Helen’s Golden Tears

Dear pagan readers,

 

Today, let’s talk about a very powerful aromatic plant which everyone knows and which many of you probably eat to on a daily basis. It is still widely used and considered in our kitchen and herbal medicine of nowadays, but not even as half as it was back in antiquity. This plant was considered sacred among ancient europeans and his name was synonymous with courage and bravery in ancient Greece. Ancient Greeks believed this plant and its extracts could restore vigor and mental acuity. They burned it as a religious incense to give them courage in battle. It was also burned as an incense at funerals and placed in the burial mound of the dead. Even Gaius Plinius Secundus, (circa 23 – 79 A.C.E.), better known as Pliny the Elder, said that when it is burned, it “puts to flight all venomous creatures”.

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Moreover, at the time of knights, ladies embroidered a bee buzzing around a sprig of thyme on the scarf of the knights. It was meant to make them remember that they should always bring fairness and kindness in their activities and that it would give them courage and strength, a kind of silent memory from the distant past. Thyme was used throughout the ancient world: the Egyptians applied it in the mummification process, the Greeks burnt it as incense in sacred temples, and Romans treated the depression with it. The ancient egyptians used thyme in the making of their embalmment preparation because of his antiseptic virtue and aroma. It was also used to perfume and purify the sacred greek temples and public bath for the same reason. And the romans were pretending to cure depression by eating and burning it. As said earlier, thyme is linked with bees and honey. Bees appreciate thyme flowers a lot and mediterranean thyme honey is among the most tasty and reputated honey around the world. During the middle ages a sprig of thyme was placed under the pillow to induce sleep and to prevent nightmares. According to another folk belief, fairies supposedly love thyme. Throughout Europe people used to plant large beds of thyme to attract fairies. In A Midsummer Nights Dream, Shakespeare referenced that folk association when writing that Titania, the Queen of the fairies, often went to “a bank whereon the wild thyme blows”. My grand mother told me once ”Oh! Such beautiful memories I keep of the hikes through the hills of Spain and Italy when we found blooming bushes of thyme. What flavor, what strength and power which emerged from small leaves that look more like needles. Indeed, when it grows in its place of origin, thyme is picked pretty dry but with a concentration that we do not get here in our wetter and colder climate”. ”It is the enemy of the toxines because it is a powerful antiseptic” thus said Armand Trousseau(1801-1867) the famous french doctor who performed the first tracheotomy in Paris. This claim as been clinically proven nowadays. As you can see, thyme is a thousand purposes plant, symbol of purity and courage throughout the ages.

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After all, it’s pretty normal that this plant is highly considered for so long when we learn that it is born from the silent tear drop of the most beautiful of all women on earth. Thymus vulgaris, as told in the Iliad, is born from the tear drop of Ἑλένη της Σπάρτα, better known as Helen of Troy, one of the three iconic sorceresses in the pagan initiation ritual. In fact, thyme, is one of the secret lore given to the initiate by the sorceress. A gift, to strengthen the May King’s Hamingja. For a person ‘said to smell of thyme’ meant someone of admirable style, activity, and energy. As you may have understand, the Iliad is in fact a description of the pagan initiation ritual. But that is another subject that I will eleborate in future articles…

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Once again I ask you all: will you refuse such a beautiful gift given to us by a living goddess? So celebrate the health, purity and courage by making good use of the thyme!

 

Hail the pagan secret lores! Hail Europa!

 

Fredrik Blanchet

 

 

 

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Birds of a feather flock together: The sacred feast of Váli

Dear pagan readers,

February 14th is commonly being designated as “Valentine’s Day”, the day of lovers that is nowadays celebrated with roses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, romantic gifts and valentines given to those beloved. Some couples even make a point to go out for dinner or to go see a movie on this day to express their love and rekindle their passion for each other. February 14th is indeed a very special day. That is exactly why the early christians felt the need to assimilate this pagan feast in order to facilitate the conversion of our forebears. Long before the two early Christian martyrs named Valentine that this special day is currently named after lived, the ancient Europeans in Northern Europe celebrated February 14th(around the 24-25 of Sokkvabekkr in the ancient calendar) as The Feast Day of Vali also referred to as The Festival of the Kin. This day was held sacred to the god Váli and in honor of the family and friendship. The god Váli is known as the defender of the family unit, light, and goodness. Vali is the son of the god Oðin and giantess Rinðr, as well as the brother of Balðr, Þórr, Höðr, etc. Váli is depicted as an archer with arrows of light. Some anthropologists theorized that the god Váli is the Northern European version of Eros (Greek myths) and Cupid (Roman myths). But Vali represent love in a broader meaning, he also represented family and friendship types of love, like the love between friends, siblings, spouses, parents and children, cousins, and the like.

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In the Poetic Edda (Voluspá and Baldrs Draumar sections), Váli is known for avenging Balðr’s death with the killing of Höðr. This myth defines him as a god of “rightful vengeance”. The type of vengeance that upon dispensing causes balance in society, harmony, and good to avail. This “rightful vengeance” did not encompass spiteful or petty revenge. Today, as an example, a type of “rightful vengeance” would be the death penalty imposed upon a serial killer or rapist. This would bring about a balance in society, harmony, and good.

The feast day of Váli was a very important festival to the early Northern-Europeans. It was not just a day to give toasts and feasts in honor of the god Váli. This was a day dedicated to the Kin unity, its members, and friends. Which is why this day was also known as The Festival of the Kin, an appropriate name since that is exactly what they did. On this day, entire tribes were holding festival and every member of the tribe were sharing much fun together as relatives and friends.

This ancient story of The feast Day of Váli makes this day even more amazing and meaningful. This is a day for honoring the family and friendship, not only lovers. A day to spend time with our beloved relatives and grant them the gift of quality time. This year would have probably been considered even more sacred by our forebears with the fullmoon tonight. So I suggest you all to give a toast in honor of the ever growing Oðalist family. May our Kin grow bigger and tighter as the time pass by. May our “rightful revenge” come soon in honor of our gods and Kin! In honor of Váli! That’s something definitely worth celebrating don’t you think?

“Birds of a feather flock together” so be it!

HailaR Váli!

Frederik Blanchet

Healer of the battlefields

Dear pagan readers,

Let me introduce you to a plant used in medicine for tens of thousands of years. It was even a part of our neanderthal ancestors pharmacy in prehistory. But we use to link it with greek antiquity because the origin of his name is linked to a greek hero which everyone knows, and also because it is mentionned in the great books of herbal lore of antiquity. It is a plant undeniably linked to the battlefield and war in general as the title of this article suggest.

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According to Pliny the Elder, the Roman naturalist of the first century AD, its name comes from Ἀχιλλεύς(Achilles), hero of the Greek mythology, who used it to heal Τήλεφος(Telephus) wounds in the Trojan war. This herbal secret, according to Ὅμηρος(Homer), was conveyed to his pupil by Χείρων(Chiron) the centaur. Achillea millefolium was also mentionned by Πεδάνιος Διοσκουρίδης(Pedanius Dioscorides) as an incomparable plant to heal wounds and ulcers. In antiquity, it was known as herbal militaris  for its use in stanching the flow of blood from wounds. In fact, as far as we can go back in time, it as always been a part of the European pharmacopoeia.

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The second part of the name, millefolium, means thousand leaves because of the shape of the leaf. Achillea millefolium is commonly known as yarrow nowadays. The English name yarrow comes from the Saxon word gearwe, which is related to both the Dutch word gerw and the Old High German word garawa. Other common names for this species include gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man’s pepper, devil’s nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier’s woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand-seal.  It is a flowering plant in the  Asteraceae’s family . It is native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America. This herb is purported to be a diaphoretic, astringent, tonic, stimulant and mild aromatic. It contains isovaleric acid, salicylic acid, asparagin, sterols, flavonoids, bitters, tannins, and coumarins. The leaves encourage clotting, so it can be used fresh for nosebleeds and wounds. The aerial parts of the plant are used for phlegm conditions, as a bitter digestive tonic to encourage bile flow, and as a diuretic. The aerial parts act as a tonic for the blood. It stimulate the circulation and can be used for high blood pressure. It is also useful in menstrual disorders, and as an effective sweating remedy to bring down fevers. Yarrow intensifies the medicinal action of other herbs taken with it. It is reported to be associated with the treatment of the ailments such as pain, antiphlogistic, bleeding, gastrointestinal disorders, cholereticinflammation, emmenagogue and stomachache. It can be used as an oil, infusion, tincture, liquid extract or even fresh.

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I could have talked about this plant a whole day but now I have to go back to work; cucumbers, tomatoes, spaghetti squashes, onions, etc… needs to be harvested. So I leave you with the Achillea millefolium who’s also asking to be harvested right now through the whole northern hemisphere. Make good use of the centaur herbal secrets and maybe you will become a European hero yourself! Hail Achillea millefolium!

Frederik Blanchet

Hecate’s flower of Strength

Dear pagan readers,

Let me present you a plant whose nowadays reputation is far from what is used to be in pagan times. It is now mostly cursed as one of the main weed, being considered the plague of the golf courses, parks and gardens. But let me tell you that the greatest European pharmacologists, botanists and herbalists of antiquity had it in great esteem. And for good reasons of course.

In Greek mythology, it is even a part of one of the most well known myth; the goddess Ἑκάτη, widely known as Hecate, fed Θησεύς, the hero known as Theseus, with this sacred plant for 30 days, giving him enough strength to defeat the Μῑνώταυρος(Minotaur) in the Cretan Labyrinth – testament indeed to the value of this excellent herb! This plant led the Greek Hero Theseus to victory in his pagan initiation and let him cultivate his Hamingja to a full potential. I will elaborate deeper about the undeniable link between this myth and Ôðalism in a future article.

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This is a plant many of us know well, or at least, most think they know it well. This plant is called Taraxacum officinale in Latin, it is the Common Dandelion. From French dent-de-lion (lion’s tooth), also in Late Latin dēns leōnis. The term has since died out in French (except in Swiss French), but compare Spanish diente de león, Italian dente di leone, Norwegian løvetann, Portuguese dente-de-leão, and also German Löwenzahn, all having the same literal meaning. It is called after the shape of the leaves that looks like lion’s teeth. Some say the Latin name comes from the Greek ταράξω(taráxo̱), meaning ”disorder”, and ἄκος(akos), meaning ”remedy”. 

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Πεδάνιος Διοσκουρίδης, one of my main influence regarding Herbalism, better known as Pedanius Dioscorides, mentioned the Dandelion in is gigantic five volume encyclopaedia called Περί ύλης ιατρικής(De Materia Medica Libre).

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Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Dandelion leaves can be used to add flavor to salads, sandwiches, and teas. The roots can be used in some coffee substitutes, and the flowers can be used to make wines.

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As you might have understand, Dandelion is not a weed, but a wild vegetable, more nutritious than the broccoli or spinach that cleanse the blood and kidneys, reduces gas, blood pressure, fat and cholesterol and increases muscular strength, all this without side effects. In medicine, the roots are mainly used as an appetite stimulant, and for liver and gallbladder problems and the leaves are used as a diuretic to help the body get rid of excess fluid.

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You can harvest the leaves and flowers from spring until autumn. About the roots, I mentioned that Hecate fed Theseus with Taraxacum officiale, and therefore the best time to gather the root is in November, the month of Hecate. If you live in a northern area, it must be harvested a little bit earlier as the snow and cold weather are coming earlier.

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As European folks, how can you turn your back on the magic herb given by the night goddess to Theseus, thus making him one of our famous European hero? Will you be such a hero yourself? Will you gain your Hamingja? Let’s begin by thanking the Goddess Hecate for her precious gift by making good use of it! So enjoy!

Frederik Blanchet