Witchcraft medicine is more than a factual knowledge of medicinal herbs, poisonous plants, psychedelic compounds, or gynecological preparations. It is the ability to converse with the animal and plant spirits and to forge friendships with them, an ability that has been suppressed in most people. It is the ability to achieve the ecstasy that makes communion with these beings possible. Only when humans radiate happiness and health can nature be happy and healthy. This is why Mother Gaia has powerful herbs and roots ready at hand.
Witchcraft medicine transcends clinical medicine, which, being bound in the corset of experimental natural science, proceeds only by measuring, documenting, and blindly testing what is tangible—the superficial matter—according to the principle of trial and error. This healing art understands the magical bullets and destructive memories that bore deeply into our physical and spiritual bodies. In order to heal the wounds caused by such ethericastral entities and negative occult energies, the practitioners of witchcraft medicine, the shamans, call on their allies—the plants, the stones, the animals, the water, the fire, the earth.
These also have a deep dimension as spirit beings, angels, and devas. You can speak with them; they can respond. Witchcraft medicine understands the vitality of existence and knows about the souls and the spirits of all creation. Witchcraft medicine is magical, and for this reason it causes discomfort to those whose souls are dead and frightens those whose spiritual eyes are blind.
It scares them because it is a reflection of their powerlessness. To the bigoted inquisitors the efficacy of this medicine was granted by the devil himself. Thus the women who guarded this ancient wisdom were considered evil seductresses. To the masters of modern ideology, witchcraft medicine, with the special powers of communication it entails, is simply not a matter important enough for discussion; it belongs to the realm of a schizophrenic, a mentally unstable person, or, at best, a hopeless romantic. But in the end it might just be witchcraft medicine that leads us out of our current ecological and spiritual crisis, for its roots reach deep into the earth and tap into the healing waters of primordial wisdom.
That which places itself contrary to nature will very soon come to an end. But the following must also be acknowledged: Evil witches do indeed exist! Asocial magicians, malicious sorceresses driven by resentment and greed, and those who use their knowledge of the occult in order to bring harm to others can be found throughout the world, from South America to East Asia, from Africa to the South Pacific.
Their abilities are feared mainly in unstable societies where poverty, violence, and oppression reign. A central concern in African medicine is determining who the destructive magician is and rendering him harmless. Ethnologists have collected from exotic lands many examples of witchcraft and murder by voodoo Lessa and Vogt, These phenomena also exist in the Western world. During the mids hippies, alternative communards, illegal immigrants, dropouts, and legions of Southern Californians fleeing violence and environmental catastrophes such as pollution and smog streamed north into the still-pristine forests of Oregon.
The resulting unstable social climate became a breeding ground for sorcery and unhealthy occultism. I lived in Oregon at the time, and during those years bizarre occurrences were seen frequently. Again and again farmers found their horses and cows dead in the pasture, their genitals or udders cut off. Not far from my house a hitchhiker was arrested, and his pockets were found to be filled with severed human ears.
One day the gas station where I usually filled my car was not in service because a biker had killed the owner and then sucked blood out of her jugular vein before driving off. The talk was of witchcraft and Satanism. This sort of pathological behavior has nothing to do with the witchcraft medicine that we are talking about here! Nor does witchcraft medicine have anything to do with the kind of rabid, manhating feminism that experienced a peculiar flowering during this period in Oregon. The archaic medicine we are speaking about is a holistic one, embracing both the masculine and the feminine, the sun and the moon.
The malicious witch of fairy tales, like the one in the story of Hansel and Gretel, eats small children. However, this figure is never representative of a living person; instead it represents a negative spiritual archetype that impedes the maturation of the individual soul. This witch symbolizes the fear of the light of truth.
She lives in the darkness, unripened by the light. Because she is separated from the whole of herself, she is unable to shine; therefore she is, necessarily, ugly. Like the old winter witch made of straw that country people burn in the springtime so that the beautiful goddess of summer can make her entrance, the negative spiritual witch must also go through the purifying, transforming spiritual fire. Their wedding symbolizes the discovery of the self, the process of healing and becoming whole.
The Christian inquisitors were obsessed with the archetype of the ugly, life-hating witch. They projected their own spiritual disease, their own obsessions, onto innocent women, often poor or elderly, whom they tortured and burned at the stake. What was originally intended as an internal process of becoming whole was turned into an external practice of black magic. In order to understand the nature of witchcraft medicine, we must look deeply into the well of. We shall now dig into this soil. After the glaciers receded, the Ice Age tundra where great herds of buffalo, reindeer, woolly rhinoceros, and mammoths had grazed was gradually sown with the seeds of trees.
Many of the herds died out; some migrated to Siberia. The last of the nomadic hunters of large animals followed them. It was, in Eurasia, the end of the Paleolithic period. The forest drew under its spell the small hunting tribes that remained behind. To hunt like this was laborious; it took more time than it had before and bagged less. In equal proportions to the rate at which the hunting bounty diminished, plant-gathering increased in value.
While the meat was distributed among the community according to strict regulations, the women gathered the daily plant rations for their families.
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It is still like this today among hunter-gatherers: The men work at politics, securing friendships and nurturing alliances for when the time comes for the meat to be divided; the women tend to the daily aspects of survival. The tribes would settle for a while in places where gathering was feasible. Harbors were prized as camps, for there one could find the starchy tonic roots of the cattail, the marsh woundwort, the club rush, the arrowhead, or the water chestnut.
One could also use the duckweed Lemna for soup or eat the juicy shoots of the reed, and the nutritious seeds of the winnowed or flooded sweet grass Glyceria were greatly valued. In addition, harbors provided various crustaceans, mollusks, and small amphibians. Besides making arrows for hunting birds and small animals, constructing fish traps, knotting nets, and making harpoons and hooks, the men probably spent the rest of their time—similar to the hunter-gatherers of today—loafing about and communicating with the many spirits that animated the forest, the cliffs, and the water.
This era is known as the Mesolithic period. The Mesolithic people moved with the seasons in broad circles to different hunting-andgathering regions. They always returned to the same camps. Many of their favorite plants grew there. Spilled seeds and the disposed rinds of tubers found a suitable environment when the competitive vegetation was trampled down and the ground was fertilized with ashes, excrement, urine, and trash. The step to domestication was, therefore, but a small one.
During this period some hunters in the Near East intentionally began to turn the soil, make small mounds, and sow grass seeds they had gathered previously. Young animals were tethered or fenced in, and eventually tamed. In this way the huntergatherer groups became settled. They built themselves permanent houses with stalls for the captured animals. Hunter-gatherers have few possessions, and most of these are incorporeal: They are visions, fairy tales, songs, magical incantations, and medicinal knowledge. These people live from hand to mouth, in the here and now.
Who wants always to be lugging heavy burdens around with them? But for sedentary tribes it makes good sense to have large jugs and containers made of clay. Grains and other food can be stored in them, and beer can be brewed. This cultural transformation in which the first permanent settlements developed is called the Neolithic revolution by primeval historians. Neolithic village settlements spread out from Asia Minor and up the Danube River and its tributaries.
Toward the end of the fifth century the pioneers, people of what is known as the Linear Pottery culture, settled the river valleys of central Europe. There they farmed wheat and barley, fava beans, and flax, and for their matrilineal families they built square communal houses twenty to thirty meters long in the middle of areas that had been burned.
After a decade or two, when the soil had been depleted of nutrients and the fields and meadows had lost their fertility, the first farmers moved on. Once again they cleared the next piece of the immense primordial forest, logged the huge trees using fire and hewn-stone axes, seeded the disturbed land, and provided the cattle, goats, and sheep with a new grazing area. Wild men inspired the imagination of the Middle Ages, and they remain a fascination around the world today. This woodcut is the title picture of a book that tells the story of a wild man and the lady Venus.
The giantlike man, with hair over his entire body, carries a small figure of Lady Venus in his arm. The naked figure in the radiant halo is reminiscent of the Virgin Mary in the mandorla. In this context she represents the temptation to sin, because with her eyes she is urging the young knight to follow her. The wild man serves as the guard of the prison of love.
The Neolithic settlements were tiny islands in a sea of green leaves. Still, several thousand years later, in the early Middle Ages, the tree cover was so thick that a squirrel could have leaped from tree to tree from Denmark to southern Spain without ever touching the ground. On the edges of the cultural islands, on the transitional ground between agricultural fields and the primordial forest, an edge-biotope developed. Thorny undergrowth such as blackberry, wild rose, sloe, gooseberry, hawthorn, buckthorn, barberry, and sea buckthorn and fast-growing hedgerow trees like rowan, black alder, hazel, and elder found a suitable ecological environment there.
This natural hedge acquired a practical purpose for the Neolithic farmers: It was an effective fence for the scattered grazing animals. The more the ruminants chewed on the growth, the thicker the thorn barrier became, until a natural hedgerow was created. Posts, stakes, and rods could also be cut from the hedge, as could laths for the walls which were then daubed with clay and materials for basket weaving. The most potent medicinal herbs also grew in this edge-biotope.
But above all, the thick thorny hedge offered protection. It prevented the wolves and bears from penetrating, as well as the voracious deer, which had a keen eye for the emerging agricultural crops. Today the thorny shrubs, especially the hawthorn and the wild rose, symbolize protected, undisturbed sleep. Fairy tales speak of a thorny hedge of roses, and many farmers still place a rose gall the round, mosslike growth on the stems of wild roses that is caused by the sting of the rose gall wasp, also called a rose apple or sleep rose under the crib of newborns so that they will sleep quietly and deeply.
For Stone Age settlers the hedgerow was not only a physical barrier between the cultivated land and the wilderness; it was a metaphysical boundary as well. The wild men lived behind the hedges, and the world of ghosts, trolls, goblins, and forest monsters also began there. This was where one encountered the seductive, beautiful, and sly elves.
In this place the old deities of the Paleolithic past were still at work. The archaic hunters and gatherers had been one with the forest, and they had lived in harmony with the forest spirits. In contrast, the forested wilderness was no longer very familiar to the Neolithic farmers and was, in fact, sinister. As with the early Stone Age hunters, the goddess of the farmers appeared to the Neolithic people in visions and sent them their dreams. They also knew that the goddess could hear, feel, and mourn. The fertility of the soil was dependent on her benevolence. Agriculture progressed in a continuous dialogue with her.
Plowing and tilling the soil were considered an act of love; impregnating Mother Earth was the religion, and those who impregnated her were the worshippers. In fact, the word cultivate originally meant nothing more than service to the gods, honor, sacrifice, and nurturing. But in spite of worship and ritual, discontent arose and the consciousness of the first farmers was seized with negativity. They defiled the forest, scorched the earth, and laid waste to the soil.
The earth goddess became the lamenting mother. She mourned the countless children to whom she had given birth and who had fallen victim to the sickle, the ax, and the spade. The creation myths of cultivators and farmers always place the violent death, murder, or sacrifice of a divine being at the beginning of their agricultural way of life. The feelings of gratitude and security that permeated the connection between the simple huntergatherers and the forest disappeared into feelings of guilt that had to be ameliorated with increasingly elaborate sacrifices, including gruesome, religiously institutionalized human sacrifices, head-hunting, and cannibalism.
The Christian concepts of the sacrifice of the innocent son of God and the mater dolorosa who mourned him and held him in her lap also have their roots in the myths of the sedentary Neolithic farmers. The community was increasingly guided by the priests, who ruled over the ritual calendar and who determined when to sow and harvest and when to make offerings and sacrifices according to the position of the stars, and less by the shamans, who could talk to the forest and animal spirits. The unified world of the primitives was gradually separated into two realms: the cultivated land on one side and the wilderness behind the hedgerow on the other; the tame, working animals and the dangerous wild animals; the friendly spirits of the house and farm and the forest spirits one must be careful of.
The Power of the Wilderness The hedgerow that surrounded the clearing was by no means an impenetrable wall. People were. Thanks only to the boundless power of the wilderness were life and survival possible.
From the wilderness came the firewood that burned in the hearth, in the heart of the farm, and with its help the meat was roasted, the soup cooked, and the cold kept at bay from body and soul. Deer, boars, and other wild animals that completed the diet came from the wilderness, as did the medicinal plants and mushrooms that the old women collected. And in a few years, after the fertility of the soil had been depleted, the community had to turn once again to the primordial forest and clear a new place and make it habitable.
But the expended earth was taken back into the fold of the wilderness, was overrun with fresh green growth, and her fertility was regenerated. From beyond the hedgerow came strength. From the wilds came fertility. The human race also renewed itself from one generation to the next through a stream of energy that the dead mediated from beyond the fence. The ancestors came from there seeking rebirth in the circle of the clan. For a long time the hazel tree, a typical hedge tree, was considered a conduit for wild fertile energy from the dimension beyond. Hazel Tree Corylus avellana Man has always expected the hazel tree to protect him from the chaotic powers and energies of the beyond, energies such as lightning, fire, snakes, wild animals, diseases, and magic.
However, it is precisely the dimensions beyond that the small tree connects to. And the alchemist Dr. It then becomes clear why the magical stave with the snake coiled around it, the caduceus of Hermes the shamanic god of antiquity who crossed boundaries , was cut from a hazel tree. This stave became the symbol of trade, medicine, diplomacy, and the river of Plutonic energy that revealed itself in precious metals money. When Hermes touched people with the hazel branch, they could speak for the first time.
Dowsers still consider hazel branches to be the best conductors of energy. With them dowsers can detect the sensitive water veins in the earth, as well as precious metals silver and gold. The ancient Etruscans knew of dowsers aquileges who were able to find buried springs with hazel branches. Hazel branches still work today for this purpose, and are much faster and cheaper than technical instruments. The ability to influence the weather is a shamanic trait recognized throughout the world.
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The ancient European shamans used hazel branches in order to make rain; such weather-makers still existed in the Middle Ages. The hazel bush Corylus avellana L. Hazel energy can also be used to subdue nasty weather. People today still know that the hazel has something to do with fertility. And as a sign that they were hoping for the best, the couple carried with them hazel branches pregnant with nuts.
Ethnologists trace them back to the fact that the youth escaped the suspicion of the guardians of public morals when they were out collecting nuts in the forest. More likely there is another explanation—people who are bound to nature determine themselves instinctively on and are part of the fertility rhythms of the forest. Our forefathers believed that the ancestral spirits conveyed the unspent energy from the wilderness and the beyond to the living. It was the spirits who sent babies and who blessed the fields with fresh green life.
Among the northern European heathens, many midwinter rituals included boys wrapped in fur pelts who raided the villages and flogged people and animals with hazel branches. The boys embodied the ancestral spirits. The Celtic god of winter, Green Man, who visited the houses, hearths, and hearts of the people during the winter solstice, also carried hazel branches, whose lash made everything fertile, prosperous, and rich with milk. But the living could also send essential nourishment to those on the other side.
The dead Celts, like the Chieftain of Hochdorf, Germany from the Hallstatt period , were laid to rest on hazel branches. In November, on the ancient Celtic festival of the dead, children dressed as spirits of the dead and ghosts went begging from house to house. They were given the seeds of life—hazelnuts and apples—which lasted throughout the winter. The Germanic tribes, in particular the Alemanni, stuck sticks of hazel on grave sites. It was believed that those who found the Haselwurm —a creature half human, half snake—and ate its flesh would attain extraordinary powers.
Fertility is not the only gift from the other world. The kind of wisdom that far exceeds the boundaries of ordinary human understanding also comes from there. Celtic judges carried hazel branches. The ancient heralds, who strode over borders like Hermes, also carried such staves so that their words would be intelligent and well chosen. The Germanic tribes stuck hazel branches in the ground around the Thingstead, the place where the tribal council was held and where duels took place.
In this way the thunder-god, Thor, whose hammer symbolizes justice, was present. The hidden treasures Thor found with his magic wand also belonged to him; presumably the handle of his hammer was made of hazelwood. The shamanic god Odin Wodan, Wotan , lord of the bards and magicians, also made use of the hazel branch.
The hazel is also said to be the enemy of snakes. Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, allegedly used a hazel stick to chase all the snakes off the green island. In the Black Forest region children who had far to travel were given hazel branches so that. And if a circle is drawn around a snake with a hazel branch, the snake cannot escape. In addition, the Haselwurm, a white serpent with a golden crown, was believed to live under a very old hazel tree, one that had been invaded by a mistletoe. Eye witnesses described this snake queen as half human, half serpent.
She had a head like an infant or a cat and she cried like a child. Nevertheless, those who find this snake and eat of her flesh will receive wondrous powers: They will have command over the spirits, they will have the ability to become invisible, and they will know all of the hidden healing powers of all herbs. One should go before sunrise on a new moon. And the right spells must be spoken: one that addresses the hazel branch and one that charms the snake.
So that the snake will remain quiet, dried mugwort must be strewn on the magical creature. This mysterious serpent is connected to the archaic brain stem, including the entire limbic system, which appears in the minds of those deep in meditation the crowned snake-head.
The instincts are anchored here in this most ancient part of the nervous system. Sexuality, fertility, premonitions, and emotions have their physiological basis here as well. The hazel is able to transmit subtle impulses to this center. Divine Visitors to the Small Cultural Island The gods also came from beyond, from deep in the forest.
They came to demand tribute from the people and to bless and inspire them. The spirit blessed the animals in the forest and those in the barn before he made the humans happy with visions of the newly ascending light of life. This light-bringing spirit lived on in the Christ child, who came at midnight, as well as in Santa Claus. The spirit comes from far away, from the North Pole or from the dark, saturnine conifer forests. Often he flies like the shamans, with a sleigh drawn by reindeer, or rides an elk, or sometimes he even walks.
A merry band of elves accompanies him. He slips down the chimney in the deep of the night to touch the sleeping people with his life-dispensing hazel wand and leave good fortune in their shoes, which have been set out. Those from beyond, the transsensory beings, also came through the hedgerow so as to spend awhile with the humans during periods determined by the arc of the sun, the phases of the moon, and the weaving of the constellations. During the full moon of February the white virginal goddess of light left the caves with her bears and a retinue of elementary spirits.
She woke up the bees and the seeds, which were still sleeping under a blanket of snow, and shook the tree trunks so that the sap would flow anew. For her appearance Stone Age people prepared themselves with a cleansing sweat lodge. Fermented birch sap sweetened with honey provided great happiness. Seized by the awakening spirit of life, stirred by the dancing and singing elemental beings, the people began to dance wildly and make faces.
The disease-bringing spirits—usually crippled, knotty figures with angry expressions—were also honored and sent back into the woods with small offerings. These processions of horrifying and beautiful Perchten b who visit the human settlements during this time of year visually represent much transsensory wisdom.
The first day of February, known today as Candlemas, was celebrated as the Imbolc festival in honor of the birch goddess by the insular Celts. As one of the quarter days, it is still. Birch Betula The spirit of the birch tree appeared to the archaic humans as a virgin veiled in light, full of magical and healing powers. It has always been endowed with qualities of purity, light, and new beginnings. The Celts saw Brigit, the muse of the seekers of wisdom, the healers, and the inspired bards, in the birch. She is the white virginal bearer of light who lets the days grow longer again in February.
During this prespring period, the primitive people tapped the birches and collected precious sap. The sap stimulates urine and bile, purifies and cleanses the blood, and strengthens the kidneys and urinary tract. The maidens are coming to you, bringing you cakes, bread, and omelets. The tree of light reminded the Slavic and Siberian peoples of white-feathered swan maidens.
Sometimes these women wed shamans and lent them their wings, which carried them into the etheric dimensions. The birch tree Betulaspp. Parasitical growths on the branches of the Moor birch Betula pubescens Ehrh. In the distant Himalayas the birch Sanskrit: Bhurga is worshipped as the radiant white goddess, whose vehicle is a white swan or a goose.
Saraswati—as she is called there—inspires the humans with wisdom and knowledge, with the arts of writing and oratory. She brings everything into flow, and. She too appears to the people in February, when whole throngs of schoolchildren and their teachers get dressed up and carry her image through the streets. The first books in which the Vedic sages wrote their visions were made from the bark of birch trees.
In Europe the birch was also considered to be a tree of learning. During antiquity children were taught the joys of learning with birch whips. Like the white virginal goddess herself, the birch represents beginnings. She is young and fresh, like a blank page upon which the future can manifest itself. Birch green symbolizes the promise of a new spring.
At the start of the agricultural year, the northern European farmers placed birch branches on their fields and buildings. The first time the cows were let out to pasture they were driven along with birch sticks or herded over birch branches. The virgins are not spared, and are driven from their beds with laughter. The birch stands for the beginning of love.
In pre-Christian times smitten boys would place fresh green birch twigs in front of the house of the one they were courting. The young people danced merry round dances beneath the maypole, which was a decorated birch tree. And when Freya blessed love with the birth of a child, the placenta was buried beneath a birch tree as an offering to the goddess. The crib, the first bed of a new citizen of the earth, was to be made from birch wood as well. Naturally, the druids made the birch Beth into the first letter of their tree alphabet Beth loius nion and the first month of the tree calendar.
But because the Celtic calendar was a fluid moon calendar that went from new moon to new moon, such an exact calculation of time is doubtful. The Germanic tribes knew of a birch rune that transmits the feminine growing energy of spring. At least that is what my friend Arc Redwood—an English gardener who carved this rune in wood, reddened it, and placed it in his garden like an idol—believes. He claims this has caused everything in his garden to grow better. The birch tree is a sign of new beginnings not only in a cultural sense, but in nature as well.
The cold-hardy tree was the first to seed itself on the ground after the glaciers receded. The Stone Age people were able to survive with its help. Archaeological digs show that Paleolithic hunter-gatherers used birch gum to secure their arrowheads and harpoons to the shaft. Shoes and containers were made from birch bark, and clothing was made from the bast fiber.
The Native Americans and Siberians still carry birch-bark containers like our Stone Age ancestors once did. Maple syrup can be stored for a whole year in such containers. The inner bark could be eaten in an emergency, and in the springtime people tapped the sweet sap, which was occasionally left to ferment into an alcoholic drink. The birch is still the most important tree to the Ojibwa Indians.
They decorate their wigwams and make everything from canoes to spoons, plates, and winnowers for wild rice from the birch bark. They even make watertight buckets and cooking pots with the bark.
Glowing hot stones are placed in the sewn and resined birch-bark pots for cooking. The birch tree stands for purity. Shrines and sacred sites were ritually swept with a birch broom to encourage evil ghosts to depart. The birch broom is occasionally used in England to fight against invisible flying astral spirits witches or the lice and fleas brought in by them.
The old year is also swept away with a birch broom. In ancient Rome the lectors carried bundles of birch branches tied with red cord when swearing a magistrate into office. A bundle of birch branches with an ax in the middle is known as a fascis, and is considered the sign of the cleansing rule of the law. If any of the inhabitants suffer from skin diseases, one of the family members takes it upon herself to make a pilgrimage to this chapel and pray for healing.
A broom made from birch branches must be brought along as an offering. Just a few years ago there were still dozens of such brooms in this chapel. Birch branches belonged to the inventory of the Stone Age sweat lodge, as they still do in saunas and Russian sweat baths. The whipping of the overheated body is considered to be healing and cleansing. The Native Americans of the Great Lakes region place birch bark, which contains volatile oils, on glowing stones to cleanse the lungs and skin during the sweat lodge ceremony.
The archaic peoples associated the birch with light and fire. They made brightly burning torches out of dried rolled birch bark. But this is not the only connection between fire and birch. The tinder polypore Fomes fomentarius , which grows mainly on birch trees, is more suited than almost any other material for making fires.
For this a stick of wood, usually an ash branch, is spun so quickly that the fungus, which is used as the base, begins to glint and catch fire. In the imagistic minds of the primitive peoples, this was a sexual act in which the birch fungus represented the feminine, firebearing womb—another connection to the light-bearing goddess!
Healers in the New World as well as the Old place small burning pieces of coal made of tinder polypore moxa, punk, touchwood on painful areas. Such pieces of fungus coal are found in the archaeological digs of the settlements of the Maglemose people, who lived more than ten thousand years ago in northern Europe. Hildegard of Bingen reached back to this healing method from the Stone Age, prescribing charcoal made from birch bark for the back, limbs, and internal pain. The poison or the disease-bringing spirit was then able to exit through the resulting burn wound.
Another mushroom is symbolically associated with the birch: the psychedelic red fly agaric Amanita muscaria. With its help the shamans of the northern hemisphere climb up the inverted Tree of Life, all the way to the roots, in order to visit the gods and ghosts. Thus we can understand why the northern Germanic peoples consecrated the birch not only to Freya, but to the storm god Thor as well. Manabozo, the cultural hero of the Ojibwa, found protection from the projectiles of the thunder god in a hollow birch tree; since that time these Native Americans use birch incense to soothe or scare off the lighting hurler.
In the Protestant regions, on Whitsunday Pentacost —the day when the Holy Spirit appeared to the faithful in the form of a tongue of flame—buildings and vehicles are decorated with fresh birch leaves. The birch is the ultimate shamanic tree. The Eurasian shamans ascend the consecrated, decorated birch when they visit the spirit world. Their masks are carved from birch bark; their familiars are cut from birch wood. The frame-drum stretched with the hide of a wild animal is made from birch wood, preferably one that was struck by lightning. The Siberians say that the cradle of the original shaman stood beneath a birch tree, and that birch sap dropped into his mouth.
The dead are also concealed and protected by the birch. The Ojibwa wrap their dead in birch bark. The Jakuten used it to surround the head of bagged bears. The Celts placed a conical birch hat on the dead, as they did, for instance, with the Chieftain of Hochdorf or the warrior of Hirschlangen. There is an old Scottish ballad about dead sons who appeared to their mothers wearing birch hats on their heads; the hats are a sign that they will not hang around as ghosts, but will return to the heavens.
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In May, when everything is blooming and budding, the radiant sun god came from the heavens to celebrate with his beautiful bride, the flower goddess. With great revelry the celebrants brought the sun god from the forest or the nearby holy mountain—later from the sacred grove or from a cavelike temple.
The divine couple took tangible form in the maypole—usually a birch that has been stripped of its bark—and another one decorated with painted eggs, red ribbons dipped in sacrificial blood, flower garlands, and other votive offerings. Sometimes the gods were also embodied in the lavishly adorned May Queen and May King, the prettiest maiden and the strongest boy in the village. They were usually received with frenzy and wild orgies. How could it be any other way? The immediate presence of the divine robs humans of their reason! The heirs of the Neolithic and Bronze Age farmers continued to celebrate the May Queen, whom they decorated with flowering hawthorn.
Again the people were nearing the divine: The sun god and the great goddess, pregnant with the powers of heaven, were seen in the ripening grains and fruits of the forest and field. The mighty thunder god, Thor, who brings the summer storms, was also there. Dancing elves and throngs of ethereal sylphs and fiery salamanders appeared as well. And as usual when the numinous nears, humans fall into ecstasy. Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris was one of the most important ritual plants of the Germanic peoples. Fresh bundles of the herb were stroked over the sick person and then burned to dispel the spirits that brought disease.
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So what if that is you? Without notebooking, my high school kids actually did very well with textbooks and the typical chapter reviews and tests. Sound familiar? We use notebooking with the textbooks! They notebook the chapters and skip any worksheets and busywork type assignments. At the end of the chapter, they take the test for our high school records. Notebooking is not limited to writing summaries or narratives. In the younger years, most of the writing is in narrative form. However, in the middle years and especially in high school, we include more essays, research reports, literature analyses, persuasive writing pieces, etc.
Notebooking with Apologia's Biology course. Not everything they add to their notebook has to be a formal writing assignment either. Use the notebook as a way to organize notes, collect research, build a portfolio, journal, sketch, brainstorm, mind map, etc. You can add images and text directly to the page. Create multi-page projects, import your own PDFs to work on, and more. Don't compromise a meaningful education for a well filled out transcript! Our end game is not a high school diploma. Our goal is to develop mature, independent life-long learners. Productive Homeschooling's.
The ProSchool Membership is a library of downloadable notebooking pages , printables , and homeschool helps created to help you be more confident, relaxed and productive in your homeschool. This is not a curriculum or curriculum plan. However, many members tell us that they use our library of topical notebooking pages as their guide through many studies. You can use our notebooking pages with a curriculum or without. Our family does both! Notebooking frees you to learn effectively with whatever resources you choose to use for your studies. We created this tool for our ProSchool Members because there are literally millions of topics your children could want to notebook about.
Quick, personalized, topical notebooking pages in less than a minute. An internet connection is required. It is not suitable for mobile devices. This is a brand new program that opened April We have filled the library with thousands of notebooking pages covering hundreds of topics from our previous membership site NotebookingPages. Many of these sets are also getting a face-lift Summer plus new additional page and layouts.
Each month we will add more NEW resources including:. This is our collection of 3-D notebooking templates. These notebooking pages make for quick, easy, and fun 3-dimensional notebooking, any time. We're not much of a lapbooking family, but we do like to add some "flair" to our pages every once in a while. We have been using these templates for several years. They work great for all ages. Most of the mini-book pages include light gray cutting lines to make it a snap to cut with a cutting board. You can use our lined notebooking templates and mini-books together or use them separately or use the mini-books on your own notebooking pages.
Lots of versatility! Each set has 20 pages options including both regular and primary-lined pages as well as blank border-only pages. The frames within these pages are specially sized to fit our mini-books. How to use: 1 Pick your color or border style from the large selection of lined template pages. There are both regular and primary-lined options. There are a variety of layouts. It's SO easy to mix and match lined templates with mini-books.
When first introduced to notebooking, I needed a variety of notebooking templates so that I could work with all of my children at the same time. Although our children do have some similar personality traits, when it comes to notebooking, there are not two that are alike. Originally it was just for my own kids, but ultimately it was the beginning of our website.
This set contains pages of primary and regular-lined notebooking pages and 25 color border pages. There are different layouts available in each type of lined format. They are great for any variety of subjects or studies. Use these pages for copywork, narrations, writing assignments, reports, science labs, journaling, etc.
This e-set includes pages to build your child's first copywork notebook. For each letter of the alphabet there are 6 notebooking pages 3 styles each with two types of line choices each with varying amounts of space for copywork plus one foldable card just for fun! In addition, there are practice pages for name, address, and phone number as well as 2 template pages for any other ideas you may have. Both red and black baseline pages included. A-Z Notebooking Pages are mini-themed sets perfect for quick notebooking of the available topics.
Bible notebooking topics for both the Old and New Testament. In this notebooking pages set, you will find a variety of themed pages that your children may use to record what they have learned about particular character traits. We especially use the first three formatted pages to notebook specifics about the character trait or seed being studied that week. We record a definition of the trait. Then each child determines which habits and attitudes need to be "uprooted" or "weeded out" in order to give room for this character "seed" to grow.
Then they list specific new habits that should be cultivated. There are headings for each of these on the pages. Each week, I copy the new character trait and an appropriate Bible verse on a 3x5 card and add it to our Scripture memorization box. We practice these daily. The Bible verse is also used for copywork during that week. There are about 20 additional theme pages included that may be used in a variety of ways to add more depth to your character study. Our copywork pages can be used in a variety of settings, for copywork or general notebooking. Pages have been organized by "stanzas".
For each choice of numbered lines in a stanza, there are a variety of pages available starting with 2 stanzas per page. Also included are single stanzas for shorter selections. There are several of these stanzas organized on a page, each with their own title bar. Included is a "Table of Contents" page where your child may record his copywork selections. Study the great men and women from African American history with this set of notebooking pages. Perfect for a Black History month study! Available with both regular and primary lines.
Currently Available Topics. Wheatley, Phillis. Primary and regular-lined pages available for each layout. When possible, both black line art and portrait images have been offered in the layouts. Bonus bookmarks for each president are also included. Primary-lined and regular-lined pages included. Includes 2 notebook cover choices. This set of notebooking pages contains 10 notebooking layouts in primary and regular-lined formats for 28 famous composers. Type of images used varies. Notebook cover, listening guide pages, and continuation pages included.
Study the great men and women from church history. Each individual set has three notebooking layouts. This set of poet biography notebooking pages, available in both regular and primary-lined format, will tie in nicely with our copywork notebooking pages. Use the copywork notebooking pages to copy a favorite poem or portion of poem to go along with your poet's biographical sketch. Each file has 12 pages.
This set of notebooking pages includes a variety of notebooking layouts for 18 famous world explorers. Each explorer also has a page of cutouts to add dimension to your own notebooking pages.