Symphoricarpus albus

Symphoricarpus albus

Also known as the “Snowberry”.  I had the day off and sat down with several books on spells, mythology, and whatnot, and decided to make a list of things I needed when I went to my favorite herbarium.  But it was very soon that I felt overwhelmed by the large number of teas, tinctures, incenses, poppets, bottles, and more that are utilized.  So, I simply went to the store with two things in mind, chamomille and High John the Conquerer.  Oh, and a mortar and pestle as well.

I found a beautiful mortar, one that was never there before, that is marble and green and white.  It is gorgeous.  I did not find and High John, but I bought some St John’s Wort instead.  Not the same stuff, but something that I’ve seen mentioned here and there, including, I believe, some psychology articles.  I also got some sage, and some Chamomille.

At another store I got a small wooden statue of Bast.  I showed it to the two little kitties, they seemed quite interested in it, and then I set it on a low windowsill.  I intend to make this a sorta little Bast alter.  Cats like to sit on windowsills.  I also picked up a Quan Yin statue and a group of little Buddhas, which I set around the apartment.  I note that the apartment feels… not full… but not empty… enlivened.

I went to the Hyland Forest Park that I used to walk a lot last year.  The trees have shed their leaves.  I wandered around, trying to remember where I saw the Holly a year ago.  I came back to an old tree that I love.  I it is ten feet high, the top having been cut and/or fallen down.  Nothing left but the trunk, twice my width and height.  The trunk is hollowed out, has burn marks on one side, has holes on another, has moss growing over years old grafitti that is starting to fade (I silently call a flat tire upon the person that painted it everytime I see it), and the trunk is very knobby and craggy.  There are two spots on the back that are flat, ideal places for mini altars.  What is amazing about this is that from this tree, an oak I believe, are the long, fresh limbs that grow from the top.  They are like wild hair, six feet in length and strong and vibrant.  They have shed their leaves for the winter and I cannot wait  until Spring when I grow more.  This tree is gorgeous… it is my favorite tree in the park.  As I stood there, admiring it, I noted that the tree lies at an intersection of three paths.  I decide to make an altar to Hecate on the back of the tree and leave offerings from time to time.  Who knows, perhaps others will also.  That is if the pot heads do not mess with it.  Every third time I come out to the park I find a small little baggie on the ground.  Today I found two and an old, decayed, porno mag.  The woods are a haven for juveniles in the middle of Suburbia. 

I was looking for Holly.  I eventually found some, though it wasn’t flowering.  But before I did I found a berry that I had saw the year before.  A curious vine along the ground in a marshy area where lots of young oaks grow that is airy and open to light.  I gave thanks and picked some of the berries.  Back at home I scoured the internet looking for what it could be as there was nothing I could find in any of my books on the shelf.  (note to self, find a much better herbal grimoire).  What I believe this berry is called is the snowberry, or Symphoricarpus albus.  There seem to be two varieties in the U.S.  I looked around various sites, found some who said it made a good holiday tea with a hint of mint taste, and found a toxicology site that said that the berries induce vomitting.  One reference on Wikipedia mentions, in the discussion section, that two of the berries were eaten by natives of the Pacific Northwest for aiding in eating too much fatty food.  Hmmm.  Could this be a help when I ignore common sense and eat a large tub of buttered popcorn at the movies? 

I am curious as to trying a tea from the berry.  I gathered only berries and no leaves.  I don’t recall seeing any on the stems that I picked.  However the groundcover was full of leaves.  I shall have to go back and investigate. 

For now as I read up on St John’s Wort, I find that now seems to be the time for its blooming, and that Oregon might be a great spot for it to do so.  I am wanting, now, to go out into the forests where I might find some.  That is before school starts and I lose all semblance of free time.

While walking and enjoying the cawing of crows, the patter of a little drizzle on plant leaves, the slight coolnes of the air, I could imagine a shop.  Not just any shop, but a shop I dream about opening some day.  It has a coffee shop on one side where you can get all manner of coffee drinks.  There you will find tables and windows and sometimes a jazz trio playing.  Along another side is a book nook where I sell great books.  In a back room is a printer and server where I let artists and writers from the neighborhood make webpages and write, publish a zine of their work.  Along one wall are various herbs in jars.  A person could come into the shop, buy a book on Kierkegaard, some patchouli, an espresso, and sit down to read some poetry from local writers in the area.

hmmmm.

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