Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...



Earth Pages

[Show all]


Views: 613,093


Week of: August 4th. 2013 ...

The Deeper Meaning of Harvest Celebration


Week of: March 31st. 2013 ...

Harp! Sing For Me: Musings on a More Sustainable Future.


Week of: March 24th. 2013 ...

Women Walk to Heal the River


Week of: March 3rd. 2013 ...

Artisan Sea Salt: Organic, Traditional Healing, Medieval Re-creation, and Cleansing Magic!


Week of: December 30th. 2012 ...

Four Thieves Vinegar: History, Uses, and Recipe


Week of: October 28th. 2012 ...

Samhain: a New View


Week of: September 2nd. 2012 ...

A Pagan Chaplaincy Perspective


Week of: August 19th. 2012 ...

More Than Animals: The Totemic Ecosystem


Week of: July 22nd. 2012 ...

Thoughts Are Energy: "The Dark Knight Rises"


Week of: July 8th. 2012 ...

Spiritual Learning and Social Change


Week of: July 1st. 2012 ...

Animal Religion: a Proposal


Week of: June 24th. 2012 ...

Loving Balance: Competition and Community


Week of: April 10th. 2011 ...

Better People = Better World


Week of: October 24th. 2010 ...

Fernwood Glen


Week of: September 12th. 2010 ...

Peek-A-Boo: Finding the Sacred


Week of: August 1st. 2010 ...

Compost and Natural Fertilizers: Practical Offerings to the Land

People Are Part of Nature Too


Week of: June 27th. 2010 ...

Cell Phones: A Rude Awakening


Week of: April 25th. 2010 ...

How Magic Can Save the World

The Sanctity of Ancient Hunters

Life at Lizard Holler


Week of: April 4th. 2010 ...

The Delicate Dance of Balance


Week of: March 28th. 2010 ...

Everyday Things Have Ancient Roots

Pagan Carbon Footprints


Week of: March 21st. 2010 ...

The Prayer of Transcendent Smoke


Week of: February 21st. 2010 ...

Time Passages


Week of: November 22nd. 2009 ...

A True Inspiration for Healing Our Planet


Week of: November 1st. 2009 ...

Nature's Way


Week of: October 11th. 2009 ...

I Buried Maia Today


Week of: May 10th. 2009 ...

The Abuse of Parents and the Abuse of Mother Earth


Week of: March 8th. 2009 ...

Why Hug a Tree - Or To At Least Pay More Attention To One

Our Mother Crystal


Week of: December 28th. 2008 ...

Connecting To The Land


Week of: September 21st. 2008 ...

Healing Children, Healing Earth


Week of: April 27th. 2008 ...

She Needs You to Listen, Her Children...

Musings About the Land: The Turning of Spring to Summer


Week of: April 20th. 2008 ...

Baba Yaga in the Sacred Landscape--a Witch Approaches Another Earth Day

What We Can Do For The World


Week of: March 23rd. 2008 ...

Paganism is a Dirty, Dirty Word


Week of: January 20th. 2008 ...

Pagans and Environmental Issues: Can We Save the World?

"An Ye Harm None" On A Global Scale


Week of: January 6th. 2008 ...

Higher Knowledge: The Enriching and Enabling Factor


Week of: December 30th. 2007 ...

On Being a Pagan Omnivore


Week of: December 23rd. 2007 ...

A Sacred Retreat


Week of: December 2nd. 2007 ...

Saving Mother Earth from Us Nasty Humans: A Contrarian P.O.V.

'Earth Is In Trouble', So Let's Capitalize On the Trend


Week of: November 25th. 2007 ...

The Spine of the Dragon...is Love


Week of: September 9th. 2007 ...

Nature Spirits: Tree Spirits


Week of: January 21st. 2007 ...

Eco – Witch (Part I )


Week of: July 16th. 2006 ...

Think Your Paganism Isn't Nature-based? Think Again...


Week of: May 8th. 2005 ...

On Seeds and Connection


Week of: April 24th. 2005 ...

Act Up

Natural Allies


Week of: April 17th. 2005 ...

Where the Christians Go Wrong and Why the Pagans Don’t Get It


Week of: March 19th. 2004 ...

Confessions of a Dirt Worshipper


Week of: April 20th. 2003 ...

Night Vision: Where Did the Stars Go?


Week of: April 22nd. 2002 ...

Every Day is Earth Day

From the Waterfront...

Pagans and the Environment: Leaders or Laggards?


NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.












Article Specs

Article ID: 13760

VoxAcct: 371355

Section: earth

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 1,454

Times Read: 2,473

RSS Views: 14,368
The Sanctity of Ancient Hunters

Author: Verda Smedley
Posted: April 25th. 2010
Times Viewed: 2,473

“The first ritual pertained to hunting, the center of our existence. We hunted plants and animals for food and medicine, never easy in the winter. We stalked the paths to the stars and to the Ancient Ones. We preyed upon knowledge to transcend ourselves. And we prayed for lovers and the Dreamtime. We hunted remedies to disasters and solutions for the unsolvable. We were hunters.”

Hunting as a sacrosanct necessity is not just a thing of the past. We are still hunters, seeking jobs and security, good health, knowledge and wisdom. Hunting medicine is as vital today as it was 10, 000 or 100, 000 years ago. There existed an amazing pharmacology of plant magic associated with hunting in the ancient world. It was complex and highly sophisticated. Clearly tremendous care was taken and hunting medicine was wrapped up in the finest ritualistic and mystical awareness. The hunter didn’t just pick up his bow and arrow and hit the trail. Hunting was not a sport; its success or failure dictated the survival of his community. Although hunter-gatherers’ diet was probably no more than a fraction of meat or fish (I estimate 15% or less) , as omnivores hunting and fishing were nutritionally essential. And all essentialities, regarded as sacred, were handled with ceremonial humility and devotion.

The spirits within the plants themselves were invoked in a variety of ways. Some went to smudge that purified the hunter and his weapons. Other smoke medicine was inhaled during prayers. Some plants were rendered into washes that were applied for same reasons, or simply chewed up and spit out. Many were carried. Any oversight or sudden change of circumstances was not left without remedy either. Ancient hunters understood their world so completely they not only knew where to find certain plants but how to prepare them and invoke their spirits.

So what might the hunter have done before setting out? He certainly checked his gear, but not only for functional necessity. Weapons were always purified and strengthened. Sometimes these tools lost their power and it had to be restored. Among the plants that served this purpose could be found honeysuckle, salvia and rose. He didn't fail to purify himself either with species such as holly, poplar or juniper.

Then the hunter’s attention probably turned to invisibility of sorts, needing to conceal his own scent from his quarry as well as the residual energy of former hunts that remained in his weapons and tools. Species such as pine, mint, cherry and maple for called in here.
Seeking the blessings of beneficent spirits was enormously important. Hunting was a deadly dangerous affair. And the imperative of hunting simply couldn’t be underestimated, not only yielding food but also hides for warmth and shelter, bones for tools, organs for tanning, containers for carrying and countless ritual objects. I found more than twenty species whose spirits were invoked, no doubt in solicitous prayer, for their blessings including willow, bearberry, alder and ash.

Beside the necessity of blessings came protection. Among hunter-gatherers it was believed that everything that could go wrong was the consequence of meddlesome or malevolent spirits. The hunter needed an edge against inclement weather and the ability to adapt quickly to change. Leaves that stirred on a windless day were a sure sign that bad weather was on its way. I found enormous importance associated with the weather and the need for protection against thunder and lightning, believed to cause very specific and highly undesirable illnesses.

Protective spirits could be found in birch, hawthorn, holly, pine and oak. Bladderpod was used to ward off storms and quickbeam guarded against storm damage. The hunter also needed to guard against injury or the real possibly of being led astray by a spirit. He didn’t want to become the unwitting prey for either a predator or an entity, nor did he want spirits stealing his hunting medicine or stripping his weapons of their potency.

Water and sustenance were essential for his journey but its safe to speculate that the hunter’s incredible knowledge of the environment probably didn’t present an overt risk to him in this area. Water could be found where bracken or poolroot grew and food was everywhere. No doubt his greater concern went to courage and clarity, the loss or theft of which spelled real danger for him. I discovered nearly twenty species of plants that afforded inordinate protection for hunters against these and other elements. Among them can be found mistletoe, woodruff, nettle and wormwood.

And hunting in the winter was even more perilous. Beech and poplar were among those plants that intervened against frostbite. Then there was the horrendous consequence of snow blindness, the defense against which was found in wormwood, dogwood, crabapple and cherry. I noticed that even distraction from sexual abstinence was not overlooked and remedied with things such as honeysuckle, waterlily and vervain. Ancient hunters were absolute experts at protection and placed far greater reliance on plants rather than weapons for that purpose.

Was that it, was he ready to be was on his way? Not a chance. Critical elements like quick but thoughtful and deliberate judgment, courage and clarity in the moment had to be maintained. Oak, mint, pine, willow and hazelnut were among the species that secured and preserved these essential things. The hunter had to sustain his strength and stamina while guarding against fatigue with species such as gromwell, chrysanthemum, crabapple and wormwood. Oxalis, bearberry and crabapple relieved or suppressed thirst. Then there was the issue of attracting the quarry to him, perhaps the greatest imperative of all, with plants such as hawthorn, holly, dock, valerian and aster. Without the power to accomplish that not only was his energy profoundly wasted, his people could starve to death too.

Even if we have an aversion to hunting today great comfort can be found in the fact that not so long ago it was undertaken with prayer, humility and wisdom. And given the sparse information that managed to trickle down to us, I cannot imagine the extraordinary scope of the magic involved with other everyday activities. Nor would we rationally exclude ritual in all of them.

Devoted study to the hunter-gatherer world beautifully illustrated to me that we once held a sacred union with our Earth that was wholly enveloped in knowledge and worship. It is an absolute scramble now to rediscover what we once know so inherently. We are at the mercy of and utterly dependent on antiquity to find the place of beauty and balance again in order to save our Earth from ourselves. Ancient life was both profoundly simple yet steeped in the confident knowledge of mystery and magic. Then people walked softly on our Mother, took only what was needed and put back more than what was taken through compassion, concern for others, and devotion to the Earth.

A species appendix for this essay is posted on my website: www.verdasmedley.com





Footnotes:
Ancestral Airs
The Compendium for Spirit Handling


Copyright: Both volumns are registered with the Copyright Office by me, the author



ABOUT...

Verda Smedley


Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Website: http://www.verdasmedley.com

Author's Profile: To learn more about Verda Smedley - Click HERE




Other Articles: Verda Smedley has posted 16 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE




Email Verda Smedley... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)

To send a private message to Verda Smedley ...



Pagan Essays
1996-2014





Pagan Web
8,000 Links





Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.





Pagan/Witch
80,000 Profiles














Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops



Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World




Search Articles
1996-2014










 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide


NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).