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The Wise Woman or White Witch

Updated on March 10, 2017
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 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 practise the arts 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 were 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 patients 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 as 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, its 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.

How A Wise Woman's Garden Would Look
How A Wise Woman's Garden Would Look | Source
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 because they were not so hygenic 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 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 a medicine for hangovers.


Ornamental Rosemary Flower Beautiful!
Ornamental Rosemary Flower Beautiful! | Source

With nature at their feet, and a 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 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. | Source

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
Posy or Nosegay
Posy or Nosegay | Source

Make your own Posy or Nosegay

This is a really simple but lovely piece to make. We all know of 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 public domain
Posset public domain

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.

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 White Witch.

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    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 7 months ago from England

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

    • profile image

      Sue 7 months ago

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Thanks for reading Ozonenrhia!

    • Ozonenrhia profile image

      Caroline Hamilton 3 years ago from New Castle, Indiana

      Beautiful )0(

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

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

    • go-barbara-go profile image

      go-barbara-go 4 years ago

      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 profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      @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!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      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.

    • CarolynEmerick profile image

      Carolyn Emerick 4 years ago

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

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      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 profile image

      Pamela-anne 4 years ago from Miller Lake

      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!

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      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      Excellent post Nell, learned a lot!

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      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

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      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!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

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

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      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

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      Sally West 4 years ago

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      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 profile image

      L.L. Woodard 5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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

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      IntegrityYes 5 years ago

      You are very welcome, Nell.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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

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      Daphne Shadows 5 years ago

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

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Thanks again Integrity!

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      IntegrityYes 5 years ago

      That is so interesting. I definitely voted up.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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!

    • P FOR PEONY profile image

      Peony 5 years ago

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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!

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      klarawieck 5 years ago

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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 profile image

      clark farley 5 years ago

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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 profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

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

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 5 years ago from Tennesee

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

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

    • donabhatt profile image

      donabhatt 5 years ago from Hyderabad

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

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 5 years ago from Florida

      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 profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

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

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      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.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      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.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

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

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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

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      Sandra Busby 5 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi kitty, thanks for coming back, nell

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

      A horticulturalist and an herbalist are not the same thing.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

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

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 5 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

      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.

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      Christopher Antony Meade 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      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 profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      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

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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 profile image
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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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

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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      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

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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

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

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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

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

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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

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

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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi Alastar, will do! thanks!

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      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Nell......I have thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful piece on "wise women" and their potions. The info you bring us on Rosemary, as well as the other various herbs and flowers ....is extremely interesting to me...things I did not know. I keep seeing "hawthorne" pop up when researching for supplements beneficial to the heart (especially arrrhythmias, which I have suffered with for 31 years)....In all, Nell, I appreciate this hub as very educational. Thank you. Up ++

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      CMHypno 5 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Beautiful hub Nell. And of course many of these poor women paid with their life for their knowledge of herbs and the natural world. We are so lucky that we now live in a world where we can enjoy this knowledge freely

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      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Enjoyed reading your hub, learned so many interesting facts. Voted up.

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      katyzzz 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Very fascinating information Nell, and I just love those old fashioned images

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      Pamela-anne 5 years ago from Miller Lake

      Really enjoyed your hub it was full of great info from witches to herbal remedies thanks for sharing. take care pam.

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      Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Great Nell, if you do find a place for Leslie's prints please let me know some time on a comment or whatever.:)

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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi Alastar, Wow! that sounds a bit dodgy! turpentine would definitely do it! lol! oh and her of course! aren't the paintings wonderful? I had never heard of the artist before, but after seeing so many when I was looking for pictures I am a definite fan, hope I can get some prints of his stuff, they are amazing! thanks as always, nell

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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

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

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      Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

      A relative's mother was tempted once by the one they called a 'wise woman' back on the east Caro farmstead, Nell. Seems the young mom-to-be had got in a family way unexpectedly. The Wise one had mixed up a potion she said would take care of the problem; but the young girl refused, much to the relatives future relief, one reason being it smelled like turpentine.

      Didn't know much about these wise ones so this was cool reading about the history, stories, herbs n plants. The nose-gay info is very interesting too, i'd buy a reproduction of that painting. Thanks Nell, up n awe!

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      Jennifer Vasconcelos 5 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      Nell you truly are a source of light and knowledge. I appreciate your informative and excellent Hubs.

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      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi OldWitchcraft, what a very apt first commenter! lol! I love it! thanks so much for reading, I really enjoyed writing this one, in fact I didn't want to stop! lol!

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      OldWitchcraft 5 years ago from The Atmosphere

      What a beautiful presentation and a really useful article. Thanks for the good info.

      Accolades!