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The Wise Woman or White Witch Garden, Nosegays, and Possets

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Nell is a Pagan/Christian. She has been a practicing Witch for many years. But where does the name Witch come from? And what does it mean?

The Wise Woman  Courtesy of public domain Painting by  A A Harlamoff

The Wise Woman Courtesy of public domain Painting by A A Harlamoff

The Wise Woman

The wise woman or white witch has always been seen as someone mysterious and beautiful, but most times dangerous and ugly. But who was she really? Throughout history, there have always been women and sometimes men who practice the art of magic.

These days we associate magic with Harry Potter or witchcraft with the Salem witch trials. But in reality, the witches of history were completely misunderstood. They were healers.

Back in history, there was no such thing as doctors or physicians as we know them today. Men who were only taught the basic medical qualifications and in fact could hardly read let alone understand the ways of the body, were allowed to administer the cure for the 'humors' or bleed the patient with leeches. Some were known to cut the patient's veins so that their blood would expel the 'bad'. Most of the time this would just kill the poor recipient of the so-called doctoring.

Wise women were drawn to the art of healing by their love of flowers and nature. They had an affinity with the natural world that many people back then didn't even know existed. As we now know, witches were persecuted in the middle ages for using their 'unknown' evil eye and cursing their neighbors. But of course, the real truth behind the white witch or wise woman is completely different.

Original translation (Witch meaning Wise Woman)


Wise Women Healers

The name wise woman was in fact a very apt name. If you think about how the world was in the middle ages, highly religious, wars, distrust and the belief that everything good or bad came from God, it's really amazing that these women knew or felt that everything in nature was connected. Whether it be the healing properties of plants or the animals in the woodland. These women treated them all with equal respect.

This was at a time when the whole world believed that God ruled man, and nature was there for us to exploit and use.

The wise woman used her knowledge of plants, flowers and herbs to make possets, which were hot drinks made from milk that was curdled, and Ale. And she would add whatever herb or plant remedy that she believed would be helpful to heal any villagers who were sick.

Many people who lived near the wise woman would always go to her to be healed. Even though they were very religious and superstitious, they put their trust in her more than the male physic, who they were fearful of.

A Wise Woman's Garden

How A Wise Woman's Garden Would Look

How A Wise Woman's Garden Would Look

Hawthorn

Hawthorn (Crataegus) One of the Wise Womans healing plants. Public Domain

Hawthorn (Crataegus) One of the Wise Womans healing plants. Public Domain

The Wise Woman's Garden

The wise woman would have an abundance of flowers, herbs, plants, and fruit in her garden. This was her 'surgery' if you will. There would be hawthorn for problems of the heart, and in fact, it is used today for arrhythmia, angina and mild congestive heart failure.

And rosemary the favorite of all wise women. The reason was that they were not so hygienic back then and a sprig of rosemary, or a rosemary posy, also known as a nosegay, for obvious reasons, was a perfect remedy against the awful smells of the day.

But rosemary really was a cure-all plant. Below you can see some of the ailments that were cured or alleviated by the wonderful plant.

  • Stimulate appetite, help to produce gastric juices and alleviate flatulence.
  • Headaches.
  • Rheumatism and circulatory.
  • Stimulate the hair follicles to help growth.
  • Astringent.

And so many more. In fact, Rosemary really is a wonder plant. There is a wonderful story or legend surrounding the plant.

Rosemary is said to be the most potent ward against evil. It is said that upon her journey to Egypt, Mary threw her blue cloak over a rosemary bush and this turned the white flowers blue. And when she returned to Nazareth she would lay her Son's little garments over the bush to dry, to make them smell nice. Therefore making the plant the freshest and most sweet-smelling flower in the world, and perpetually steeped in the mercy of Christ.

Evidently, the plant will not grow taller than 6ft in height over the space of 33 years. In honor of Christ. Fascinating.

Other names of flowers and plants in the garden would be, violets, honeysuckle, primroses, cowslips and wallflowers.

the garden would be fit to bursting with color and wonderful smells. The wise woman would make medicines, conserves and jellies, and even medicine for hangovers.


Ornamental Rosemary

Ornamental Rosemary Flower Beautiful!

Ornamental Rosemary Flower Beautiful!

The Conservationists Of The Past

With nature at their feet and skill born of trial and error, the wise woman would spend hours each day using pestle and mortar crushing and bruising the flowers or herbs, mixing and boiling the potions and hanging out the herbs to dry.

The cottage or house of the wise woman must have been a lovely sight. And the smell would have been delicious. No wonder the locals of the day saw her as someone magical, beautiful and just that little bit mysterious so that they kept away through fear of her, but knowing that they would need her powers for healing one of these days.

For the locals, she would have been a source of wonder, and a certain sense of peace knowing that there was someone out there who could help save the life of someone they love. The wise woman has been around for centuries in one form or another, through the middle ages, up to the 19th Century and beyond. And they are still around today. In every man woman and child who love nature, live green and help save the planet.

Villagers Visiting The Wise Woman

Villagers who would visit the wise woman would be so grateful for her help with their children.

Villagers who would visit the wise woman would be so grateful for her help with their children.

History of the Posy or Nosegay

The term Posy or Nosegay derives from 15th Century Middle English. It literally translates as nose and gay which meant ornament. Most gentlemen carried them in their pockets to be taken out and placed against the nose to alleviate horrible smells. And there were a lot of horrible smells back in those days. From unwashed people to open sewers.

Women would keep them tucked into their long skirts or around their necks. Alternately they would pin them to their bodice. The term Posy and tussie-mussie appeared later in the reign of Queen Victoria. The term tussie-mussie is not very well know but was the first nosegay or posy to been made into a form of symbolism. Each flower that was picked and placed into the small bunch had a particular meaning which would be conveyed to the suitor or friend it was given to as a present.

Young lady wearing a nosegay around her neck

Tea, by George Dunlop Leslie (835-1921 Painted in 1885. a young woman of the 1700s Courtesy of public domain

Tea, by George Dunlop Leslie (835-1921 Painted in 1885. a young woman of the 1700s Courtesy of public domain

Antique Silver Nosegay/Posy Flower Holder

Antique Nosegay/Posy Flower Holder

Antique Nosegay/Posy Flower Holder

Make Your Own Posy/Nosegay

This is a really simple but lovely piece to make. We all know about wedding bouquets, and this is virtually the same. The only difference being that it is smaller, and can be symbolic.

  • Pick a variety of flowers that you love most. Sweet peas are probably one of the best as the smell is one of the most gorgeous scents from any plant or flower.
  • Use herbs or greenery of any variety to go around the posy of flowers. Rosemary is probably the best, but heather is wonderful too. I love the smell of the pine-scented hedgerows growing near my house, they smell wonderful.
  • Mint is another great idea. It may not be very good to place in or around the posy, but pick a few leaves, and place them inside the middle of the nosegay. The smell is wonderful, I often pick some and place it on my desk when I am writing.
  • Either tie a ribbon around the base of the nosegay, or even colored wool wrapped around it.

And there you are. Mix and match your flowers with herbs. The scent will be a mixture of sweet and peppery.

Posset

the-wise-woman-or-witch

Medieval Possets

A posset was a hot drink made from milk that had been curdled, with added wine or ale and then spice was added. But there were many variations of the drink. The wise woman would mix herbs and spices, fruit and honey and other ingredients to help alleviate the symptoms of illness among the villagers.

Many people would come to her door for assistance. Bringing small gifts such as bread or nuts, chickens and even pigs in payment of the medicine. All the flowers in her garden would be used, many of which we don't even think of using today. Ginger, cloves and cinnamon were the main ingredients to ward of colds and flu, but rose petals, and other flowers could be added too.

Herbs were the favorite of the wise woman as she knew the medicinal value of each and every plant. The fact that she was called a wise woman is very apt today as its only been recently discovered that picking flowers or herbs at night actually does improve the potency of the herbs chemical value. There was nothing magical about this though, it was purely trial and error, resulting in a perfect combination of skill and hard work.

Posset Pot 16th Century In Melrose Abbey Roxburghshire

Medieval Posset Pot 16th Century

Medieval Posset Pot 16th Century

The Wisest Of Women

The legacy of the wise woman lives on today. If we hadn't learned the skills passed down from these women many of the herbs that we use on a regular basis would be unknown to us. Or at least their healing properties.

Over the years each and every wise woman who could write, have written down their potions, explained the health values of each plant and have given us a comprehensive look into the history and lifestyle of these wonderful healers. For all of their knowledge and steadfast hard work we can honestly say that if it wasn't for them, we would have had to start at the beginning. Learning each plant, testing each and every root, and most of all being far behind in the medical technology of today.

I say let's hear it for the Wise Woman. Or the White Witch.

Links:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Nell Rose

Comments

Nell Rose (author) from England on May 14, 2019:

I love Beaconsfield Ian, especially Beaconscott village, lol!

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on May 13, 2019:

Beaconsfield South Bucks hosted a family fun day with the town crier "Hear ye Hear ye" ringing his bell. A Maypole with Morris dancers, in perfect weather.

Nell Rose (author) from England on May 01, 2019:

lol! you never fail to enlighten me Ian! Merry Beltane!

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on May 01, 2019:

Lo ! Tis the flowery month of May. Flowers for the May Queene. Bless.

Oh ! In a previous posting on 'Women only' societies, i should have mentioned the 'Beguins' who existed a few generations, late middle ages centered in Flanders and involved in the haberdashery trades.

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 07, 2019:

And of course it was the women who always knew about the herbs to heal. What would men have done without them? Thanks Limpet.

Limpet. on February 07, 2019:

There has always been some select Women's gathering throughout antiquity, where we think of the legendary Amazon warriors, Roman Vestal Virgins, the Hindi battle maidens. In modern times we've had particularly in U.S.A. (where else?) the Ladies wanting to live collectively and apart from society.

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 05, 2019:

Well that was a bit stupid of them wasn't it Ian? Celibacy? They never thought that one out! LOL! thanks Ian, I never knew that.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on February 05, 2019:

I've been learning of the 'Beguins' who were an 'all women' secret society which flourished in the middle ages. Centered on Flanders but flourished around N.W. Europe, they dared challenge the authoritarian mainstream faith of the day. After a few generations the Beguins dissipated largely due to their vows for celebacy.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 23, 2018:

Thank you Withinnlove.

Withinnlove from Florida on December 22, 2018:

Beautifully written.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on December 22, 2018:

Hopefully a snowfall but only on the holiday.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 21, 2018:

Merrie meet Ian! lol! yes the winter solstice. and soon the sun will be out! fingers crossed, lol! have a Wonderful Christmas!

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on December 21, 2018:

Merrie we meet.

This day here in 'olde London towne' marks the winter solstice and indeed the entire country as well. Now our days will slowly lengthen and already a tree in the Aldersgate ward is in full blossom at this 'tyme' of year.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 19, 2018:

Merrie we meet and merrie we part! lol! Have an great Christmas Ian!

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on December 18, 2018:

Merrie we meet.

I've journeyed to Glastonbury so much lately i may be considered one of their inhabitants by now. Yes. I can think of the 'wise woman' as prevalent in rural communities due to less mechanization and a more remote location as well as expances of land open to all elements. All conducive to 'getting back to nature'. The part of 'olde London towne' i haunt, we can claim Mary Wollstonecroft who dared write in 1792 the 'Vindication of the rights of Women'. Surely , a wise woman indeed.

Many blessings to all kindred spirits.

Nell Rose (author) from England on August 28, 2018:

Sounds wonderful Ian!

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 28, 2018:

I'm in Glastonbury for the holidays and i'd reckon more 'wise women' are about, than any where else ! Rumour has it there is evan a Lady of the lake too.

Nell Rose (author) from England on August 22, 2018:

lol! Hi Ian, always good to see you!

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 22, 2018:

I've heard of the cunning folk of 'Olde London town' circa 17th/18th centuries however they were of either gender.

Nell Rose (author) from England on August 17, 2018:

Thanks Sparkster, yes I totally agree with you.

Marc Hubs from United Kingdom on August 10, 2018:

Great hub! I do think that nature provides us with all the remedies that we need. If only we would embrace it more.

Nell Rose (author) from England on August 10, 2018:

Hi Stuart, yes it does! Its great for bruising spots and other skin problems. you can also take it for stomach problems.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 06, 2018:

Merrie we meet.

I understand 'aloe vera' has medicinal value too.

Bless.

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 10, 2017:

Thanks Sue, wow! What a boo boo! lol! I'll go change it now, thanks!

Sue on March 10, 2017:

I actually have this painting. Your artist and name are wrong. It is a Painting by A A harlamoff a Russian man and it's called the flower girl!

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 15, 2014:

Thanks for reading Ozonenrhia!

Caroline Hamilton from New Castle, Indiana on June 15, 2014:

Beautiful )0(

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 28, 2013:

Hi Carolyn, sorry I never saw your comment! it must have disappeared into the spam folder! lol! thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 28, 2013:

Hi misty, that's a fascinating story, and the painting is so lovely isn't it? maybe that was why you were drawn to it, out of all the pictures I could find this one drew me in too, thanks so much for reading, and have a great weekend, thanks!

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 28, 2013:

Hi torri, yes I remember seeing that on tv, the bleeding was done by the doctors of the time, trouble was there was no disinfectant and many people succumbed to blood poisoning! yuck! lol! thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 28, 2013:

Hi barbara, thanks so much for reading, and I am glad you liked it, have a great weekend, thanks!

Go-Barbara-Go from Philippines on June 28, 2013:

Nell,

From where I am, one can still see people (quack doctors) who have great knowledge of which plant and flowers to take for certain ailments. Amazingly, for one reason (some are psychological effects) or another, these herbs are effective.

Thank you for the information, I am beginning to see them differently.

Barbara

torrilynn on June 28, 2013:

@Nell

This was quite an interesting read. I do remember how they bled patients in order to release toxins or to hold ceremonies to pray for their loved ones. Voted up!

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on June 27, 2013:

Hi Nell, just came across this hub of yours whilst looking for your 'Time Slip' articles on your profile page so I could send the links to my sister. All I can say is that this is spooky, I have the exact picture you used for the main image on this article (the girl with the flowers). I basically ended up with this picture when my late Husband died some years ago now (it was a picture he already had when I met him). I always felt drawn to the picture, and even when downsizing I never parted with it. I didn't know the name of it until you mentioned it here as 'The Wise Woman'. It hangs on the wall behind me now in the home my current Husband and I rent, and I often stare into the soulful eyes of the girl in the picture. The spooky part is that although I never knew the name of the picture or why I was drawn to it, I am actually a Pagan by way of religion and whilst I don't actively practice the magic side of Wicca, I do count myself as Wiccan, and do grow plants in abundance (have even made ointments etc in the past using garden plants oils and waxes combined). I wonder now if I was drawn to this picture for a reason!

Fabulous article.

Carolyn Emerick on June 01, 2013:

I'm actually researching a similar topic for a future article myself, so I'm very happy to have found yours :-)

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 19, 2013:

Thanks Mike, glad you liked it, nell

Hi Pamela, that's so true, the side effects today in meds are appallingly bad, those white witches knew their stuff, hope you enjoyed your cereal! lol!

Pamela-anne from Miller Lake on April 19, 2013:

Wonderful hub loved the first pic of the young woman; these remedy's wouldn't have the side effects like the synthetic meds of today do! Well done Nell thanks for sharing I enjoyed this read over my bowl of cereal take care!

Mike Robbers from London on April 19, 2013:

Excellent post Nell, learned a lot!

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 17, 2013:

Hi Sharkye, I totally agree with you, back then the male doctors did awful things, such as cutting into veins to release the vapours! and of course giving mercury as a healing product, those wise women knew their herbs and as you say if the guys had taken notice then we would be more advanced, thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on April 17, 2013:

Hi Sharkye, I totally agree with you, back then the male doctors did awful things, such as cutting into veins to release the vapours! and of course giving mercury as a healing product, those wise women knew their herbs and as you say if the guys had taken notice then we would be more advanced, thanks so much for reading, nell

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on April 17, 2013:

Beautiful tribute to wonderful, often misunderstood women. I love the pictures you have chosen, too. The white witches were pretty advanced in there skills. One wonders whether or not we may be further advanced in modern medicine had the "real doctors" listened to these wise ladies more throughout history. Great hub!

Mackenzie Sage Wright on December 23, 2012:

Really great stuff. I love folk magic. Rosemary is my favorite herb to work with, I totally love it.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 12, 2012:

Really? Its just that I got it from Georges site, but I will go back and take a look, thanks so much for pointing it out, nell

Sally West on November 12, 2012:

The painting of the girl with flowers was actually painted by a Russian artist named Harlamoff not George Dunlop Leslie. He painted this girl quite a few times.

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 04, 2012:

Hi L.L. great point! no I haven't seen them either, now I will have to look! lol! thanks so much for reading, nell

Hi suzette, lol! yes those darn insurances! the paintings are gorgeous aren't they? I would love them on my wall! thanks so much for reading, nell

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on October 04, 2012:

I love this hub, Nell. Great information from the history and definition of 'witch' to the nosegays and how to make them. You are a fountain of knowledge in these areas. I love natural healing plants from nature, which are used in healing and they work today. Much better and easier than dealing with health insurance and synthetic medications. LOL I love the two paintings accompanying this hub - they are beautiful, as are all your photos. Thanks for an interesting and informative hub - you never disappoint, Nell.

L.L. Woodard from Oklahoma City on October 04, 2012:

A thoroughly enjoyable read. I found the information about the nosegays interesting and it got me to thinking that many of the movies that are period pieces rarely, if ever, have portrayed characters with this "must have" of the time. I'll have to watch more closely now that I know.

Great hub; voted up and Shared.

Nell Rose (author) from England on September 24, 2012:

Hi midget, yes the wise woman was amazing wasn't she? well all of them to be exact, they kept people alive, giving them medicines and always helped at the birth of babies too, thanks so much for reading, nell

IntegrityYes on September 23, 2012:

You are very welcome, Nell.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on September 23, 2012:

An interesting and very historical hub! Thanks for sharing Nell, on the importance of the Wisw Woman in medieval times. Certainly captivating! voted, sharing and tweeted.

Nell Rose (author) from England on September 15, 2012:

Hi Daphne, evidently over here it was James the first of England, or Sixth of Scotland, he was Mary Queen of Scots son who started the whole who ha, he was scared to death of Witches! saw it on tv the other night! lol! thanks so much, nell

Daphne Shadows on September 14, 2012:

Its funny - okay, sad really - how people's perceptions back then could get a woman killed or hated.

Nell Rose (author) from England on August 18, 2012:

Thanks again Integrity!

IntegrityYes on August 18, 2012:

That is so interesting. I definitely voted up.

Nell Rose (author) from England on August 15, 2012:

Thanks Peony, yes the posset is lovely, witches were just wise women with a lot of intelligence and healing power, glad you liked it, and thanks!

Peony on August 15, 2012:

Very interesting and detailed hub! I've always wondered why in comparison to Shaman, Witches (regardless of whether they were white or not) seemed to be more prone to be associated to the dark side.. e.g. in the case of the salem witch trials. When essentially, Shaman and Wise women were both healers and spiritual beings. This hub is very informative though (the Posset actually sound rather good), liked and shared!

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 07, 2012:

Hi klara, thanks so much! I just got in after being out all day, and this was a great comment to start on, thank you!

klarawieck on July 06, 2012:

Absolutely gorgeous, Nell. Anytime I need a little bit of grounding I know I can turn to your hubs and look for the ideal mixture - useful information, sweetness with a bit of melancholy, and all presented in a coherent and perfect paced narration. And of course, let's not forget about the artwork you use to accompany your hubs which is always outstanding.

I am sharing this hub on Facebook. It's simply outstanding!

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 04, 2012:

Sorry clark, didn't see ya there! lol! thanks for reading it, or gazing it at it in disbelief not sure which! hee hee! thanks!

clark farley on July 03, 2012:

damn! eclectic-ate much? (yes, I have made up that word, lol) and, since you might be thinking it, I have dispensed with grammar and punctuation as well! very enjoyable article... the best thing about the internets is having access to these kind of places (HP and blogs and such).

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 30, 2012:

Hi Lesley, I really enjoyed doing this one, and the artist is fantastic, I am going to have to find out more about him, thanks so much I am really pleased you liked it, thanks!

Movie Master from United Kingdom on June 30, 2012:

Thank you Nell for this wonderful, wonderful article!

All the pictures are so well chosen, I loved the wise woman's garden!

So well researched and interesting, a fabulous read, voted up.

Best wishes Lesley

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 29, 2012:

Hi Beth, lol! well I must admit I did think it was a bit odd! thanks as always, and for the laugh!

Beth Perry from Tennesee on June 29, 2012:

Nell, what a lovely article about the Wise Women, or we white witches as otherwise known :)

About Alastar's comment, it strikes me as rather humorous. Anyone doling out turpentine as a remedy is a practitioner of the black arts, and anyone who would accept smelly old turpentine as a remedy needs more help than a real Wise Woman can offer without first procuring a license in psychology, lol!

Great article, voting up.

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 29, 2012:

Hi dona, yes I am sure there are many variations of the wise woman around the world, thanks so much for reading, cheers nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 29, 2012:

Hi Bobbi, yes those smells! lol! must have been awful, and saying that you were sorry that it had ended, that's such a great compliment thank you so much!

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 29, 2012:

Thanks Ruchira, I am glad you liked it, cheers nell

Tanuka Bhattacharjee from Cupertino on June 29, 2012:

Your hub is very interesting........there are actually such stories in different part of different cultures. Loved reading it.

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on June 28, 2012:

Nell Rose,

That was marvelous and enlightening and I love reading anything about plants and how they are used.

And about Witches as I knew they were healers and misunderstood in their actions of helping others

I am so thankful I did not live back then with all the bad smells—ugh

A great hub I was so into it---I was sorry when it ended.

Your Hub Friend,

Bobbi Purvis

Ruchira from United States on June 28, 2012:

Nell, this was a very resourceful hub with information loaded about the various potions and the wise woman. thank for the enlightening hub.

voted up and sharing it across

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 28, 2012:

Hi tills, lol! thanks! that's it exactly, these people were not scared to step outside the box back when people were very brainwashed into believing the Church and state, thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 28, 2012:

Hi alocsin, thanks for reading, yes it is strange, I remember reading in a lot of countries that the older you are the wiser and more respected you are, thank goodness we have got past that stage in history, thanks so much nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 28, 2012:

Thanks Pamela, I use a lot of herbs too, especially for helping me sleep etc, thanks so much for reading, cheers nell

Mary Craig from New York on June 28, 2012:

A typically great hub from a "wise woman". It seems the more research we do the more learn about how well things were done in the past, by the 'right' people. People who weren't afraid to experiment with what God gave them and use it to help themselves and others.

Your research is impeccable and makes me want to plant rosemary in my garden! So much information here!

Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on June 27, 2012:

It's rather interesting that in many Western cultures an old woman can be seen as evil, as in the archetypal witch, and that an opposite archetype has to be created to counter that. In many island cultures, such as the Philippines, an old woman is automatically seen as good because of her wisdom. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 27, 2012:

This hub contained a lot of information that I had never read before. I have heard about using some of the herbs for health. Is was very interesting.

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Hi Jackie, lol! which witch are you? a good one of course! thanks as always, nell

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on June 27, 2012:

Oh I know all about the rosemary and herbs and health benefits and great aromas. I grow all kinds and use them every day! Which does that make me; a good witch or a bad witch?

Great interesting hub!

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Hi sandra, that sounds fascinating, I haven't read Jung in such a long time, must catch up again. I studied Psychology for 4 years, nearly became a councilor but prefered the subconcious and iD to helping others with their problems, maybe I wasn't cut out for that, lol! thanks so much as always, nell

Sandra Busby from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA on June 27, 2012:

Thank you, Nell, for Wise Women everywhere. The archetype of the Witch in Jungian psychology is one that all women must activate before they can take full responsibility for themselves.

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Hi kitty, thanks for coming back, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Hi avian, yes you are right, my point was that many people see the animals and plants as something more than just nature to be used these days. there is a place called findhorn that believes the flowers and plants have a spirit or deity that they pray too and it makes them grow, I think its lovely, but all people who love gardening etc have an affinity with the plants that they grow, thanks again for reading, cheers nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Hi alan, bit behind tonight! lol! yes that's so true, women with a cat, or lived by themselves and were especially hard to speak too were straight away blamed for witchcraft, thank goodness those times were soon gone, thanks again, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Hi alan, bit behind tonight! lol! yes that's so true, women with a cat, or lived by themselves and were especially hard to speak too were straight away blamed for witchcraft, thank goodness those times were soon gone, thanks again, nell

Kitty Fields from Summerland on June 27, 2012:

A horticulturalist and an herbalist are not the same thing.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on June 27, 2012:

Beautifully done! Not all horticulturalists are Wise Women, though!

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on June 27, 2012:

Looks like the result of a lot of research on this page. 'Witches' were probably only denounced if something went wrong in a 'prescription' or the 'witch' sat on some attractive real estate. After the Restoration they would have come out of the closet to further their 'practices', and by Victorian times they'd have been back in their element... But there was always the comment behind the hand. In those days still old spinsters who lived alone with a cat (or two) would be prime targets for gossip. Probably still are.

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Hi kitty, lol! how did you guess? I am reading a book called the White Witch at the moment, I bought it thinking it was a modern one, you know like the vamps etc, but it turned out to be a modern classic written in the 50s, and its absolutely amazing, its about the civil war in England back in the 1630s, Charles the first against Cromwell, and the main character or the one that holds the story together is a wise woman, and it was so fascinating that I just had to write this, glad you liked it, and thanks!

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Hi christopher, lol! you got me there! I am probably the only person to talk to my plants and flowers on my balcony, calling them sweety when I cut them, and they have grown so much they are cascading down over the balcony now! they obviously like the sound of my voice, glad someone does! haha! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Hi Angela, I think the kerosene was Alastar, I wasn't aware of it being good for healing? but that sounds fascinating as a source of antiseptic, would never have thought of it, thanks so much, I am glad you liked it, I just loved the paintings, I am going over to check the artist out, cheers nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Hi Alicia, thanks for reading, yes it must have been a precarious lifestyle back then, purely because of the changing views of religion, all the different wars and of course the suspicions and superstitious, I think they were marvelous ladies, thanks again, nell

Kitty Fields from Summerland on June 27, 2012:

Ummm, okay. So did you write this hub for me? Hehe. You know this has to be my favorite hub I've read in a VERY long time...if not EVER. That's the truth. I've been thinking about this very topic lately, with wise women and their herbs. I'm teaching myself herbalism right now, and ironically I've been pruning my peppermint, lemon balm, and rosemary plants at night and making my remedies at night too! So yay for me that I was naturally doing that. :) LOL. I aspire to be a wise woman like the ones from back in the day...that is my major goal. Beautiful hub.

Christopher Antony Meade from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom on June 27, 2012:

I think you are a bit of a wise woman yourself Nell. There are so many herbs and flowers in our gardens. Now we know the uses that we can put them to. Thank you.

Angela Blair from Central Texas on June 27, 2012:

Nell -- having always been interested in herbs/healing this Hub was an absolute joy for me -- have read it twice and will probably read it again. Your mention of kerosene was interesting to me as my grandmother came from the old school and as kids all our cuts, lacerations (or the famous nail in a bare foot) was always treated with straight kerosene -- it must have tremendous healing properties as some pretty serious injuries were treated with it and we all survived. Superb Hub and excellent research/subject matter. Best/Sis

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 27, 2012:

This is a lovely hub, Nell! Wise women are fascinating people, and the illustrations and information in the hub are very interesting. The wise women of the past must have served a very valuable function in their society, when it was such a scary time to be alive.

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Hi effer, the wise women were the original doctors and because of them we know all sorts of things about the plants, so many of them are used today, only adding man made chemicals to them for the tablets, glad you liked it and thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Hi CMH, that's exactly right, it was a real case of walking the thin line back then, and one step out of the respectable circle and they were accused of witchcraft, I actually feel for them because I am sure that I would have been in a similar position, what with my herbs and such these days, I have a sort of affinity with them, thanks so much as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Thanks so much Vellur, glad you stopped by, cheers nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Hi katy, they are lovely aren't they? thanks so much for reading, cheers nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 27, 2012:

Hi Pamela, thanks so much and I am glad you liked it, cheers nell