In the middle of May, I was walking through the Valley Road park here in Nottingham, when I saw something unexpected: mugwort leaves!
Did you know mugwort can be made into tea, flavour beer and even be smoked as tobacco? Watch out though, it contains thujone which makes it a good insecticide but is toxic to cats and can damage the kidneys and liver in humans if taken in large quantities. It is thought to encourage menstruation, perhaps leading it to one of its many names: motherwort.
Had I not looked into the properties of Mugwort, I would have disregarded it as ‘another weed’. Because that’s the way when we aren’t familiar with something. We either take interest and learn to know what something is, or we dismiss it because it isn’t important to us.
I have reached a stage in my Druidry where I am now exploring both plants and trees. And even though I previously knew some of their names, I was completely ignorant of other species. Sure, I already knew of birch and sycamore and oak. As much as I already knew about yew, dandelion, buttercup and nettle. And this exploration has influenced a lot of how I now approach my blog over the past year.
As my knowledge and understanding increases, the landscape becomes more familiar, the fog of ignorance melts away. Becoming acquainted with the flowers, the plants and wildlife allows not only a growing familiarity, but an appreciation and most of all…. respect.