A Journal of Celtic Spirituality and Sacred Trees

Issue 2, July 1993

In This Issue:
Out On a Limb: Editorial - Imré Rainey
From Brighid's Hearth: Herbs to Deal With Stress - Brighid MoonFire
Human Psyche 101: The Effects of Color on the Human Psyche - Raven
Folklore & Practical Uses: Holly - Muirghein ó Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)
Lunar Energies & Esoterica: Holly - Epona & Imré
Poetry: Holly - Epona
Mythology & Psychology: Holly - Muirghein ó Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)
Lammas - Brighid MoonFire
Poetry: The Garden Club - Raven
Bubbles From the Cauldron - book reviews, etc.

Publisher: The Garden Club
Editor: Imré Rainey
Editorial Assistant: Muirghein ó Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)
Staff Writer: Brighid MoonFire (Michelle Bell)
Cover art by Imré Rainey

THE HAZEL NUT, Volume I, Issue 3, Copyright © 1993 The Garden Club. August 1993, Holly Moon. THE HAZEL NUT is published monthly by The Garden Club.

All rights reserved. Copyright reverts to the individual artist or writer upon publication. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the editor and author.
Opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor and The Garden Club. The publisher and editor make every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information published, but cannot be held liable for errors, changes, or omissions, or for any incurrances from the application or the practice of any matter contained herein.

THE HAZEL NUT is the official publication of The Garden Club. Its purpose is to provide a forum for networking, personal contacts, and research and information, as well as to spread understanding of the bedrock of our tradition, the Celtic tree calendar/alphabet (Beth-Luis-Nion system) as researched and explained by Robert Graves in The White Goddess. Each issue, in addition to our regular articles, we will feature one or more of the lunar trees; its herbal uses, folklore, esoterica, and other aspects. In this we hope to help you make the most of the trees and the lunar energies in a positive way.
Holly is the eighth tree in the Celtic tree calendar. It usually occurs around July or August, and this year it runs from July 19-August 16.


I recently went to see the movie Hocus Pocus -- I love Bette Midler. Honestly, however, the hype that has been made over the movie spurred my interest! I loved it. The costuming is wonderful, the story is hilarious, and the flying witches were lots of fun.
A few days later, I was watching "Show Biz Today" on CNN with my sister. I was dying to see what they had to say about the movie. Their lead-in had something to do with angry witches -- so I listened. A mother and her child pleaded blasphemy, explaining that schoolmates were afraid of the little girl's mother because she is a witch and that the movie only aggravated the situation (very valid). Laurie Cabot came on and described the injustice done to witches through Hollywood (another valid point). That's two points for us, so far. Now, to end the story, they showed a high priest in Los Angeles who was annointing a pink candle and asking that people who go to see the movie feel nothing but love for us. If the movie had not already soiled us, then he definitely did. What on Earth was he trying to achieve by making a spectacle of himself, performing a 'spell' on national T.V. It just so happens that all witches do not do cast spells and wear Disney outfits -- at least the movie claimed to be fiction.
My sister laughed and I boiled under the collar. If you are going to make yourself a spokesperson for the 'witches lib movement,' then get it together and attempt to represent everyone. The two previous interviewees were honest, realistic, and down to Earth (no spells, no curses, no funky candles). "What's the big deal?" my sister asked. Well, let's look at it in this way. If a movie had been made about the Satanic practices of Jews and their blood lust for children, you bet there would be an uproar. Witchcraft is a religion practiced by many. If you are going to make a spoof about it, then fit the real thing in there somewhere. It should be explained that witches neither worship Satan (you have to consider the Bible as a valid, religious, and spiritual text if you are going to bow down to a god described in it) nor eat children (I am a vegetarian, for goodness sakes!). I suppose the reason that I found the movie entertaining is because I have an idea, obviously, of what witchcraft is. I agree that for those who do not understand this religion, the movie is going to worsen the situation. But, please, if you are going to complain then do not be melodramatic and do not make a spectacle of yourself. Offer positive resources where people can learn more about us -- educate the public. Do not pluck your own eyes out in spite of your neighbor (a Persian idiom).
And remember, think happy thoughts!

Blessed Be! - Imré


by Brighid MoonFire

In order to help you deal with the anger, stress, outbursts, and general anxiety that go along with Holly, we are offering a few herbal aids. Now, first and foremost, if Holly becomes unbearable, the best thing that you can do is to go out and find a Holly tree. Relax and sit beneath the tree, make physical contact. When you have let go of your anxiety, tell the tree that you would like a small portion -- a twig, small branch, or even some leaves -- and take it carefully. Carry this around with you and allow the energy of the tree to counteract the negative aspects of this moon.
Some herbs that I have used to deal with overwhelming anger and the desire to be incited are chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) flowers and valerian (Valeriana officinalis) root. Chamomile makes a great tea. Unlike most herbs, it does not need to steep for more than a minute or so. Its calming compounds are easily released when placed into hot water. Take this tea as is or add honey, sugar, or whatever sweetener you use. Enough tea will knock you out, so do not take this and drive.
An even stronger herb is the root of the valerian plant. I have read that half a teaspoon of the powdered root is more than enough. I have, however, used more and passed out -- anxiety-less, I should add. Valerian does not taste all that hot so I take it in capsule form (if you do make a tea, do not boil valerian; infuse it instead). Use the 'half a teaspoon' rule at first and then increase the dosage slowly, but please do not abuse the effects of the root. Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., warns that in "extremely high dosages, valerian may cause paralysis and a weakening of the heartbeat" (Earl Mindell's Herb Bible). So, again, do not abuse the valerian root.
Other herbs that have been recommended for stress include hops, passion flower, yarrow, and skullcap. I do not have any experience with these herbs as anti-anxiety aids. A good book on herbal remedies will tell you about these and any other herbs with similar properties (a 'good' book will give you the herb's various names, its scientific name, the parts to be used, its intended effects, its side effects, the dosage, and procedures of use). An ironic note: a species of holly in South America is used to make a tea, called paraguay tea or yerba maté (see 'Folklore & Practical Uses,' this issue). Maté is the main ingredient in Celestial Seasonings'® 'Morning Thunder' tea. This tea has caffeine in it, and is known for its stimulating properties. Obviously, this would not be good for stress! I hope this will help you get through Holly a little easier.


by Raven

Color, word, and animal association are very strong factors in the human psyche, even though we really are not aware of it. Papers have been written, theses documented, and innumerable tests have been run, and it all comes back to color.
On the psychic level, color can be used to stress or even exploit ourselves and those around us. In most of our cultural background it has been "pink is for girls, blue is for boys." Why? And why in European culture has it been said "blue is for girls and pink is for boys?"
Why is white for chastity and black for mourning in western society, but in eastern culture, black is for joy and fertility, but white is sorrow and death?
By looking past cultural barriers and into the human psyche you can get a better understanding of the impact of color on a subconscious level. (Ed. note: theories expressed in this article are the author's own, and have been tested several times on several different people. This was also a featured class at Moondance '93.)
The test is simple. First, collect paper/or objects of different colors. Second, have a volunteer stand or sit (whichever they choose, but if sitting use a firm, straight-backed chair). Third, have your volunteer extend their strongest arm out to the side and hold it while you press down. They should try to resist the pressure.
After you have established the fact of resistance, have your test subject focus on the color pink (this is to show the difference in pink and blue), while you press down on their arm. After the pink test, do the same with blue. As before, the volunteer should try to resist the pressure you're putting on their arm.
There is a difference -- all colors will have different results. After the pink and blue test, go to the prime colors: red, yellow, and blue. All other colors are made of these three, so shade, tone and clarity will have an enormous impact.
From the prime colors, go to the secondary colors: orange, green, and purple. Notice how the strength patterns will show fluctuations in strength resistance. Contrary to popular belief, white and black are colors and will show some interesting results.
But true neutrals, grey, brown, tan, and cream, are the only honest colors, they will not add or subtract on a physic level from our experience.
For the sake of argument, I've split colors into four categories: prime, secondus, tertiary, and neutrals, with their effects listed to the side.

(S = strong, W = weak)


red - S
yellow - W
blue - S
orange - W
green - W
purple - S


pink - W
pale yellow - S
pale blue - S
pale orange - W
pale green - W
pale purple - S


blue-violet - S
red-violet - S
yellow-orange - W
blue-green - S
yellow-green - W
red-orange - S


grey - neutral
brown - neutral
tan - neutral
cream - neutral


black - weakening
white - fluctuating strength


by Muirghein ó Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)

Ilex aquifolium L. - English Holly. Grows wild and cultivated in Europe and the U.S.
I. opaca Ait. - American Holly. Found along the Atlantic coast, and west to Missouri and Texas.
I. vomitoria Ait. - Yaupon. Sandy woods and clearings from Florida to Texas, and north into Virginia.
I. paraguaensis - Paraquay Tea, Yerba Maté. Southern Brazil, Paraquay, and Argentina.
Family: Aquifoliaceae, a family of trees & shrubs, most of which are evergreen


The holly's most distinguishing feature is its glossy, thick, prickly leaves. Holly is usually evergreen, and can be found as a tree or a shrub. The shrubs are easily trimmed, and can form quite impenetrable hedges. The trees and shrubs will withstand the most severe winters, and will grow in almost any soil, and also in shade. Its favorite place seems to be a thinly scattered stand of oaks1.
In early spring, small white flowers appear on the holly, with male and female flowers on different trees. These are followed by the familiar red berries on the female tree only2 (not all hollies have red berries; some are yellow or orange3). I have heard that berries appear more abundantly on trees before a hard winter, but I haven't found this borne out in writing yet.
The bark of the tree is a smooth, light grey, with small wood knots on it. The wood of the holly is hard, compact, white, and evenly-grained. Since it will take a high polish, it has been used for ornamental ware, and also as a substitute for ebony when stained black.
Finally, in the days before tartans were the standard symbol of recognition of Highland clans, the holly was the identifying badge of the Drummonds4.
Today there are more than 175 species of Ilex recognized, distributed over most of the world. While we have several species in the U.S., with 13 in eastern North America, the majority of hollies are in South America, where there are 67 species. Paraguay tea, or maté, comes from a species of South American holly, I. paraguaensis, a small evergreen tree or shrub. Paraguay tea is the South American equivalent to our coffee, and is drunk at every meal and hour5.
A North American holly related to these is the yaupon, I. vomitoria, whose leaves contain caffeine, and were made into tea by the American Indians6. According to Green, "some believe that if we had not become accustomed to Chinese tea, this might be more generally used. The Indians...called it 'black drink,' and brewed strong infusions of it. It is said to have been a nauseating mess; but the Indian was a stoic. He believed the whole system was thoroughly cleansed by its action and that this was followed by a spiritual purification. Whole tribes, therefore, sometimes traveled long distances to indulge in these drinking ceremonials7."
Not all hollies are evergreen; one deciduous holly species is the possumhaw or swamp holly, I. decidua, whose bright red berries are conspicuous in winter. Another deciduous holly is the mountain winterberry, I. montana, a shrubby holly which may reach small tree size. Its leaves are sawtoothed, oval and olive green, and its berries are orange-red.


The leaves and bark are the part of the holly most commonly used, and the English holly and American holly have similar properties. The leaves of the English holly are astringent, diuretic (induces urinary flow), expectorant (expels mucous from the lungs), and febrifuge (reduces fever). In the past it was used for gout, kidney stones and urinary problems, chronic bronchitis, rheumatism, and arthritis8. Birdlime used to be made from the bark stripped from young shoots and fermented, and was shipped to the East Indies for destroying insects9.
The leaves of the American holly are diuretic and purgative (a vigorous laxative). It was formerly used for cleansing the system by promoting elimination of waste products from the body. The berries of both English and American are mildly poisonous and dangerous to small children10.
As mentioned above, paraguay tea, or yerba maté is made from the leaves of I. paraguaensis. The twigs and leaves are depurative (a blood and system purifier) and diuretic; but it is primarily drunk (and its use is vast) for its powerful stimulant properties. The leaves contain caffeine, but in smaller amounts than coffee or black tea; and Lust claims it 'may be the answer for the coffee addict who wants to get rid of his coffee nerves without breaking the habit11.' However, Green says that its use, once acquired, is hard to give up12. At any rate, it is a very sustaining drink, and makes possible lasting physical and mental endurance; sometimes it is the only subsistence carried for a journey of many days13. In addition, its use is praised for headaches and migraines, neuralgia, and insomnia (go figure!)14.
The yaupon is an American species whose leaves are emetic and stimulant, which gives credence to the American Indians' use of it (see above). The dried leaves make a good weak tea with a mildly stimulating caffeine content. As with other hollies, the berries are poisonous15. The leaves of the English Holly have also been used for a tea substitute16; but I don't know if they, or any other holly besides paraguay and yaupon, contain caffeine.


Throughout history, holly has been considered a plant of protection. People in England believed whooping cough would be cured if children drank milk out of a cup made of holly wood; and John Parkinson (Theatrum Botanicum, 1640) noted a belief that holly defended a house from lightening and protected one from witchcraft, but put it down to superstition learned from Pliny17.
Holly's protective powers were especially useful in winter, the 'dead of the year.' This later carried over into the Christmas traditions, when, according to Grigson, a function of holly "was to deal, not only with demons and witches, but with the house goblins, the Robin Goodfellow, the brownie, the Hobthrust, etc., and keep them down in the Christmas season18." Holly, along with its sister plant, ivy, would have been kept up in the house from Christmas Eve till Candlemas Eve (January 31). Another Christmas custom in 15th century London was that of putting up poles garlanded with holly and ivy alongside the Christmas activities.
Holly, along with other green plants, were used by several ancient cultures in their mid-winter celebrations: among them the Druids of Britain; the Romans in their Saturnalia, which was the "turning of the sun" held in late December; and the early Teutons, who hung evergreens in their houses as a refuge for sylvan spirits from cold and storm19. These were considered pagan customs by the early medieval church, and an edict was issued by the Church of Bracara forbidding Christians to decorate their houses with greenery at Christmas20.
Eventually, however, general belief in the holly's powers was so strong that it could not help but be accepted by Christianity. In fact, in old British church calendars Christmas Eve is marked templa exornantur (churches are decked)21. Grigson tells of holly's christianization: "it could still keep out demons from house or church. It was thorny and the berries were red -- the Crown of Thorns and the drops of blood combined; and on the evil side it was held to be one of those trees from which the Cross was made....The blossom of Holly is white as milk or white as the lily flower and can be linked to the birth of Christ. Red as any blood, the berries, with the prickles sharp as any thorn and the bark bitter as any gall, stand for the passion22." And Grieve tells us that according to old legend, the holly first sprang up under the footsteps of Christ, when he trod the earth23.
The word holly is a corruption of 'holy,' as the tree was known in past days; in his Herbal published in 1568, Turner refers to it by the name 'holy tree 24.'

"The Holly and the Ivy
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown... 25"


(1) Grieve, Mrs. M. A Modern Herbal (2 volumes). 1931. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, NY, pg. 406.
(2) Ibid, pg. 406.
(3) Green, Charlotte Hilton. Trees of the South. 1939. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, pg. 349.
(4) Grieve, pg. 406.
(5) Ibid, pg. 609.
(6) Little, Elbert L. The Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Trees, Eastern Region. 1980. Albert A. Knopf, New York, NY, pg. 565.
(7) Green, pg. 350.
(8) Lust, John. The Herb Book. 1973. Bantam Books, New York, NY, pg. 227.
(9) Grieve, pg. 407.
(10) Lust, pg. 227-228.
(11) Ibid, pg. 229.
(12) Green, pg. 350.
(13) Grieve, pg. 609.
(14) Lust, pg. 229.
(15) Ibid, pg. 228.
(16) Grieve, pg. 407.
(17) Grigson, Geoffrey. The Englishman's Flora. 1955. Phoenix House LTD, London, England, pg. 116.
(18) Ibid, pg. 116.
(19) Green, pg. 345.
(20) Grieve, pg. 405.
(21) Ibid, pg. 405.
(22) Grigson, pg. 116-118.
(23) Grieve, pg. 405.
(24) Ibid, pg. 405.
(25) unknown author, quoted by Grigson, pg. 115.


by Epona & Imré

When Epona and I began our conversation regarding Holly, she used the image of a sweat- box with people scratching their nails on black boards to describe the prevalent energies during this, the eighth month of the Celtic Lunar Calendar. Holly brings with it intense psychological, metaphysical, and psychical implications. The battle between the Green and Red Knights (see Oak King and Holly King in 'Mythology & Psychology,' this issue), the Tanist, the Yin versus the Yang, the manifestation of incompleted emotional conflicts, and pure, bestial rage -- just to name a few. It is now the time of the year when negative emotions are at a peak. We just sit back and hope that someone will provoke us. Let's look at what is behind all this and attempt to understand how to breeze (ha-ha) through it.
Holly signifies the need to deal with unresolved emotions. Memories, feelings, and faces will come into the forefront and then drift away; that is, if they have been sufficiently dealt with. Those things that need finishing touches will not only linger in your mind, but Holly will provide them with the energy to manifest and confront you. If you turn your back on these issues, then the cycle will continue and you will not grow in those areas.
Along the same lines, conflicts between the Yin and the Yang will manifest. For the extremely Yin person, the Yang aspects of your personality will attempt to force themselves into the picture and visa versa. If you do not step aside and let the complimentary side, or the 'dark side' (dark denotes something 'in shadows,' or below the surface, not anything evil), of your being take its course, then you are in for a real emotional roller coaster ride. Your 'dark side' will do anything to get out, including drive you mad and lash out at your world. This, along with the intense heat, and the emotional conflicts aroused, lead to some pretty irritated people who will not think twice about acting out threats; so watch yourself. Be aware of the people around you and understand what everyone, including you, is having to deal with. We have found that overly Yang men are especially hard to deal with, and possibly dangerous, around this time (add the fact that we are still at the peak of Yang to everything that has already been stated and you will understand why).
Now the 'sweat box' metaphor has more meaning. The glyph for Holly is "I am a spear that roars for blood." Everyone is on edge, just waiting to be provoked, needing a reason, however small, just to draw blood. Go to the tree, take your herbs, go on vacation -- incidently, this is a very good time to go off on your own, to take a break, to get away -- do whatever you have to to survive this month. Keep in mind that once you have dealt with all of these emotions and conflicts, peace is just around the bend.


- by Epona '93

Oddly hate is not cured by love
but by Laughter
The Laughter that wells up
inside when I
finally understand
that nothing inside
this Construct has
to make sense.
One just lives it.
Hopefully learning fast enough
to stay away from
the Axe.

(Note: I don't remember WHO "J.K." is, but if you do, please email me!


by Muirghein ó Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)

Holly is a moon of strong mythological and psychological images and feelings. It is best explained by a description of the Oak King and the Holly King. In mythology, and the wiccan Wheel of the Year, the Oak King rules the first half of the year, from Winter Solstice to Summer Solstice. He is then sacrificed or killed by his tanist, the Holly King, who rules until the Winter Solstice. He is in turn sacrificed, and the Oak King is reborn.
This may sound simple on the surface, but there are many hidden meanings underneath (aren't there always?). Let's look at some of them, and how they relate to us as humans in the mundane world.
The tanist, to the Holly King, is the Oak King; and the Oak King's tanist is the Holly King. Each is the other's tanist. The term indicates the person's opposite half; not necessarily their dark side, but just the other side. Recall Star Wars: Luke had to enter the cave and confront Darth Vader. Upon killing his rival, his own face was revealed inside the dark one's helmet.
The Holly Moon is very much a moon of male/yang energies, and will especially affect those whose male and female selves, or yin and yang, are not in balance. One will continually rear its ugly head and try to kill or repress the other. This cycle will continue until the two reach an accord and join as one. You will know if you are reliving this cycle yet again if you feel unwarranted anger towards yourself or others, or if you feel like you have a nasty little person inside of you screaming to get out and wreak havoc. So how do you overcome this? Let's continue to look at the myth.
The Oak King is sacrificed at the Summer Solstice, and what happens then is manifested 45 days later, around Lammas. Look at what happened at the Solstice. The Oak King was killed by his rival. Is this going to make him happy? No! Does it make the Holly King happy? Probably. However, the two can still come together, as each serves its purpose in the Wheel of the Year. The Oak King represents the birth and growth of the sun towards its fullness, the planting and growth of crops, and the birth of animals. The Holly King is the decline of the sun and the increase in darkness, the harvest of the crops, and the sacrifice of weaker animals before the killing cold. For humans these two sides of the year mean an increase in physical and mental activity; a time to accomplish things in the outside world, and later an increase in emotional sensitivity and insight; a time to accomplish things within oneself or inside the home, and a resting period before the activity of spring.
These cycles of birth and growth, decline and death are a part of nature; one cannot happen without the other; both parts are necessary to the whole. So instead of our Oak and Holly Kings repeating the cycle of violently killing each other at the Solstices, the cycle is slightly changed to allow one to voluntarily be sacrificed, or step gracefully aside, so the other can come to the front. Recall again Star Wars: in Return of the Jedi Luke faces Darth Vader, who has turned out to be his father (another twist!). Vader struggles to bring Luke over to the dark side, and nearly succeeds when Luke responds with anger and hatred. But Luke recovers, and compassionately entreats Vader to join with him and overcome the Emperor, who personifies that nasty creature screaming inside you. Vader voluntarily sacrifices himself so Luke may become empowered, and when the helmet is lifted, the face is still Luke's father, not Luke himself. The cycle has been shifted.
Be very aware of yourself and your reactions to other people in this moon. The emotions you feel will be magnified and sent right back to you. Notice the word react: to re-act to something, to act in response to stimuli, or to act in opposition to some previous condition or act. This moon should instead be a time of action; get outside, expend some energy, renew an old friendship, take a trip. But don't sit around waiting to react to something or someone, because in this moon you are more likely to feel anger and hatred than in any other moon. And one of the mysteries of the lunar trees is this: whatever you feel during that moon is remedied by the tree itself. Go out and find a Holly tree. Sit under it. Talk to it. Bring a piece of it home (with permission, of course). Holly is well-known in folklore for its protective qualities, and these properties can help protect you from debilitating anger, hatred, and jealousy.


by Brighid MoonFire

Lammas is one of the Wiccan Sabbats and is opposite Imbolc (February 1) on the Wheel of the Year. Lammas is traditionally celebrated on August Eve, which is in Holly this year. It is called the Feast of Bread in celebration and honor of the Goddess of the Grain1, who was known by many names: the Corn Mother (Germanic), Cailliach (Celtic), and Demeter (Greek)2. Lammas is also associated with the Celtic festival of Lugnassad -- the sacrifice of the God Lugh3. And the God of the Grain was commonly known as John Barleycorn4 (grain was called corn in the British Isles; the name was later transferred to the Indian's maize in the New World).
It was believed that in each field of grain there lived the spirit of the grain. As the grain was cut the spirit retreated into the grain that was still standing. No one wanted to be the one to cut the last sheaf of grain, so they would take turns throwing their sickles at it until it was cut through. Some of the grain would then be gathered into a special bundle to form a Corn Dolly, which was shaped and tied to resemble a woman and dressed in women's clothing. She would be mounted on a post and carried ceremoniously back to the village in a procession of carts and wagons that contained the entire harvest. The Corn Dolly would be mounted in the barn near the thrashing floor while the harvest was thrashed, then kept in the farmhouse until Spring5.
Latin farmers worshipped the Goddess Ceres, viewed as the source of all food6. Both Romans and Christians kept her rites faithfully for fear of crop failure. In the British Isles, these rites consisted of farmers going round their corn with burning torches. There she was known as Cerealia, and from her name comes our word cereal7. Her celebrations were performed in mid-June, and continued there until recently.

Everything about the harvest was sacred, or had some sacred meaning to it. The tools that were commonly used were the scythe and pitchfork. The pitchfork's tines resembled the antlers of the Horned One, and the scythe, with its curved blade, represented the crescent of the moon, which was the symbol of death also used by the Grim Reaper8. In fact, the harvest itself was the essence of life, death, and resurrection. The grain was planted in the fertile Earth, it grew, and was killed so that it could live again, not only in breads, but in next year's seed as well. In the harvest rituals, John Barleycorn often personified the grain. In this role, bread shaped as a man, or bearing a man's face, was baked from the grain and then passed around. People would tear off a piece and eat it and thus 'commune' with the God of the Grain9.
To make your own Corn Dolly, pick a handful of grain and tie a string around it. Then bend the tops down and tie again to form a waist. Take smaller bundles and add for the head and arms. Decorate if you wish. After the harvest, let her rest in a dark spot, ready for the Spring and the fertility of the Earth10.


(1) Walker, Barbara. The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. 1983. Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., New York, NY, pg. 357.
(2) Campanelli, Pauline. Ancient Ways. 1992. Llewllyn Publishers, St. Paul, MN, pg. 124.
(3) Walker, pg. 528.
(4) Campanelli, pg. 114.
(5) Ibid, pg. 124.
(6) Walker, pg. 158.
(7) Ibid, pg. 158.
(8) Ibid, pg. 153.
(9) Ibid, pg. 112.
(10) Campanelli, pg. 125.

The Garden Club

- by Raven '93

Lightning flash and thunder crash
a storm front's rolling in.
I guess that means
the Garden Club
is meeting once again.

The light in Miach's bedroom
was burning late all night.
So Muirghein and Epona
must have told him
to create a brand new rite!

When passing by Bridgit's house today
I heard a primal scream.
That means she's got
the newest FAX
"Do a report on forgotten dreams!"

All the phones in Auburn-town
are ringing off the hook.
Muirghein's calling all
at four a.m.
to read the newest book!

Epona's holding court again
as all can plainly see.
To answer questions,
and give advice
through a haze of smoke and tea!

Raven's eyes are growing blank
her mind has just shut down.
To remember songs
she's always known
and not trip on her gown!

Lightning flash and thunder crash
a storm front's rolling in.
I guess that means
the Garden Club
is meeting once again!


A Brief Selection of Herbals:

A Modern Herbal (2 volumes), by Mrs. M. Grieve. 1931. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, NY. Softcover, $9.50/volume.
The Herb Book, by John Lust. 1973. Bantam Books, New York, NY. Softcover, $6.99.
The Way of Herbs, by Michael Tierra. 1980. Washington Square Press, New York, NY. Softcover, $5.99.
Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss. 1939. Back to Eden Books Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA. Softcover, $6.99.
School of Natural Healing, by Dr. John R. Christopher. 1976. Christopher Publications Inc., Springville, UT. Hardcover, $39.95.
Reviews and Opinions by Muirghein (Linda Kerr)
Grieve's A Modern Herbal is probably my favorite herbal. The 2-volume set reads like an encyclopedia, and is chock-full of information on trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, as well as the traditional herbs. She gives a very scientific description of the plant, a brief history of its commercial use, its folklore, and finally its medicinal properties. And the best part -- she gives the plant's chemical constituents! I thought it was great to be able to look up oak galls, and find that they are comprised of 50-70% gallotannic acid, 2-4% gallic acid, mucilage, sugar, and resin. But maybe you don't get so excited about that as I do. She also gives the family name of the plant, along with its Latin name and all common names -- very professional (don't trust any herbal that doesn't do this!). But, as the book was published in 1931 in England, some of her medicinal uses are out-moded (have you ever heard of dropsy or pleurisy?), her Latin names are a little off, and of course she concentrates on the British species. But this is more quaint than a problem.
Lust's The Herb Book is useful for modern medicinal applications and other practical uses of herbs. He offers quite a wide selection of herbs, but not as many as Grieve. He also gives Latin and common names, but as Grieve seems to be one of his favorite references (I've found sentences quoted almost word-foreword), the first species of the plant listed is usually the British one, and his common names can be misleading and confusing. The Herb Book contains a lot of information, but if you're just starting to learn herbs, it may be a bit overwhelming.
A simpler book to get through is The Way of Herbs. Tierra covers eastern and western healing methods and how they work together, and lists the most useful plants. He doesn't worry about folklore, astrology, dyes, perfumes, commercial uses, etc., but concentrates on the medicinal and healing properties of the plants. He is also one of the few modern-day herbalists I've read who doesn't reference outdated, inaccurate, esoteric English herbalists of the 16th-19th centuries. Tierra also has a video by the same name, which goes over in brief what his book covers. You get a nice walk around the garden and some good shots of herbs, but there's only so many times you can watch him grind up an herb or listen to his lecture on its properties while he's just sitting cross-legged and staring into the camera, before it's snooze-city. Good reference tape, but don't sit down and expect to be entertained by it.
Back to Eden, on the other hand, is very entertaining, and effective. Kloss lived during the depression, and has some great stories. He spends some time describing the plants, but his main focus is healing. He also has a good section on natural foods, with recipes. His plants and remedies are strictly American, although some of the illnesses he lists may not be as prevalent nowadays. Kloss's therapies may seem a little weird (he's got a thing for high enemas), but they really do work. He is extremely opinionated, and fairly radical, so of course I like him. Highly recommended. By the way: try to get the large-format softcover -- the standard size paperback is just too thick to be able to hold open and read easily.
Finally, the premier book on healing is Christopher's School of Natural Healing. Like Kloss's, this is more a treatise on health and healing than an herbal proper. The book is arranged a little awkwardly, listing the herbs in chapters according to their main property, but a quick look at the index will direct you to the plant or disease you want to read about. Christopher is also a little radical, and has a thing against milk, but his remedies do work, and his knowledge is extensive and amazing. The cost of the book may seem a bit prohibitive, but if you are serious about learning medicinal herbalism and natural healing, this book is a must.