Recently, a reader ask me what a woodwife is, so I thought I'd answer her question in a post in case anyone else is wondering.
According to wikipedia...
"The Wood-Wives are female spirits of the forest in Germanic mythology.
They are also known as Moss Women, Wish Wives, Spae Wives or Skogsra (Skoggra) in Sweden.
They are native to and inhabit the deep forests of Germany and Scandinavia.
Wood-Wives are generally gentle and helpful to humans. Sometimes someone traveling through or working in the woods may see a Wood Wife. They are known to ask favors of travelers or woodsmen, asking to borrow something or have something mended. The wise person will do as the Wood Wife asks, despite the only payment being a pouch of wood chips. Tales are told of mean-spirited men who have not accepted the wood chips, and who never know what they've lost. Good-hearted men who have taken the payment are happily surprised when they learn that the chips turn to gold as soon as they've left the forest.
They were also credited with being able to cause and cure illnesses."
Now if you've been reading here for any length of time, you know that herbal home remedies are very important to me and often a way of life for our family. My very favorite herbal remedies are the ones I craft from herbs I harvest in the wild - wildcrafting.
You might say that I'm married to the idea of searching for and using these gifts that God has given us to maintain health. We can find food and healing in the woods and fields that surround us. All those weeds folks are trying to get rid of contain natural substances that can be used to heal our bodies inside and out. Pharmaceutical companies and laboratories know this and they often extract the medicinal properties from the plants to "purify" and "qualify" them. Trouble is that in their perfect design, it's the combination of properties or synergy of the plants that make them powerful healers. It might be easy to identify which chemical part of the plant is actually the cure but what might not be so easy to see is that there are also other substances and/or compounds that pave the way for the cure to do it's job. Isolate one without the others and suddenly, your cure becomes much less effective.
Let's not even talk about synthetic look alikes.
In times when the Village Herbalist was looked upon with suspicion, folks often turned to other sources to find their cure. These sources may have been healers who practice occult ideals. Alchemists often held a place of great respect in medieval communities with the result that the common folks couldn't afford their care. Where could they turn for help when illness strikes? Another alternative was the healer, generally a woman, who lived in or near the forest, or woodlands, gathering herbs, roots and barks to use as remedies.
Let's see where that leaves us...generally gentle and helpful to humans...curing illnesses...wildcrafting...married...weeds...woodlands...
While I have ancestral roots in both Germany and Scandinavia, I'm very much a flesh and blood human rather than a woodland spirit, although I've always admired them in my favorite tales. And I worship the one, true God, Father of Jesus, who created all these plants for our use. There's nothing mystical about me or what I do. But I have to say there is something quite "magical" in the properties of plants and trees. A kind of peace that settles over me when I work with them. I love spending time in the woods, studying and gathering. And it's my passion to use those things I've wildcrafted or propagated to make remedies that I can use to ease illnesses when they strike or create products for cleaning and personal care that are safe from industrialized chemicals that are harmful to our bodies.
And that's why I've taken the name, Woodwife, for myself. These pages are the chronicles of my herbal adventure....thus,
The Woodwife's Journal.
The Woodwife's Journal.
Much herbal love,