Herb of the Week ~ Juniper

Juniper  (Juniperus communes)

Folk Names: Enebro, Gemeiner Wachholder, Geneva, Gin Berry, Ginepro, Gin Plant

Planet: Sun

Element: Fire

Used throughout Europe as a protective plant, Juniper also guards against theft. It was probably one of the earliest incenses used by Mediterranean witches. However, Juniper is also added to love blends, and it is said that the berries if carried by men increase male potency.

When carried or burned. Juniper helps increase psychic powers, and breaks hexes and curses.

In Celtic Lore, Juniper is a herb of Mean Geimhridh, or the Winter Solstice (Yule). It is primarily a diuretic and the berries also help digestive problems, gastrointestinal inflammation and rheumatism.

However, Juniper should only be taken medicinally for up to 4 to 6 weeks at a time. It should not be used by people with kidney problems or pregnant women.

The Juniper has a direct communication to the Great Spirit. It was designed for healing.

The Navaho use every part of the Juniper; medicinally, ceremonily, spiritually, nutritionally. They have a dance they put on in Spring-time, called an awareness Dance–Ka teh ca ca.

“We are here. We have arrived. We are aware.” A greeting for the spring and the new seasons. The Juniper priests, young men who will serve for one year only, dance for up to 36-48 hours. They study the whole year for the dance. It’s a strong tradition. To be appointed is a great honor, and to do your dance better than any other priest has in the 6000 years the dances have been done is part of a great competition. It is a very intense dance. The concentration is intense. They will plant a Juniper branch in the ground and this is their focal point. Each priest sets his own Juniper. Then they dance. The plant would normally dry and wilt. At the end of the dance those are so stiff and are standing up so straight. The longer the dance, the stiffer and straighter those Juniper branches will become.

When you get down in the dumps, feelings lousy, just wrap yourself around a Juniper tree, lay your head against the trunk, and spend about an hour with your eyes closed. All the problems of the world vanish like smoke. It just absorbs you.

The Juniper aura is a silverish-blue, with a tinge of silver-greens on the outer edge.

Can be used with other herbs, but is better used alone. It is very unique. it grows by itself. you don’t see big clumps of Juniper. They are individual.

juniper

 

Sources:
A Druid’s Herbal by Ellen Evert Hopman
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs
Two Moons Herbal (Internet)

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