Mass. Wild Swamp Cactus AKA "Thistles". How to Prepare + Info On Healing Properties
The other day I found myself in one of my other favorite places to be other than rock ledges of bedrock granite high in the hills (which provide an abundant resource of stone.) I found myself in true swamp land. Swamp land where there were no trails, knee deep and waist deep in swamp water. I stayed out of the water the best I could, using fallen trees and tree limbs to navigate my way through the swamp- clutching, jumping, balancing, zig-zagging, maneuvering and stretching my body to stay dry- I only slipped a couple times after night had fallen... it took me a couple hours to navigate through that swamp. It is a fun exercise to do sometimes because it is a little challenging if you want to stay dry and you must use your brain power to analyze the best tactical maneuvers. And just like a maze sometimes you have to slowly zig-zag your way across (finding downed tree limbs and assuming one wants to stay dry) in order to move forwards. It is a good analytical brain exercise as well as a good physical work out and also a good practice in learning patience to reach a goal.
On the side of the swamp (which itself is a bit of a challenge for most people to get to), where there are the remains of some trails I noticed that one of the New England region's wild cactus plants was growing (for some reason people, if they even know of it call it a weed and think that cacti or similar plants only grow in the southwest region?- that logic is the veil lifted over people's eyes). What I am referring to is a 6 foot tall prickly, thorny thistle-bush. These sacred plants have many healing properties. My subtle energy body was buzzing off the charts just being around this wild plant. Okay, so I guess that was my adventure. Most people don't realize the abundance of wild healing plants around their area. Take Massachusetts alone. Without looking anything up I will list as much as I can off the top of my head: Burdock, Thistle, Blackberry (in abundance), Blueberry (in abundance), dandelion (in abundance), skunk cabbage (in abundance), cat-tail (in abundance), sassafras (in abundance). This is only to name a few.
The following YouTube video is a presentation about how to prepare Wild Thistle as well as a 101 on it's health benefits. Thank you to the presenter for doing her great work. About 10 minutes long:
We should always keep in mind that looking at stone sites was just one aspect of the Native culture, an aspect which I believe had it's glory day many thousands of years ago- in later woodland cultures perhaps, and this really is just a supposition, only a select group of people had the full knowledge of how to read, interact and interpret some of these sites (stone wall complexes running up ledges, areas within it of propped boulders and large split boulders- obviously observatory sites in some cases, which provided within it places to make the necessary observations- places where Earth, Sky and Water meet, etc.) Cairn and rock pile sites were probably more personal, and specific families and clans probably had preferred specific areas of their own where they would go erect these monuments and to observe ritual, remembering to give thanks to the spirits (a rock-on rock offering stone for instance next to a larger effigy cairn which in turn is next to a larger stone mound.) But beyond the ceremonial stone complexes are elements of Native life more familiar to academics and the public at large- such as habitation sites (which featured extensive spiral trail systems from one place to the next, which has actually been proven beneficial to human DNA), foraging sites, production sites (soapstone quarries for the manufacture of products such as bowls, tools, etc.), and subsistence sites.
What I am trying to say is, although this blog has focused on the less known and understood stone sites, every aspect of nature, and what is to be found on the land itself is a gifted experience given to us directly from the Creator. Wetland, Swampland, plant and animal life are just as fantastic as places that are abundant in stone and therefore stone-works as well. I do not want to sound like I am too carried away by the stones- although they are indigenous, therefore enhancing the power of the natural landscape instead of working against it which is what modern people do.
And I did find the Massachusetts cacti-type thistle plants to be most glorious.