Hedgewitches, Shamen, Mystics, and Herbalists alike, are the gatekeepers to hidden knowledge that can heal or kill, reveal messages from spirit, and provide the means to manipulate a wealth of unseen forces inherent in Nature. This is one reason why they were, and still are, feared by the uninitiated.
Put simply, *normal* folks just don’t understand.
Which may be one reason why Hedgewitches of times past lived in domiciles outside of the village proper or at the border of dark forests, often rife with imaginary dangers. The knowledge they held was fearsome, but useful too. In times of need, there was many a villager who would knock, knock, knock, upon the witch’s outer door.
As an Herbalist, I am always surprised when friends turn a “hairy eyeball” at whatever I’m spouting about in abject fascination – for to me, it’s completely normal… Like the time I wanted to grow a ‘Poison Garden’.
Before I go further, let me just share my oft stated, personal motto: The only difference between a poison and medicine, is dosage.
My latest foray into the world of ancient knowledge, is the discovery that toads possess the same ‘poisonous’ – and useful – chemical as does toadstools, which is the very reason for the similarity in name. Okay, perhaps ‘tea time’ with the ladies wasn’t the most apt venue to broach the topic, but hey – I was excited about this new book that I had just received:
This does tend to be a sensitive topic to most, as well as dangerous information in careless hands, so it’s hard to find adequate resources that properly delve into the what and wherefores of advanced practices. Ergo, my excitement – quickly dampened by my friend’s reaction.
“Ewwww. The poor toads. You’re not actually going to kill one, are you?”
“Of course not,” I said. “Besides, there are plenty of toads already dead. The sheer number that die just from mating…” I paused after seeing the look of horror on my friend’s face. “Well, I’m not saying I would actually experiment with such a thing, but it’s fascinating all the same.”
I thought it best to stop the discussion there, while I was ahead. So I cracked a few jokes about dinner time at my house, and my husband’s reluctance to “upset me” for fear of what may be contained in his soup.
I am also amused by the fact that toads and toadstools seem to have been a running theme throughout my life. Coincidence? Who can say.
Crewel embroidery kits were all the fashion for young girls in the 1970’s. I was no different. My favorite project was a picture of – you guessed it. I loved it so much, I still have the original design entitled “Leaping Frog” – but hey, close enough.
Later on, I bought a green Jeep Liberty dubbed “Kermit” and chose a windshield decal that I loved so much, I couldn’t bear to throw it out after it had become too worn.
Toads come often to visit my house. It is not unusual to see them by my front porch steps, and sometimes on the porch itself, as if they are trying to come inside the house to say hello.
The best experience happened two years ago, in May 2015. It was early evening and a gentle rain was falling. I stepped out onto my covered porch to enjoy the night sounds of rain drops through the leaves. And then it happened.
A chorus of toads began to sing.
I have never again heard a more beautiful sound. I had no idea there were so many toads living in my garden, but I was enchanted and so moved, that it brought tears to my eyes.
So I guess it’s little wonder why I find the subject of toads and toadstools so interesting. My guardian angels knew it all along. I share an affinity with toad that up until now I had been completely unaware. They must want to slap me against the head and say, “DUH”.