Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants by Claudia Muller-Ebeling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I bought this book with some pretty high expectations.....A bit of a let down. All I can say is nothing new hear. The book gave a pretty basic over view of the intertwining history between witchcraft and herbalism. Those with a knowledge of Witchcraft 101 or higher I advise you to look elsewhere.
The forest or the wilderness was at onetime home for human kind and believe me Europe was covered with dense forests. Man was a nomadic hunter moving to this place and that place with the animals he hunted. In time man mastered agriculture and learned how to domesticate animals. With this domestication man began building his villages and becoming alienated from the forests. A hedge surrounded the forest and it was in the deep dark forest where all sorts of scary things dwelt. To keep himself safe man grew a hedge around his village to keep the forest out and his family safe inside.
The witch of the wise women used to live close to the hedge. They would communicate with the plant spirits and learn about different cures and how to work with the plants. The women were guided by the spirit of the plants. Wise women were respected and feared. To cure meant that one was able to poison.
The earth was considered the mother, Frau Holle, who later would become demonized as an old hag in faery tales. The Horned God was represented by the sun or the sky and was the one who ploughed the field and placed his seed. The mother gave birth and received the dead body after life was over.
The book does cover the mythos of witchcraft rather well. Christian Raatsch writes good chapters on Ethneogens and Hekate the Goddess of the witches. Reading his chapters did clarify things with regards to Hekate and her relation to the moon, Roman Diana, Prosperina and Artemis. I finally understood how Ayahuasca worked and the role of DMT and MAO inhibitors. Written throughout the chapters are lengthy descriptions of the herbs along with a wood cut illustration. I would rather see a photo.
Baneful herbs like Aconite, belladonna, henbane and others were used by witches to astral project and get to the realm of the spirits. The church would later ban these herbs for their association with witchcraft and possession was enough to have someone prosecuted during the burning times. Still these baneful herbs had many medicinal uses that are over looked.
The persecution started by the church and male dominated medical industry continues to this day. Backed by a staunch Christian mentality herbs like hemp, coca and a few others are outlawed despite the scientific proof demonstrating their health benefits. If someone does get intoxicated here and there like a drink after work what of it? It is wrong because someone chewed on a a coca leaf or smoked a joint. The witch scare continues under the form of a scare against drugs.
Despite the over all good view of history and uses of various herbs the book would have benefited the inclusion of some herbal recipes, especially flying ointments which seem rather hard to find. The book could have also added in more historical details.
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