Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Observing the Early Greens

Various observances surrounding the appearances of new life, planting, and harvesting were/are common among the Deitsch folks, and these are becoming more popular within the Urglaawe community.

We've really only begun to get some of these described. One that would be about this time would be an observance of the early greens. This is the observance in which the "entity" Luul is said to protect the young greens and seedlings. The information on this is scant historically, but there are some dots that can be connected to Lullus/Lollus, about whom we had a larger discussion in the past.

Among the greens that I'd place into this category, at least in this general area, would be Dead Nettles  (Deitsch: Daabnessel; tax: Lamium purpureum), Ground Ivy (Deitsch: die Grundelrewe; tax: Glechoma hederacea), Chickweed (Deitsch: Hinkeldarrem; tax: Stellaria media), Cuckooflower (also called Pennsylvania Bittercress or Lady's Smock;  Deitsch: Schtruwwlichi Nans; tax: Cardamine pensylvanica and related species). There are, of course, others.

There are medicinal uses for all of these, but among the more esoteric uses are the following:

Purple Deadnettle: A strong stand of Purple Deadnettle appearing in the Fall is said to divine a mild winter. Also, if someone is very ill, then the urine of that person is to be collected at night and poured onto Purple Deadnettles. If the Deadnettles were yellow or dying the next morning, then the ailing person should be expected to die from the current ailment. If the Purple Deadnettles were still green, then the person would be expected to overcome the ailment.

Ground Ivy: Sewn into the seams of skirts, this plant is said to increase the likelihood of pregnancy. Also, wreaths of Ground Ivy worn by elderly women around the waist while dancing on Walpurgisnacht/Wonnenacht are said to ward off old age. Similar stories apply to elderly men and women wearing wreaths on the head while dancing around the Midsummer fire. Also, this is one of the Nine Sacred Herbs of Braucherei.

Chickweed: Said via various methods to divine one's love or to attract love. I am not familiar with most of the methods, but one is similar to picking the leaves off of daisies. If you know chickweed, I am sure you can imagine the challenge presented in picking the petals off of the flowers. Perhaps more "Old World," though, is an odd practice that involves feeding a food chicken chickweed three days before it is to be cleaned and dressed, and then divining things from the entrails. The Deitsch name for the plant, Hinkeldarrem, does indeed mean "chicken guts," but most folks ascribe that to the often messy appearance of the plant.

Cuckooflower: Said to be sacred to any number of faeries and land spirits, likely because of the plant's quick, widespread appearance and the volume of seeds.

All of these can also be used alone or in combination with other herbs to detect witches, remove/block curses, and a couple of them can be used in actually casting curses...