Friday, December 9, 2011

Discoveries & A New Venture

I have been on this path for years. Only within the last couple of years did I find a "name" for what I've always lived & practiced (even have an earlier post here on the subject). I am a rootworker. But after many months of researching further just what defines a rootworker, as defined by others, the history & ancestry of it, and anything else I could find on the subject, I've come to the conclusion that everything on the internet is based on information gleaned only in the last 50 - 80 yrs. Not that it is a bad thing, but there are aspects which just don't "fit" what I've always felt, and what I do.


Everything out there states that rootworkers, i.e. hoodoos and/or conjurers, are based in African-American influences. Ok, maybe the hoodoos/conjurers, but not the mountain rootworker. The Granny Witch back in the holler may never have set eyes on a black person. And they certainly would not have been influenced by them. "PC" crap aside, the blacks would not have intermingled much, if at all, with the whites until much later after there was more interaction between the mountain folk and the city folk. 


Now, on the other end of that argument, the Native Americans would have very much influenced the Granny Witch, having lived in such close proximity and trading going on fairly regularly. The blacks that did trade may have contributed somewhat, but not extensively. Not to the extent of the Natives.


The immigrants who moved into the Appalachians, living back in their hollers, were from Europe. These  English, Irish, Scottish, German immigrants brought with them their beliefs, practices, and customs, all being purely preserved due to their little or complete lack of interaction with the world outside of the mountains. They highly valued this segregation, and protected it vehemently.


Working with the Natives would've been a natural occurrence, once a mutual relationship of respect had been formed. The Natives would've given advice and assistance to the newcomers regarding the local plants and other pertinent information necessary to life in the mountains. These immigrants would then begin to incorporate the use of the local plants with those seeds & plants that they had brought with them from the Old World.


So with this in mind, how would they have used certain oils and/or herbs that can only be obtained from overseas? They wouldn't have. Even if they could have, the cost would've been prohibitive. No. They worked with what they had. What they could wildcraft from the fields & forests around them, or hunt and kill for the parts that would be used (which was most if not all of the animal, nothing was wasted), or even trading with others, was what they used.


It was only later, once there was more outside interaction that the addition of these "foreign" materials may have been used. But even then I seriously doubt it, why fix what ain't broke? My take on it is that what was gleaned from these "back woods" people was adapted by the "city folk" and changed to something more palatable in scent and "pretty" or catchy in name. Something that smells good would sell better than something that smells like herbs added to bear fat or hemp oil.


The mountain holler Granny Witch wouldn't have put something together that was "pretty" or "smells good". She would've put together a salve, poultice, tincture, oil, amulet, or whatever, according to what the situation called for. Those calling on her respected her for her knowledge, not her ability to make their love potion or amulet "pretty". It wasn't for looking at, it had a purpose. It was practical not aesthetic.


The hoodoos of the south were more ingrained in city or town society so their uses of more "foreign" herbs and/or oils was common, being much easier to obtain. And to sell to "city folk" you have to make it "pretty" and appealingly scented.


I have been drawn to the Granny Witch of the mountains since I was a child. She could've been from the mountains of Europe or America, it didn't matter. I knew her. She was very familiar in look, actions, beliefs, customs & practices. And as a result of my research and much soul searching as well, I have come to the conclusion that I am trying to find my ancestral roots as an American Granny Witch and through those ties to the Hedge Witch of Europe. 


My ancestry is Irish, Norwegian, Ukrainian, as well as English & German. My ancestors would have been, known, or worked with the local Hedge Witch. My goal is to learn as much as I can about how these people (American and European) would've actually practiced their Craft. 


I have made a list of the plants, trees, herbs, etc. that we have here on our property; in the pastures, and in the woods. I've also researched the crops that would've been grown here that would've provided the necessary quantity of material to make the oils that would've been used. These are hemp, corn, and tobacco (as well as animal oils such as bear, beaver, etc.). Hemp was the most useful as it has a multitude of uses from paper, to cloth, to smoking. Corn was a later crop, much of it would've been used for many things besides food, but as an oil it would be less likely, as turning it to oil is a bit more extensive a process. Tobacco was grown for smoking, not for oil.


Why not just follow the recipes and formulas found online that are age-old, tried & true? Because that's not what I am comfortable with. I guess I am on a task or mission to bring back (for myself only) through reconstructionism, the Granny Witch of the Americas, the descendant of the Hedge Witch of Europe. Having not grown up in the Appalachians I'm sure I will be ridiculed for even thinking I can do this as I have no "true" roots to anyone who already practices as a Granny Witch due to ancestry. But while I may not have any known roots, I can say that I know I do have roots in the Appalachians. My maternal grandmother's family is from the mountains of Tennessee. Our family tree on her side can be traced by to 1764. So, while I don't have a direct connection, I do have an ancestral one. As well as a spiritual one. It is this connection I wish to strengthen.


I will begin working strictly with hemp oil and local plants & herbs found here on our property. As I formulate them I will post them here, as well as any findings I have regarding their effect on manifestation of intents.


Off I go on a new venture! Wish me luck!


Blessings!

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