The Wise-Woman’s Garden is the section where you will find information on some of the practical aspects of the Cunning Craft. The craft was heavily reliant on the natural world for its supplies. And the best way of obtaining those supplies was to grow them yourself in your own garden.
What is a Wise-Woman’s Garden?
A Wise-Woman or Cunning Man collectively known as Cunning folk, were the folk healers or wise folk within the village. They were professional or semi-professional practitioners of folk medicine, folk magic and divination. The term was common place in Europe from the Middle Ages until the 20th century. Their practices were known as the Cunning Craft. They were extremely self-reliant people who could provide for themselves to the point of almost total self-sufficiency.
Cunning: the skill to achieve or make things in a clever way, especially for a particular purpose. The original sense was ‘possessing erudition or skill’ – from Middle English cunne, an obsolete variant of can (Oxford Languages)Synonyms: Ingenious, Subtle, Imaginative, Shrewd
They sourced their supplies by either foraging for them in nature or growing them themselves. Their gardens were therefore a place of great importance. They didn’t have to expend time and energy going out and searching for a plant if they had it growing in their own garden. The garden provided not only their food but also the medicinal plants and herbs needed to make remedies, lotions and potions. It provided plant material that could be made into fabrics and dyes for those fabrics. It also provided natural materials for making into tools and other needed items. They grew things in the same way that nature grows things.
Growing How Nature Grows
My grandmother, (a village wise-woman) always taught me that if I wanted to know how to grow something to go and look at how nature grows it. Nowadays with the love and incessant need for labelling everything, this is known as Biomimicry. This is complex; nature is extremely complex, it is literally creating eco-systems. We will have a sub-page on the basics coming soon. In the meantime we have a workshop on ‘Creating A Wise-Woman’s Garden’ and we are developing this into an online course.
Our Wise-Woman’s Garden
Is not only a section on this website but is also an actual physical project (based on an allotment) where we are creating a Wise-Woman’s Garden from scratch. We are documenting the creation of this project in video format. The videos form one of the video-series, by the same name on our CelticEarthSpirit YouTube channel. The information from both this section of the website and the YouTube series can help in creating a similar project of your own.
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