Monday, October 24, 2011

The village witch

This last year, I've spent a considerable amount of time filling the roll once filled by a herb woman, village witch or the local midwife.  I've been the supportive adviser to new mom friends who were given bad advice by medical professionals.  I've suggested low tech easy home remedies for minor ailments, and right now, I'm prepping a candle for a sick acquaintance.

These are the functions that the local healer once took care of.  Their training may not have been from science books, but the advice they dispensed was practical and time tested.  Steam to loosen congestion, herbs for stomach upsets, and the loving training of new moms.  If there wasn't a healer or midwife available, there was always the mothers and grandmothers around the community who had a few tricks up their sleeves- cabbage leaves for sore nipples, urine for eye infections, or elderberry cordial for a cough.

When did we women give up our remedies and our healing abilities?  Were they stolen or beaten out of us or did we abandon them?  It's a bit sad that we tend to run to the doctor at the first sign of illness and accept less than well tested remedies from medical professionals but so many of us don't think to open the kitchen cupboard or raid the garden for some safe healing.  For me, witchcraft is becoming more and more a life style, a community role than a spiritual path.  I'm beginning to wonder if part of healing the world is to reintegrate the healers and witches into our daily lives and save the doctors for serious emergencies.

Witches touch the Earth and use the energy surrounding us to create reality.  If we accept this idea, then maybe the time has come again for healing and herb lore and food remedies to be available along with energy therapies and genuine loving care.  Maybe the cost of medical care would decrease if it was used only as one option.  Maybe people would be healthier if healers were called to the role rather than to the monetary incentives.  If drugs were well tested and reliable and affordable and nurses and health aides were given the respect they deserve, maybe we would find that human condition does not require pain and illness as constant companions.


  1. Yeah, and if you talk to a doctor about household remedies (such as honey for open wounds), they will pooh-pooh at you. Until someone tests these age-old remedies "under scientific circumstances" and makes something artificial from it. And then you are supposed to buy the pharmaceutic stuff because it is "more pure" than the household stuff. Argl.

  2. Diandra, I guess it depends on your doctor. My kids' pediatrician, who I adore, often recommends home and natural remedies first, like black tea fro eye infections or honey for a cough. He almost never proscribes antibiotics and always tells me to go with my gut (since I know my kids best). My personal physician actually recommends chocolate for easing depression and tried controlling my migraines with diet before she recommended other medication.

    Alternative therapies are beginning to find their place in modern medicine, it's just really slow. The younger doctors seem more willing to give them a try, which is encouraging.

    As for honey on open wounds- my dear friend who is a microbiologist, says it works by creating a hostile growing environment for bacteria (too much sugar) and removing excess fluid (through osmosis). I use for lost of stuff and the our doctors agree as long as it isn't applied to serious open wounds (anything that needs stitches or has exposed bone).

  3. I have always been one for home remedies and natural cures. I brew teas and make mixtures anywhere from witch hazel for large pores to ginger and honey for a cough. More people are turning to home remedies and the Doctors who support this are just seeing the effictivness of using time tested cures versus a pill with serious side effects. Great Post!

  4. I have often wondered the same thing. How did we find ourselves in waiting rooms instead of the kitchen? I have used herbs and oils for my kids since they were babies, but when the appendix needed to come out we went to the hospital. Now I make herb and oil mixes for my friends kids. Loved this post!!


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