“Earth Wisdom” by Glennie Kindred

I bought this book at Herbfest 2012 in July because I was attracted to the chapters on the different well-known trees, their symbolism linked to different mythologies, their medicinal proprieties as well of the practical uses for esch wood.

On reading the book it struck me that beyond the wonderful pen and ink drawings and the tre chapters, there was a hive of intersting information related to ancient earth lore and different ways of putting these ancient practises into use in our lives today.

Much of the information including earth’s cycles, ancient celebrations and ways of connecting with all this were not alien to me but this book put all this info into a good concise order. I will definitely use it as a reference bookwhen i need to know something about one our ancient eart festivals or how to plant a certain tree from seed or xhich wood to use to make a sacred walking stick or wand…

Thank-you Glennie for putting all this down in a satisfying, logical and clear way accompanied by your beautiful drawings.

Some personal reflections on herbal gardening!

I am a gardener and always have been, I helped my dad, who is also an avid gardener when I was barely able to walk, I now have two sons who are also gardeners so lets say it runs in the blood. Gardening helps me to connect to nature, to ground myself, to relax, to mull things over without getting stressed…. gardening is a therapy in itself. Gardening has taught me about seasons, about the life cycle of plants, about the plants themselves, about soil types and exposition, about the needs of different plants, about ground cover, about life.

The gardens that I make are and always have been medicinal plant gardens, I have never been attracted to garish hybrids developed in glass houses or worse for their color and glitz, I prefer those plants that don’t show off but have a natural beauty and are produced by nature rather than man.

These plants are my friends, I have a true connection with them, in your own garden you really get to know everyone, their particularities, if they are feeling ok or not, what they like and what they don’t like, if they need tending to or not. And sometimes, magical things happen in gardens. Let me tell you about valerian for example…I had a garden some years ago, a garden on very poor, acid, sandy soil and facing south, so also very dry. I had collected a large number of medicinal plants and as many of these originate from the southern areas of Europe, they grew fairly well in these conditions and so the garden was prospering. However I thought to myself how nice it would be to have a valerian in the garden, they grow in the region, I could go and get one and replant it here. After a few seconds of reflection, I came to my senses, valerian loves humidity and shade, it grows naturally in woodland paths, it would hate it here, in fact it wouldn’t even grow…there is no point and so I left it at that. A few days later I was fiddling about in the compost area of the garden and I happened to gaze over to the flowerbed next to it and there I saw a young, yes you’ve guessed it a young valerian nestled behind the nettles in the shadiest, dampest part of the garden. For me this was magic, a present from the plant world.

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Don’t forget about Dandelions

This article is not just about dandelions but all those plants that most people have growing under their feet or if not under at least near their feet. Dandelions, plantains, chickweed, red clover, nettles, yarrow infact the list is endless.

Being an earthy, planty kind of a person, the first and often only place I go to  when looking for remedies is where I live or in the near vicinity. I am very much of the belief that using what grows where we are growing and living is the best basis for ecologically sound coherent herbalism.

I am aware that many people are in cities and do not have pollution free, wild plants on hand and this problem brings me back to the understanding of how ‘herboristeries’ as they are known here in France or apothecaries in English grew in the cities. In these densely populated areas, there was a demand for medicinal plants, the apothecaries bought them from wild-crafters who lived in rural areas and sold them, often with medicinal advise to city dwellers.

The problem now is that large apthothecaries need large quantities of plants, these often come from Eastern Europe, no-one knows by whom, when or where they were harvested. As the vibratory level of humankind and earth increase, so too must the substances used to heal, feed cloth and heat ourselves with. What I mean by this is that a medicinal plant that has been harvested in a well chosen spot with intention, care, respect and thankfulness for the plant and its surroundings is in my humble opinion much more likely to ‘heal’ or help someone ‘heal than a plant that has been harvested on the other side of the planet in huge quantities by someone paid by the weight of the plant that he or she collects……every ounce of energy that has touched the plant from the picking to the packaging is held in that plant, we definetly need to be aware of where our plants are coming from. Read the rest of this entry »