloating in the abdominal and digestive area. Or anywhere these is irritation or tension in the digestive tract.

Topically chamomile helps treat a number of skin ailments issues. Having calming and soothing effects it helps with such irritations caused by wounds, rashes, or scrapes.  As well as minor burns such as sunburn.  Along with helping any sort of skin inflammation caused by the skin being irritated, as well as issues related to eczema.  Chamomile works wonderfully added into lotions, ointments, and salves for the skin specifically to help soothe and moisturize.

Cooled chamomile teas also makes a good compress for irritated or puffy eyes.

***

~This is the herb that is called ‘Wergulu’.
A seal sent it across the sea-right,
a vexation to poison, a help to others.
it stands against pain, it dashes against poison,

A worm came crawling, it killed nothing.
For Woden took nine glory-twigs,
he smote the the adder that it flew apart into nine parts.
There the Apple accomplished it against poison
that she [the loathsome serpent] would never dwell in the house.~

 

content_crabapples.u

Crab Apples like many other variants in the apple family well known in the culinary world is used in a plethora of delicious recipes. Such as:  jellies, jams, pie and pastry fillings, and fruit sauces just to name a few.  Being an apple it is rich in pectin of course.

The fruit can also be consumed as a partial laxative. It has a long reputed of being a remedy for constipation.   Helping with digestion, it digests well and also helps with the digestion of other foods.

Topically it can be used in poultices to help with scrapes and inflammation.

***

Chervil

Chervil11

 

*Although some translations speak of Thyme and others Chervil. I will give a brief over-view of both.

Chervil was believed to help with blood pressure issues. It said to help with circulation and hemorrhages.

Assists with treating respiratory ailments by helping to remove mucous and and alleviate prevent coughs. Also, can be used as or added to remedies for the cold and flu.

Chervil also has diuretic properties and said to help with constipation as well. With this it helps with preventing and treating retention and bloating. Also, helping with such menstrual issues that maybe associated with this.

***

Thyme

Thyme-300x199

Thyme is a wonderfully aromatic herb!  Like chervil it has properties that assists with water retention and bloating, as well as diuretic properties. Thyme is good for stimulating  digestion and processing in the body.  Helping to get the body to remove waste by expulsion. Whether that be by excretion or sweat.

Helps in treating things such as fever or pain associated with fever. By means of getting the body to “cleanse” out the root issue.
As well like Chervil it works great as a remedy for repository ailments and as a cold and flu remedy.

Thyme is of course also a powerful antiseptic.

***

~Chervil and Fennell, two of much might,
They were created by the wise Lord,
holy in heaven as He hung;
He set and sent them to the seven worlds,
to the wretched and the fortunate, as a help to all.
It stands against pain, it fights against poison,
it avails against 3 and against 30,
against foe´s hand and against noble scheming,
against enchantment of vile creatures. ~

***

Fennel

fennel-plant

Fennel most commonly the seeds have a long history of wide use in the culinary world.

As a remedy fennel is good for treating indigestion and various digestive issues. Everything from gas, bloating to heartburn.  An example of a good tea to help alleviate an upset stomach consists of  combining: Peppermint, Ginger, and Fennel.  This mixture is also good for helping to deal with cramps and bloating that may accompany nausea or digestive issues.  The ratio of each ingredients will depend on your personal taste, as well as what maybe your main ailment. Example: if nausea which is your main concern the predominant ingredients would probably be best as ginger or peppermint. If it’s more of a bloating issue, retention or constipation? The fennel.

Fennel also can assist with increasing in breast milk. (Like anything check with your healthcare provider/practitioner.)  Fennel typically is a great herb for women. Helping to deal with “breast ailments” like soreness by stimulating production.

***

Betony

Betony

*There are variations on the translations. Some saying that it was “Cockspur Grass” being referred others saying “Betony.” I have chosen to list Betony in this post.

Betony is another herb that can also be used in poultices to help alleviate such ailments like swelling, inflammation, sore muscles, hemorrhaging (like in the form of varicose veins.)            Was also once the remedy to “treat all maladies of the head” in times past.

Thus with this along with it’s reputation of treating sore muscles it is a good remedy for headaches or even nerve, back, or neck pain.

As well good for assisting in issues related to stress or anxiety. Or rather when anxiety has also induced such ailments along with it like head or muscle tension and pain. In the case of anxiety a tea that incorporates other such “calming” or “soothing” herbs like chamomile, lavender, and/or peppermint (if stomach issues are accompanying along with it helping headaches for some.) Combined with Betony is a comforting remedy for some.

***

~Now there nine herbs have power against nine evil spirits,
against nine poisons and against nine infections:
Against the red poison, against the foul poison,
against the white poison, against the pale blue poison,
against the yellow poison, against the green poison,
against the black poison, against the blue poison,
against the brown poison, against the crimson poison,
against worm-blister, against water-blister,
against thorn-blister, against thistle-blister,
against ice-blister, against poison-blister~

………

~I alone know a running stream,
and the nine adders beware of it.
May all the weeds spring up from their roots,
the seas slip apart, all salt water,
when I blow this poison from you.~

“Knowing Thy Roots” : The Foundational Step of Ancestral Worship

One of the very cornerstones and foundations of my own craft and spiritual path is working with the dead, or rather most importantly and mainly the ancestors.

Often when speaking with or giving advice to others who show interest in “working with the dead” my response usually is: “Well start with your ancestors. This will give you a general idea of which spirits are around and are most likely to work with you, and understand you the best.”

This also is my advice not only regarding specifically “working with the dead” but also those who come to me inquiring about “wanting to find their spiritual path.”

Often many modern folks get caught up in titles, or over-analyzing philosophies of any given group. Which in itself is also an important step in searching and finding. However, questions about pursuing the spiritual aspect? Often those who find themselves with the burning question or drive of “but what am I? what is relevant to me?”

My advice is always in the first to forget (or rather not over-fixate on) “titles” which typically stems from a craving in modern society and it’s fascination with identity politics.     Stemming from the innate human desire we all have wanting to find a “sense of belonging.” We then naturally ponder “where do I really belong?” to find this take a moment to forget about a title or fitting into a mold but rather realizing the mold from which you came. Take a moment to contemplate on and think about: “Where do I come from? Who are my ancestors?”

An interesting thing to keep in mind for those like myself that would be called “heathen” is that first and foremost many folks when first becoming familiar with the path/s and lore of such respective cultures is becoming familiar with “the gods.” However, we must keep in mind that one’s own immediate ancestors are typically among those that are foremost revered in general daily life. Also, how we will find which “gods” call to us and are most intimately connected with our wyrd/Orlog or “fate” (if you will) is knowing your personal roots and ancestors.  Another important thing to keep in mind is that (keeping in mind our most ancient ancestors) is that they did not see themselves or what they did as a religious persuasion perse (or at least not in the modern sense of the term.)  They more so perceived themselves as just simply being. They were but folk living their ways.            A spirituality with rituals and rites closely entwined and in a way symbiotic with the work and deeds of their daily so called “mundane” life.     Much of their concept of what was “sacred” and what was “mundane” were not really separate things.     We can observe this in certain items that are symbolic or that have deep spiritual associations. Such as the drinking horn being an iconic emblem or tool used in rites. This item was to our ancient ancestors at the same time  a common-place utensil . Or such as how the cauldron has certain “Occult” connotations. Originally being a common household item. Or as the hearth/fireplace has a very sacred/magical association (being an example of an ideal spot to have a household altar.)

Keeping in mind that the greatest example/s of what our ancient ancestors  saw as “spiritual rites” or “religion” is found in what we call folk-tales “folk beliefs.” This just simply meaning “people.” These are the ways of the folk/volk the ways of the “people.” This gives a good idea of how they saw their spiritual practices or “religion.” They were folk following the ways of their “people.”  If we want to tap into the spiritual practices of those most ancient ancestors we must have a grasp of their mindset regarding the subject.

So with that being said: How would your ancient ancestors conduct things or form rituals if they lived  in the contemporary world that you do? What would they be like? Well the answer to that is really not that complex.  To have the best idea of what they would “be like” in today’s world?  Is you! From the spiritual/folk way perspective you are them, and they are you!   You are them in today’s cultural context as they were you within another. Once one truly becomes aware of this the ancestors become less of a impersonal and distant force and become something that is a very personal and real part of your life. (after all they are your kin.)  Which is how our oldest ancestors who followed the original way of any respective culture that you belong to would have seen it.

 

Getting practical:
Moving on from just discussing this and shedding perspective let’s move on to practical practice:  How can you begin to work with the ancestors? Well, of course I could tell you a bit about what I do or some examples of how certain peoples venerate ancestors and spirits.  But first, what I would like you to do is not learn “somebody else’s spirits” but rather get to know your own.

Start by thinking to yourself: Who are my ancestors, who are some of my deceased loved ones, where are they from, what were they like?

Once you have answered these this may give a good idea of how to revere them.             An example of this with myself: Is that I recall when I was a child on Weihnachten the night of the Heiligabend (This is Jul/Christmas eve December 24) the night we would have dinner and exchange gifts another ritual we did was visit the graves of dead family members. We would light candles for them and leave gifts and offerings.  This ritual as a child laid a part of the foundation and gave me insight into what some of my recent and ancient ancestors like.  When I recall back on these memories it fills me with a feeling of great joy and beauty, looking back and thinking how when I was a child some of the very elders in my family who have since passed away, giving praise to our departed family were also giving me a gift/showing me what to do for them or how to find them.

Another example could be: Do you come from a German background? Do you recall having “cake and coffee” with the family every Sunday evening? Are some of your fondest memories having these goodies with your “Oma and Opa”?

Well maybe a great idea for is to continue this on. On Sunday evening leave some cake or coffee for those relatives who have no passed on. Or I am sure what would really make them happy is if you continued this tradition, of inviting friends and loved ones over. Even set aside an extra place in honor of them. 😉

Or maybe another example could be if you’re also wondering which Aesir or Vanir god is most closely entwined with you? Maybe you have background that is predominately Swedish, if this is the case? Perhaps this gives a good idea of the close bound your lineage has with Freyr Ingvy.  And perhaps you would find working with him quite beneficial.

And of course ethnic Deutsch folks whether they be in the homeland or of diaspora like the PA Deitsch Frau Holle is surely to be of great influence to some extent. (To say the least.)

Other general examples of how you can practice ancestral worship in your daily life? Take note of any certain seasonal tides that are associated with honoring the dead within your culture or the culture in which you live. For example: Anyone living in western Europe or North America knows about Halloween or as it was originally called by the Celtic people of which it came Samhain.  You can set aside or observe other rituals that are very simple. Like every Sunday or Monday just simply lighting a candle stating that you do so in honor of your ancestors and that you make them welcome with it. Also, if you like set aside an offering of a drink or something for them.  Or even sit and have a drink “with them.”

Another thing that can be done is creating an ancestral shrine or altar. Remember how this should be set up will depend on you and your ancestors. Do you have heirlooms, relics, or even photos of deceased loved ones and family? Those can go on there. Think of some things they would like.  Did your deceased grandmother like a certain type of flower? Put that on there in honor of her. Also, going into deeper parts or rather your “deepest roots” did you have many family members that fought in or died in wars? Did much of their blood feed the soil on which your family lived  for many generations? This could be an indication that symbols like the Othala rune or the Valknut would be good additives to your ancestral altar to honor and bring the presence of some of your most ancient forefathers or rather the collective of the ones who were warriors both recent and ancient.

 

 

~This is just an introduction for beginning to work with the ancestors.  To give you an idea of how you can do this for yourself, and for your ancestors. I hope this post serves as a great catalyst of inspiration and motivation for the reader.

And remember one of the other greatest things that you can honor your ancestors  and gods of your folk with is through your deeds, and keeping their memory alive. For they are the very reason you are here!