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Elderberry – the go-to for the flu, cough and cold, sinusitis, gastritis, and other viruses. Elderberry is thought to boost the immune system. But did you know the berries of the elderberry tree are poisonous until ripe? And if the berries are not cooked, they could make you nauseous.As popular as elderberries are in folklore, it’s the flowers that herbalist use the most. The flowers are the powerhouse when it comes to fighting upper respiratory infections and viruses.You will find many people selling their Elderberry syrup, Elderberry supplements, Elderberry lozenges, and Elderberry teas, but it is wise to ask if the product you are getting is made from the berries or the flowers. When I make my tinctures, I use both.
In my Hedgewitch Botanical Oracle card deck, Siolo Thompson pairs the word ritual with the elderberry tree. I think they did this because elderberries have been used for centuries in different religions, rituals, and superstitious rites. In folklore, there is even an elder tree mother, and the myth says that no one should take part of the Elderberry tree without leaving a gift in return – a ritual!
This morning when I chose this card, I thought about the word ritual. While in history there could be a negative connotation with the word ritual, today it has a simple meaning. To me, my ritual assembly routine is: I get up in the morning, I have coffee, I take a shower, I brush my teeth, I get dressed, I make my lunch, I get my kids together and I leave the house for work. That is my ritual.
When COVID-19 hit, my ritual was thrown off. I am sure many of you experienced the same thing. When our rituals or routines are thrown off, our whole world has the potential to turn upside down. Add fear to that mix and it's a recipe for disaster.
So as COVID-19 progressed, new strands mutated, vaccines were tested, distributed, but limited, and the world still struggles to adjust their routines, I found that I needed to make new rituals. So as COVID-19 progressed, new strands mutated, vaccines were tested, distributed, but limited, and the world still struggles to adjust its routines, I found that I needed to make new rituals. These new 2021 blog series you are reading is a product of that routine.
Picking one of these cards every morning and seeing how they're going to affect my day it's now a ritual for me. The depth of the cards has really given me a deeper perspective of myself and others, and how plant life interacts with human life. If you would like to join me on this little adventure, click here to purchase your own Botanical Oracle set.
What rituals do you have? What rituals have you had to adjust since the pandemic hit?
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Juniper and juniper berries were one of the first plants I ever worked with as an herbalist. Juniper essential oil is also a great part of the plant to work with, and I’ve used it in many of my blends.
A lot of people may think of gin when they think of juniper, but the berries from this tree also has a deep-rooted history as far back as the Roman Empire (and probably even further back than that). They are also used in cooking, medicine, and in some cases, flavoring.
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