Monday, April 11, 2016

H is for Heather...

Dear Littler Me,

Hello again from 2016! Continuing on with my #AtoZchallenge Saturday's letter for you was H. It may be Monday now and I am two days behind in getting these letters to you but I am still getting them to you.

This is no different than you are back there in 1989 and you know it so, yeah I guess that is something that never changes. Only you could live 3 houses away from school and still be late every morning. Though I will say in defense of the me that you become, my reasons for being late are much much better.

I will say I have figured out a way to get a little bit of a jump on these letters by creating the skeleton of each letter up to Z. This should enable me to be that much closer to getting them out on time. Cross your fingers kid. So, knowing I am in the middle of a whole lot of chaos, I will get right down to your lesson for the day. Irony is that H landed on a day I was teaching you about a feminine herb (bet you didn't catch that in these letters - that I have been alternating male/female!). Irony being that that is the name of your best friend then and now. Makes for the picking of our H easy!

is for Heather...

Origin & Identification

Heather, or Calluna is widely found in Europe and parts of Asia Minor (the peninsula that you can find parts of Turkey), though it has been successfully brought to North America and other locations. It grows best in sunny areas that drain well and have an acidic soil.  Heather was originally very disliked due to it's propensity to flourish in untended and unkempt areas, people believed this was a plant to be associated with the poor and lower class. 

Believe it or not, this is a plant that actually thrives in poor soil and with little to NO tending at all. Knowing several people with this name I can definitely say that their ability to make amazing situations come from little to no resources do pride to the characteristics found in this name.

It is a plant that grows low and shrub like and flowers on (lightly hairy) stalk type shoots.  It usually does not get more than 2 ft tall. The flowers are generally shades of white to purple, the latter being the most common in wild versions of Heather. this plant actually blooms twice a year, both in the early summer and early fall.

You probably already knew this but Heather is the national flower of Scotland.

Practical Uses of Heather

Outside of the beauty this plant provides, Heather is widely known in Scotland and other areas to be an important nutrient source for grazing livestock. There are some drawbacks however as there are some conditions related directly to this grazing plant when not used in balance such as Heather Cling and Heather Blindness.

Over the millennia this plant has been known for many medicinal and practical uses. In the past it was used in treatment for urinary tract infections and kidney related issues (including kidney stones! You will need to know this later on in life!!!)  It can also be used brewed in a tea for treatment of diarrhea. Brewing a much stronger tea or steeping a strong bath will aid rheumatism and gout because of its ability to reduce uric acid. BONUS - Heather tea is also good as a mild sedative to use for helping you sleep!

Want to try some? You could always help me pay my bills by checking out some of my Amazon Affiliate links here:

If you are going to use this plant as an ornamental / garden enhancement here is a heads up. It is a hardy plant because of the fact it does not have to fight other plants for space. It is known to emit a toxin to any other plants around it so that it can take over.  Hmmmm, I should have seen that one coming. It's a natural "I'm the boss" plant. ha ha. 

Metaphysical Uses of Heather

Heather is a feminine plant associated with the planet of Venus and the element of water. It is also associated with the winged goddess Isis. (Here is a little known fact to stick in your cap for later. Two of the most prominent and influential women in my life are those with this flowers namesake which is why I wear to this day a ring on my index finger of Isis.)

Heather embodies the magical properties of protection, rain making, luck. Coming from an area that was predominantly Celtic the folklore and mythology of this plant could be written in the size of War and Peace, I will try to condense it the best that I can.

Being the "boss" plant it is good for use in bringing peaceful resolution to situations. In using for protection, carrying heather helps ward off violent crimes and rape. (though I would be remiss not to suggest carrying mace or a taser as well).  Burning heather wrapped with fern outside will conjure rain.  Heather is also known to be used in communing with spirits and conjuring ghosts.

White heather is said to be the rarest, and to the Scots it is considered the luckiest plant on earth. (4 leaf clover to the Irish).  The story as told by Scottish at Heart goes:

"Legend has it that in the 3rd Century AD, Malvina (daughter of the legendary Scottish poet, Ossian), was betrothed (engaged to be married) to a Celtic warrior named Oscar.
Tragically (but not unexpectedly!), Oscar died in battle, and when Malvina heard the news she was heartbroken. The messenger who delivered the bad news, also delivered a spray of purple heather that Oscar had sent as a final token of his undying love for her.

It's said that when Malvinas' tears fell onto the flowers in her hand, they immediately turned white, and this magical occurrence prompted her to say
'although it is the symbol of my sorrow, may the white heather bring good fortune to all who find it.' 

I think that is enough to work with today so I will leave you to go let you know about Irish Broom.  Sending love, luck and protection through the years to you (and notice I didn't mention rain - we've had enough of that over the past few days!)

Sincerely thankful for the Heathers in my life,

Bigger Little B 

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