"Have you collected medicinal herbs with incantations other than the creed or the Lord's Prayer?"
From the anti-pagan penitential of Burchard Bishop of Worms begun in 1012 CE. Called Corrector or the Physician, it speaks against folk spiritual practices such as praying outdoors, divination, wakes for the dead and women's reproductive sovereignty.
According to Max Dashu's essay "The Politics of Witchcraft Studies" many of the women persecuted were healers, including women in Scotland burned for "sainting" in the 1600's, more than 500 years after Worms was writing. The practice of sainting involved " animist cures with three stones, with fire and water, by stroking, brushing and charming or by ritually walking around lakes."
It took hundreds of years for the pagan and heathen practices of our ancestors to become occult, or "hidden". The terrors visited live in us still. Yet the wisdom is buried deep in our cells. Listen to fear. Is it there? Listen to power. Is it there, in the land and the stories? If so, it is within. Somewhere we all begin--in land and story.
Speaking with lady Motherwort today, a babe planted in last year's cold. It is a day of endings, of finality. She weaves the wyrd between her leaves, she dances through. As I do. As do I.
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