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Witches Brew

greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

I know this is a few days late but to me it was really interesting.

We've all read the stories or heard the incantations about the ingredients that are being thrown into the witch's cauldron. And I've always thought who goes out and finds the bat's wool or the tongue of a dog.... etc.?

Check out this link and you'll see what the translation is for those ingredients.https://www.continuum.umn.edu/2017/10/shakespearean-recipe-witchs-brew/?fbclid=IwAR0GY8s5SplwfAPhm5HFR0891XsgihqvgLglw5l1jk7vFr_NKT1VI17Y7kA


  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @merlin44 we can joke about it but I've always believed they were the predecessors to the herbalist of today.

    I've known before that many of the "titles" thrown into a witches' cauldron were from a plant (only because when I did hear about the tongue of a dog it pissed me off so I checked it out). But I never went so far as to check out many of the names of other ingredients.

    But now if you are trying to pass yourself off as a witch preparing her brew, doesn't it sound so much more prophetic to say you use bat's wool or tongue of a dog than just I used a holly leaf and a gypsy flower?

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @smockv thank you for the great description of what you and your close relatives believe your persona in life actually is. This is exactly what I was saying when I mentioned the witches of yesteryear are the predecessors of the herbalist of today.

    Now many current herbalists may find it contentious to be called a yesteryear witch but it is only a title. Human psyche is the one which has made the label contentious. To me, there is nothing contentious about a title which shows you are an expert in herbal therapies. It is a proud profession and an actual gift to be able to use God's plants as a means of healing for health.

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hello everyone,

    RE "I am a witch, yes an ACTUAL witch. I learned my skills and recipes as they were passed down from my Grandmother and G Grandmother when I was a child (Luckily I still have my Grandmother at 96!) We follow and use the traditions and techniques of the Ol' Granny Women found around the Appalachians, to the Deep South ( not to be confused with the VooDoo traditions often found in the Bayous and along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana).

    Now, my Grandmother and G Grandmother would NEVER call themselves witches, but that is the most accurate "label" to put on who I am AND what I do. They would say they are/were doing the works of God by caring for those in need- it didn't matter if you had 2 legs, 4 legs, or more. They never asked anyone for payment for anything, but there were always baskets of fresh herbs, veggies, wild nuts and berries left on the porch. This was just how things were done, times were simple- man I miss 'the old days"

    Gonna be brave. asking here: so re someone defining self as a "true witch"

    1.a person "doing the works of God by caring for those in need, Never asked anyone for payment for anything, but there were always baskets of fresh herbs, veggies, wild nuts and berries left on the porch. This was just how things were done, times were simple " - golly (without using herbs) that sounds remarkably like me. - So why does one need to "miss' the old days" - what would Stop someone from so continuing ? Can you explain? please.


    2.Voodoo, & casting spells, etc - NOPE, I Refuse all that. To me that is plain evil. How do you understand it?

    And No, I have not read the article.

  • merlin44merlin44 Posts: 425 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019

    @greyfurball You are quite correct the "witches" of old were the herbalists, midwives, wise women of their villages. I have read digitalis was "discovered" by a "doctor" who was so perplexed by the successful treatment of heart ailments by the village herbalist that he followed her as she foraged for the foxglove she used. (It's a history that should not be forgotten as in many ways it's being repeated today by attempts to discredit the value of healing herbs). The green ones, as you stated, are one of God's many gifts to mankind.

    @smockv What a priceless legacy, the women of your family have gifted you. The Ol' Granny Women of the South carried on the healing practices of their native lands. Gratitude expressed by abundance of what recipients had on hand, I understand how one can long for the simplicity of the time.

    Many traditions of native people are labeled evil or ignorant by those with no understanding of the practices. No doubt every tradition has "dark" practitioners with evil intent, but too often the "light"workers are ignored. Shamans of the Native Americans, Rootworkers or Conjure Doctors of the deep South, Roma "Gypsies"... Even Christians condemn denominations different from their own.

  • maimovermaimover Posts: 307 ✭✭✭

    @greyfurball I think the title “witch “ does conjure up a certain mind set. But when I think about witches I think about having magical powers. Using herbs that were more readily available and less adulterated by all the chemicals pumped into the air and soil probably did produce results that could be considered “witchy” as the magical herbs did their work!

  • Witch's spells are a type of prayer. We all have rituals in our lives, from the instant prayer in our heart when we hear of someone's misfortune, the candles we light in church, the order of things we do to start our day. Being a Witch or Wiccan is a religion based on doing good not evil. It does not mean the stuff seen on TV, with objects flying through the room and dark clouds gathering lol. There is room for everyone.

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,343 admin

    Very well said @seeker.nancy !

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019

    @smockv Thank you for Returning & trying to EXPLAIN your world to me. Unfortunately now I am more confused,

    (( including by the fact that I was , once again, voted down & Twice, & this mind you for ASKING QUESTIONS... WHAT IS WRONG WITH ASKING QUESTIONS, pray tell ?????? - Supposedly we are here to help.... each other learn new awareness(es); but oh NO!! <- So how is that 1 iota better ??? than all too many christians))


    Anyway, I choose believing you did NOT take part of whoevers voted me down & Twice ^^, because you tried to explain... what you mean... Thank you.

    Anyway, I totally understand re the "medical" world: There have been countless people with GOOD morals, & ethics, & character, & deeds who were/are told to "Cease & desist", sometimes not even given another chance, - & why??? because it goes against DARK agendas. - I have known MD's (3 personally) & ND's, & others incldg. little me who only have their client's (& other people's) BEST interest at heart, who were asked for Help, & freely gave it, - but well , from what you said, you DO understand what I am saying, Right?

    Before I ask more questions, I should preface that by saying, that were I to tell my family, what discussion I am asking.... in, they would warn!! me away. - But as much as I am able I am here, & the fact that you RETURNED with more context, to me says that you are a person who Genuinely cares... yes?

    Agreed 100% RE "I miss the old days: There was a time when families made communities and supported one another, Today, society in general is too concerned with "Self". instead of helping our neighbors, we don't even know their names." - Both are true. --- I too was raised in Germany like this, knowing one another & genuinely Caring....

    Oooops, I have a Report due for work, & must Fax it at the Library before it closes tonight, - so since you said " Please feel free to ask! " - I will take you at your word, & return asap. Thank you @smockv. I appreciate your Attitude.

  • SuperCSuperC Cook at Wahlburgers The Frozen Tundra in the Northern MidwestPosts: 250 ✭✭✭

    As I have just read all of your comments. We here in this growing community of using herbs and growing them in our gardens, we are good connecters with one another by our peaceful actions. Many people wonder yet may have unanswered questions about how or why we understand methods differently. We are each precious gifts as we share our individual knowledges about many topics.

  • @smockv so sorry, I was not referring to you as Wiccan, only bring up another belief system for reference. You are indeed fortunate to have had and still have women to teach you of the old ways. The healers in my family had all passed by the time I was born.

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ok @smockv - Since descriptors in this thread by five participants do Not make sense to me, am seeing once again that having learned 8 languages is Not enough. - Trying to make heads or tails of all this, I finally read the article, & it said Fillet of a fenny snake, In the cauldron boil and bake; ... Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”

    Now for the translation: " While gathering ingredients to fill our cauldron, we quickly found that

    1. the eye of newt was not to be taken literally but in fact a common name for mustard seed.
    2. Toe of frog = Buttercup (Ranunculus acris L.)
    3. Wool of bat = Holly Leaves (Ilex aquifolium)
    4. Tongue of dog = Gypsyflower from the Genus Hound’s Tounge (Cynoglossum officinale L.)
    5. Adders fork = Least Adder’s-tongue (Ophioglossum lusitanicum L.)
    6. Blind-worm = Slowworm (Anguis fragilis) If you have any intentions of trying your luck at this brew, don’t be fooled, it’s much easier to gather holly leaves than the wool of a bat, as we have learned from experience."

    so what is " fenny snake, Lizard’s leg & owlet’s wing " ? -- Now TWO underlying (to any sufferers), questions...

    re the First <-- simply because 'HERBal establishment' are the original & thus first of any sick, &

    re the Second <-- because the 'MED-establishment' came afterwards to Control, manage & dominate - iow

    The FIRST uses herbs (Mostly very beneficial, strengthening, & supporting) , while

    The 2nd. uses drugs (that not only Not 'cure' anything, they kill, maim, & in countless ways destroy) life.

    in this thread here, actions such as "magical powers, Voodoo, prayer spells," etc etc are Highly praised as plainly evident by 15+ Awesomes & 27+ Upvotes being communicated. is that the Intent ?

    But @smockv BOTH (herbs & drugs) are ->EXternal<- means, iow sufferers have no other choices ??

    @smockv in my Grampa's healthy garden I grew-up with everything possible in mountainous Germany, (incldg. healing Herbs, without knowing what is which in childhood), and once on my own at 18: built from beautiful PINE my own Spice-rack, & filled it with all kinds.... Also have most of life grown Nutritious foods that kept ((from most worldly diseases)) our family safe+free. ---- with many of my own gardens photos shared in this group. plus additionally Aloe, Camomile, Chives, Dandelions, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, & Yarrow

    I steadfastly REFUSE(d) pharma-crap: First, because that's how we lived in Germany in the hills, & 2nd. because I spent 40 !! years as (mostly icu-nurse), painfully aware how they use drugs. - Then served as 1 of the pioneers to start HOME-care in Wa-state.

    I came to TGN wanting to both learn more... herb Benefits, & use them (other than for the Healthy Home-prepared meals I have made all these decades; as well as share

    that also Truthfully I have guided some souls

    -> into Growing new nerves for movement... (which butchers Intentionally cut in infancy). &

    -> their emotional owies heal, - so they could survive mental hospitals, until they are free

    -> life, they had lost, to reNew so as to yet live finest dreams

    -> out of coma, ((etc. - like totally pain-FREE Dancing/birthing kiddos in ease & exuberant joy, as did I).

    Now for our discussion... Together, you said also "Science plays a great aside as well- if energy is neither created nor destroyed, and we are made of energy... are "we" able to stay earthbound? " - THIS (but not man's 'science') ties in well with the above achievements by others. This I know.

    Even as i am a " Skilled herbalist " not. I fully admit it. - And so it's either pharma, OR herbs ? iow NONE of any other Achievements that the above people made, are efficacious ? -- I ask @smockv as for our discussion...Together, Allowing & Welcoming an OPEN discussion of also the latter is a good Start, Agreed ?

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,408 ✭✭✭✭

    I am going in a different direction here: I find it both charming and a relief that obscure animal body parts are not necessary for even fictional recipes. Sounds like early herbalists had their own special language like doctors and lawyers do today.

    Ye old cauldron was perhaps boiling up an infusion.

    Here at TGN we are using our individual gifts and nature in all its wonder to affect healthy change, whether called witch, herbalist, nurse, doctor, veterinarian or even humble family member such as myself.

    Caring, prayer, herbs, or other wonders can be of help. We can all unite in a positive purpose.

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019

    Yes @shllnzl anyone 'truly-humble' like for example Pre-school children learn & heal & achieve & teach the best & fastest as allowing self to remain open.... & How we enjoy each other's company much....

  • smockvsmockv OhioPosts: 44 ✭✭✭

    @rainbow I am so sorry that people are voting your questions down, it isn't necessary or polite... We few agreed to keep it courteous- I supposed those didn't get the memo! Yes! it takes openness to even start a discussion- but, I seldom open up for the fear of being ostracized and ridiculed. I am sure it is probably very similar to the women steeping a nice peppermint tea for their neighbor's tummy-ache, only to be accused of witchcraft... I did tell someone once that if they didn't stop I would give them warts... I know- too far,giggle! No one seems to believe in magic until they think you are going to turn them into a frog- Hollywood for ya! Speaking of Hollywood, I imagined your family property looked like 'The Sound of Music', I hope not to offend!

    @seeker.nancy MY apologies, I thought I was differentiating- I did not mean to offend.

    @shllnzl EXACTLY! 😀

    @rainbow did you get your report in?

  • smockvsmockv OhioPosts: 44 ✭✭✭

    @teachercaryn Welcome to our discussion!

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019

    @smockv - Re @rainbow did you get your report in? - Yes, thank you for asking. 'til October had 3 work Reports due on 1st. of next month. - But from now on only have 1 due & w/ a few days grace; good.

    re who's voted me down 15 times, my family said "in response to the world hating..., continue this http://www.paradoxicalcommandments.com/index.html

    re you being "ostracized & ridiculed" <- as a little girl that happened to me so often, I lost count. And I was soo tender-hearted, that when someone merely frowned at me, I would be in tears, for hours... - Yet LOOK @smockv you are accepted & loved, so that concern is Not an issue. - In fact, were you & I in the same room together, (so long as you seek me or Loved-ones no harm), I would gladly embrace you with open arms, were you to welcome such. - (Some people withdraw;) - but my nature is to spontaneously love & hug. Family & friends no longer ask me "What do you want for Birthday?, or Christmas", as my answer has remained the same for decades... "All I want is Lasting peace in the world". Understand ?

    Re the "The Sound of Music' family property": Prolly pretty Accurate as far as Geography, except since it was East-germany we owned no property as it was under communist rule. Which made 1 relationship I shared all the sweeter...

    Re being accused of witchcraft : why would a simple kind act of giving someone Peppermint tea be called "witchcraft" is Totally beyond me, such name calling makes clearly NO sense, & is Illogical.

    Otoh, I started couple discussions in TGN, specifically https://community.thegrownetwork.com/discussion/841966/inspirational-people-including-us-each#latest & help by empowering good possibilities that by too many wrong people that I encountered in real life, after whatever... I helped others achieve, were considered unfortunately 'Not allowed', & others witnessing what they saw, were told "You WILL DENY that, or else". And with jobs threatened, nearly all give in. - I have not really shared in these 2 discussions much, yet. - IF any kind of innocent helpful including teas is "witchcraft" in their ignorant mind, what would I be ?

    re 'magic' - Beyond the usual magicians producing illusions as entertainment by use of sleight of hand, Or to pull a white rabbit out of a black hat, etc. - That never interested me.

    Now, words get kind of 'blurred' as far as meanings, because lacking enough 'common' experience we lack a 'common language' for being able to just define..., or explain...let alone Experience... more of (what people call) 'Supernatural'.

    So the 'natural' is the Physical realm/world, that most people (incldg. the ama & their bedfellows) accept as the 'ONLY reality'. (which any pre-school child can tell you is miniscule}. That the 'physical' world is a very tiny box, compared to that of the vaster reality. - Not sure, are we still on the same ? page here, @smockv Waiting for your Feedback.

    Have a wonderful week, & stay warm 🙂

  • smockvsmockv OhioPosts: 44 ✭✭✭

    Yes, the physical world is (in my opinion) the tiniest part of our vast existence. I find it funny how many paradoxes there are when it comes to "science" in general.

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 442 ✭✭✭✭

    @smockv thank you for sharing your family legacy and WHO YOU ARE. I have absolutely no idea why Appalachia’s people are so dear to my heart but they are. About four years ago I started dreaming of hiking this mountain (I rarely hike and I’ve never been east of the Rockies) and then I saw a book in a window about hiking the Appalachian trail and my heart stopped, it felt so familiar! After that all my herbal studies and kitchen witch graphics were showing up with references to Appalachian lore. Then I found this beautiful article about “grannie witches” and I really felt like I found a lost piece of myself.

    I am just starting to climb my family tree in a crazy pursuit of truth, I have no idea what I might find! But it sure would be awesome if my heart knows something about my lineage that I haven’t learned about yet.

    I realize that this is totally off topic and might seem really odd to even mention...but it’s so rare to run into someone from there (on the internet) who has roots as you do. So I guess all this to say HELLO!!💖

  • jodienancarrowjodienancarrow Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 705 admin

    And thats what I believe. Medicine women were the healers, had the knowledge and looked after their community, usually for free as they were helpful, nurturing, intelligent, compassionate humans. At some point in time, men were indoctrinated to rule, be so powerful, greedy and full of self importance that basically only they became professional medical practitioners. Women with the healing gift were made out to be evil, burned at the stake etc. In cahoots with pharmaceutical companies where money could be made hand over fist, regardless of human health, money and power ruled. Now the cycle is returning to a more balanced approach.

    This is a generalized statement, obviously not all men were/are arseholes but hey they've held so much power for so long and made some big mistakes along the way. One wonders what a world would look like if the sisterhood made the rules.

  • merlin44merlin44 Posts: 425 ✭✭✭✭

    @jodienancarrow You're so correct, balance is what the Earth Mother and all ultimately seek.



  • HassenaHassena Posts: 296 ✭✭✭

    Hey there, where about the Appalachia are you? We live in Western NC, just about an hour NW of Asheville.

    I'm an herbalist. I felt much at home in the deserts of the SW learning the plants and mountains. Out here it's much different. Perhaps because of all the plants, it feels a bit more secretive. Still I felt drawn here. Mom's side of the family is from rural southern KY. We purchased an old house and some acres to grow.

    Love articles about historical plant peoples. I'd like to take a class from here: http://www.bloodandspicebush.com/products.html

    Any book recommendations. I've been looking online, would love a suggestion or two.

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 442 ✭✭✭✭

    @Hassena oohh that website looks so good!

    @merlin44 yes! Thank you

  • PharmerPharmer Posts: 16 ✭✭✭

    @Jodieancarrow: who was wondering what the world would be like 'if the sisterhood made the rules'. It would take longer for stuff to get done. There would be too much discussion. :-D Both girl brains and boy brains are required for things to work. I employ this principle to get things done at our place.

    @anyone: The term "Witch" has many definitions, (and is therefore ill defined, and emotionally charged) and is great for stirring up a big conversation. The same quality that can stir up the down votes also fills up a forum with debate, and lots of good traffic :-) How about Susun Weed? Give her Herbal Medicine Summit talk a listen. She won't put you to sleep, that's for sure.

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @Pharmer , yes I believe you are correct about your defining the word witch but in cases like this I believe that is what starts a good conversation because many people have a different concept of what that word means to them. So all of us trying to find common ground with a term when so many of us have a different definition is what makes a forum like this so interesting.

    Also, the people who frequent this forum are already of a certain type. We are avid learners, we like contention and the agreeable attitudes of all of the attendees and I believe we all like to soak up the knowledge (or opinions) of others.

    So when somebody lucks out and finds a topic we all can contribute to, I believe we are all the benefactors of that job.

  • PharmerPharmer Posts: 16 ✭✭✭

    @greyfurball For sure! I visit and read the forum from time to time, and am psyched when a thread is currently active, which inspires posting. Hope the forum heats up during the winter months when people usually get more screen time.

  • Scott SextonScott Sexton Posts: 36 ✭✭✭

    I don't have anything useful to add. But I've really enjoyed reading through the comments. Super interesting commentary. Thank you.

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