Saturday, 7 April 2012

Pagan blog Project Week 14 - H is for Hedgerow

Hedgerow Plants in the English Countryside

I am lucky enough to live in the North English country side and am surrounded by fields. The lane at the back of my house is bordered of either side by old hedgerows.  Some of these Hedgerows are very ancient and are often tending too by the farmers who fields they border.  Hedgerows not only offer a barrier again farm animals getting out on to the road, they can also, too represent borders between land owners, particularly in ancient times. Another association with the Hedgerow is with its uses in magick and in particular its connection and association with the faeries.

I am fortunate to be surrounded by old, yet traditional hedgerows such as Gorse with freshly opened flowers and intertwined with Ivy.
There is also Hawthorn which grows in abundance the leaves just coming out of bud fresh and green
There is also Hawthorns other half, Blackthorn flowering prior to its leaves coming out.
As yet as it is early spring, the flowering hedgerows are not quite in their prime, but on this lovely spring day, while out walking my dog, I couldn't resist taking these and sharing the joys of what the hedgerows have too offer. Many of these species are associated with the Fae and I feel should be looked after and preserved for generations to come.
Hedgerows in Natural Medicine

Our hedgerows are not only there to demarcate land boundaries but they can offer us riches, not only in terms of the fauna and flora they hold and that we can appreciate, but also as a source of medicine.  In ancient time the ancestor’s harvested roots, barks, herbs and flowers and most of these will have come from the native species we find today in the British Hedgerows. 

If you know what you are doing, then harvesting your own for the medicine cabinet will be rewarding, not only will have know what is going into what you are making, you are saving huge costs, in terms of the cost of logistics in bringing these products to us from other places, the cost of packaging, and overhead costs that go towards commercial over the counter items such as heating and rent.  For the small amount of input it will take you, there will be more benefits for you, plus you will be recycling as you will use sterilised jars, bottles or pots for storage.  Just remember that if you do decide to harvest medicinal plants from the hedgerow, it is imperative that you are one hundred percent sure you are harvesting the correct plant.  Do invest in a good book which has good quality pictures and descriptions of plants so you have a guide and can make sure you are harvesting the right plant and not a poisonous one.  If you want to explore this field further then I can recommend an excellent website.  Although this is a British website, there are books published on this subject for both the U.K and America, this website gives details of this.

Alder Buckthorn  can be used to protect against the magickal workings of others placing the branches by windows and doors is said to keep these forces out

Ash  this tree has been associated with divination and knowledge and in some Celtic legends was associated with the god Lugh.  The leaf from an Ash tree is said to bring good fortune if you carry one in your pocket or purse.

Beech  The druids used Beech groves for their sacred spaces if there were no Oak groves.  Beech can be used in divination, working with the ancestors and ancient wisdom.
Black Poplar  The Black poplar was said to have been a funeral tree sacred to the Mother Earth. Plato makes a reference to the use of Black popular as an aid in divination
Blackthorn is used for creating magical wands. Magic wands made from blackthorn can be used for many purposes. When a blackthorn magic wand is carried, it confers protection from evil, can be used for wishes. Also good for divining rods
Buckthorn  is said to be used in protection, exorcism, wishes and legal matters.
Crab Apple  this is a member of the rose family and has healing properties,  the crab apple is the original ancient apple tree and like all apple trees is linked with magick.  Slice an apple in the middle crosswise to the direction of the stork and you see a pentacle star.  Apples were said to have been buried in churchyards to feed the dead and they symbolise rebirth.
Dogwood  Place the sap of the dogwood onto a handkerchief on Midsummer Eve. This will grant any wish you have as long as you carry it faithfully. Dogwood leaves or wood can be placed in protective amulets.
Elder is well known for its berries gathered in the autumn to make elderberry wine; its flowers can be made into cordials too.  It is said the Elder can be used for exorcism, healing, prosperity, and peace.
English Elm  Elm can be used in all love spells
Field Maple can be used in binding spells and abundance spells
For more information there is an ideal website.

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