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Juniper, a Winter Fragrance.by Janine Donnellan
For a Pagan winter fragrance, burn juniper incense. This was used for the 'smudging' ritual, which involved anointing the home with healing herbs to ward off evils spirits. Our ancestors burnt juniper and many other aromatic substances for this purpose.
A Druid sacred tree, Juniper (Juniperus communis) is an evergreen tree or shrub with needle-like leaves in threes and berrylike cones that ripen to blue-black in their second or third year. The berries were believed to have protective properties, and branches were burnt in Highland homes for purification; also burnt, in the Highlands, in New Year's pyres. The smoke of the leaves and wood was believed to drive away harm and pestilence. The odour of juniper is thought to defeat the hunting hound's sense of smell, and it is said that hares will hide under a juniper from a dog giving chase - this has led to the tree being regarded as a sanctuary and a symbol of aid in distress. In Italy stables are protected from thunderbolts and demons with a sprig of juniper.
Probably one of the earliest incenses used by Mediterranean Witches; its berries were used with thyme in Druid and grove incenses for visions. Juniper grown by the door discourages thieves. The mature berries can be strung in the house to attract love. Men use the berries to increase potency. Burn Juniper as incense for: Exorcism, Protection, Healing, Love. The Essential oil is useful in protection, purification and healing blends.
Primarily a diuretic, the berries help digestive problems, gastrointestinal inflammations, and rheumatism. The berries are taken as a tea (simmer two teaspoons per cup of water for ten minutes, take up to one cup four times a day), or taken as jam or syrup in water, mild, or herb tea. The dry berries can be chewed, three a day is sufficient. CAUTION: Pregnant women and people with weak kidneys should not use juniper berry.
A Yule herbal blend is:
Please be aware that many herbs have a number of different common names, some of which can also be used and confused with totally different plants that may have very different properties and also be highly toxic. For your own safety, always find out the scientific name of any herb you plan to use and check that you do in fact have the correct herb for a particular use.