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Of Herbal Lore - A small Excursion into the Realms of Herbs and their Mythology

Herbalism is and always was a big and essential part of European spirituality and Folklore.

So many plants and herbs have been named after mythological beings that represent certain forces, elements and other phenomena in nature, such as for example the Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica, with its great healing qualities and properties,from tinctures, teas and ointments, detoxifying the blood and urinal tracts as well as treating hair loss or rheumatism, for example in hot bathwater. The Stinging nettle is one very important herb and it has been used for hundreds of years.

But very few still know that this herb is connected to Heimdallr in German Mythology and has been used in meditations and celebrations that hold Heimdallr dear and close to their hearts.

Sambucus nigra, or the

Elderberry-Tree was once on every Farm on german soil, called Holunder in German, that is connected to the Germanic Goddess Holla or Holda, a very famous Goddess in Bavaria and Swabia, also called Frau Holle in German Fairytales. The word drives from Hold, which is a term for loving something. The Elderberry is connected to her, she is another representation of the nordic Goddess Freya.
It was believed in pagan Europe, that Holla is coming back every year around Winter-Solstice in December, between the 21th and 24th of December, guided by frost and ice, where she is struggling and fighting the powers of darkness. It was because of her forces and powers that spring and new fertility came back after a cold and long winter. She is the Goddess of the seasons, a protector of the elements and the people that live on this planet.
Offerings and Sacrifices made out of flowers, incense or beer has been always practiced under the Elderberry-tree. That is one reason why it is very likely to find at least one Elderberry-Tree on an old German Farm.

Thus, the Elderberry-Tree, is connected to ancient pagan beliefs and myths. Holla is just a different version for the nordic Freya. Between the 17th and 18th Century, it was forbidden to cut the Elderberry-Tree, for it was believed that disease and sickness will kill the one who was responsible for cutting down that tree. Holla was also called Perchta, who ruled over the winter, darkness and destiny, but always came back with Sunshine through her hair, bringing back fertility, the sun and new life.
She also taught witchcraft and shamanic practices, exactly like Freya who taught women about Seidr and Galdr. She was a germanic-pagan witch-goddess who was worshipped especially in Bavaria, where I am from originally.

Hel or Helius was associated with the sun-like flowers of the Elderberry-Tree, representing the fertile power of the sun, of life and nature itself.

The Holunder on the farm was supposed to absorb all negative forces and disease from our world to the realm of Hel, where she feeds upon these forces and recycles them. The syrup is abundant in Vitamin C and a great remedy against could throats and boosting your immune system to fight a cold.

The color is blood red, with a very rich flavor and taste.

My passion and interest in herbalism is another way of dedicating myself to the powers of nature, while at the same time exploring my own cultural background and ancient European beliefs and finding old recipes that support and maintain our health, wellbeing and balance, as well as exploring the hidden realities and dimensions for real.

Nature is full of old remedies and the great diversity of herbs and plants is one mystery itself that you can learn from for a lifetime.

The greatest and most famous shaman-herbs have been used all around the world with their distinct and unique scents and potent essential oils.

One of the most important shamanic herbs is of course Juniperus communis, or Juniper, or Wacholder in German language. Juniper, or Wacholder, has had one important role for the ancient Romans, as well as Germans and even Native Americans. Used of incense or medicine, it was used to banish negative forces and powers as well as spirits. Juniper was considered to be the tree of life/ and of death at the same time in German Mythology. In Beltane Fires the smoke of Juniper was used to purify the house and property. In Siberia, burning Juniper has been used before anything sacred happens, a celebration, a ritual or trance in order to manifest a purified, neutral and sacred place where divine communication is possible and the channels are open.

Juniper has many uses in medicine, for example Aromatherapy. The essential oils are used as a muscle relaxant in bath oils, mostly combined with Wintergreen-oil. The oils are important to improve blood circulation and will make your body feel warm and relaxed after a bath in the oils. The berries are sometimes used for cooking, for example in traditional Sauerkraut recipes.

Mugwort or Beifuss in German language is perhaps one plant that is known to shaman tribes all across the world, from Central Europe to Siberia and America, as well as China and so on. In Germany, Beifuss is one of 9 herbs that are used to create Johanniskraenze, herbal wreaths that Germans hung into their homes in order to cleanse the energy of the house and protect ourselves from negative outside influence. This is of course a christian celebration, but with pagan roots connected to the powers of the Sun and Baldur himself, who was killed by Loki.

It is believed that Mugwort opens up the crown chakra of the human body and thus being more sensitive to the spiritual world and clairvoyance-experiences. Mugwort is cleansing but also opening at the same time. It is a plant that has been used to establish contact and communication in various herbal blends, incenses, and other remedies. With its unique scent, it has been used for cooking, especially chicken. The night before Samhain, Mugwort-incense was important to keep the house clean from negative spirits and energies, and around Summer-Sun-Solstice, people threw Mugwort into the open fire in order to get rid of everything negative and evil. Mugwort has sacred and holy to the Germans, a plant that was part of rites and celebrations to give praise and thanks to the Gods.

In medicinal use, Mugwort was important to treat cramps and urinal as well as uterus disease of women, as well as insomnia and improving digestion and stomach pain.

Valerian, Valerina Officinalis, is known as Baldrian in Germany, a reference to Baldur and the power of the Sun. Strong in scent and flavor, it was part of herbal blends and mixtures used to connect the mind and soul back to earth, to ground yourself. Its medicinal use is widely known, mostly as a mild sedative for depressed souls that need to find the light inside of their souls back again.

There are many, many other herbs that have a strong mythological background in Folklore and magical practice as well as herbal medicinal use.

Every herb and plant I view as a living entity with certain qualities, properties and unique essence. We can use these properties for healing, medicine, cosmetics and nourishment… from detoxifying and cleaning our skin and organs, to nourishing every single cell in our body, and balancing the forces of our mind and soul, re-connecting ourselves to nature and our own inner self.