This Thursday's prompt at Pagan Blog Prompts (a worthy project, but one in which I rarely get to participate) is "Foraging." Since I have wanted to write a bit about what we have been up to, I decided to preempt the remediation program (yet again) & write some notes on what the Wee Ones & I have been finding.
In the "Dreaded 'Guru Board'" post I made this assertion about foraging:
"As I learn more about food & foraging (& do more of it) I realize that the act of searching for & procuring food, for myself, for my family, for friends or for barter is a rich & deeply spiritual process. (The same applies to recreational fungi hunting.) It requires a shift in mindset, an opening up to your immediate surroundings in a way we don't generally do in the day-to-day. It requires an awareness -- a mindfulness similar to what we seek through meditation. Perhaps this is part of what I find so entrancing about it. It also requires a certain amount of magick & I am pleased to have found affirmation of this from another mycophile. In her book Mycophilia, Eugenia Bone has this to say about the foraging experience: '...I felt like finding mushrooms was a kind of conjuring: If I concentrated hard enough, if I longed to find one deeply enough, the mushroom would reveal itself to me...' Exactly."As I wrote that passage, I realized how much I wanted to make foraging a more significant, year-round part of my life & also share it with my family. I wasn't sure how to begin here during the high desert's spring, especially since all my foraging activities up until now have revolved around Alaska's autumn season. I opted to set about with that which I know & is close to home.
Keeping it Simple & Close to Home: Dandelions, Dryland Fish & Devil's Eyelashes
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale)
One of new favourite haunts is Forageporage's Blog. I think I might have found it in connection with my Now, Forager fetish. I really cannot begin to cover the scope of this blog here, so I suggest you just go see it yourself but I will give you a taste of her take on foraging:
"Foraging is work. It’s a lot of work. Foraging is fun work, dirty work, long, tiring work; albeit ultimately satisfying work. It will take you further than than you thought possible. Foraging is a time thief. Hours dissappear. Months fly by. It’s consuming and addictive! Foraging begins with a question; as in: 'Hey, what’s that weed?'" -- Forageporage
Sometimes just starting simply is best, especially when one has children in tow. When "Porage" offered up a tutorial & her recipe for Liquid Sunshine, I knew it was something that would work for all of us -- even The Changeling.
|Dandelion petals (Taraxacum officinale)|
|Dried dandelion petals.|
Dryland Fish (Morchella spp.)
"Dryland Fish" is a clever name for the Morel mushroom & it just happened to allow me to indulge in alliteration, a literary device I find simultaneously annoying & irresistible. The Morel is among the most beloved of mushrooms. I personally find them slightly unsettling, but I have yet to figure out why. Morels do whatever they want. They follow no rules. Just when you think you have them figured out, they appear in the last place you would ever expect to find them. For several years I have made trips up a certain canyon after the rainstorms to check burn sites for these beasties & have never, ever found any. But go check my lawn under the Siberian Elm trees & there you will find them. Are Morels known for loitering under such trees? Absolutely not.
|Our surviving 2012 Morel (Morchella spp.)|
|2012 Morel (Morchella spp.)|
Ready for some heat & pasture butter.
"...morels spontaneously grow in the yard where he used to clean them. They just grow in the grass. There are lots of fruit trees in the yard, and more of them grow under a sugar pear tree than anywhere else, but I am not sure if that has to do with the tree or because that is the place he most often stood to clean them..."Excellent. If it works, I won't call it "very, very local foraging" anymore, I'll call it incidental agriculture.
Devil's Eyelashes (Tribulus terrestris)
If I was a believer, I would call these plants "Hellspawn." But since I am not, I call them "Goatsheads." (I used Devil's Eyelashes purely for the alliteration.) Other folks may call them Puncturevine, Tackweed, Devil's Thorn, among many other monikers. By any name, it is still a daemon in plantform.
|Goatshead plant & flower (Tribulus terrestris)|
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
So why on Earth am I collecting these vile little nutlets?
|Goatsheads (Tribulus terrestris) nutlets|
I am collecting them for Sciento-Magick, of course. I have a theory I am working with which stems from the thoughts I wrote in the "Sciento-Magick: Re-thinking Correspondences I" post. It follows this reasoning:
"Authenticity of the present lore, symbolism & correspondences aside, I have been developing a different approach... by combining the discoveries from personal connection... with knowledge of its role in mythologies, its occurrence/importance throughout history & (here we get Sciento) the knowledge (as applicable) we have of its biology, physiology, chemistry, etc. combined with its role within ecological systems, we can develop a comprehensive set of associations that truly reflect a thing's rich, complex nature."So I'm onto these punks & I think they can have a place in certain types of sympathetic magick.
Besides, the fewer there are to germinate, the happier everyone in my neighborhood will be. Community service, right?
A Final Note: There is a fantastic professional forager's (how does one get that job?!?!) blog called Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager. I highly recommend it -- for a variety of reasons including its striking images, novel ideas & wonderful, innovative recipes.