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Author Topic: Herbal Lore on Cedar?  (Read 706 times)

Redfaery

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Herbal Lore on Cedar?
« on: March 30, 2014, 06:05:16 am »
Hey all! I am just curious as to any lore y'all might be aware of for cedar. I ask because cedar has become my go-to incense for beginning rituals. I discovered this quite by accident; I picked up a pack simply because I liked the smell. The first time I used it was in a ritual to aid my sleep, and as soon as I smelled the smoke, I knew it was powerful stuff. It calmed my racing thoughts and stilled my mind immediately.

I've also found that cedar essential oil also has a calming effect on me, although it seems to work differently. It works VERY WELL as soon as I apply it (in the form of an anointing oil to dry skin) but its effects taper off pretty quickly, and thereafter, I have to consciously stop and inhale the fragrance.

I know thanks to the wonderful stephyjh (my newest BFF;)) that cedar was burned for purification by the Cherokee. I'm not Cherokee, and I'm not even in the part of North Carolina that was Cherokee territory. So I'm doubly sensitive about using it. I really want to know more, as I think it's only right that I educate myself about another culture's tradition if I continue to use it.

I'm also interested in other cultures' lore regarding cedar. Evergreens are typically important trees, and I seem to remember that fragrant evergreens like cedar and cypress and some kinds of pine gain a lot of cultural importance.
KARMA: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Emma Eldritch

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Re: Herbal Lore on Cedar?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2014, 10:02:01 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;144022
Hey all! I am just curious as to any lore y'all might be aware of for cedar. I ask because cedar has become my go-to incense for beginning rituals. I discovered this quite by accident; I picked up a pack simply because I liked the smell. The first time I used it was in a ritual to aid my sleep, and as soon as I smelled the smoke, I knew it was powerful stuff. It calmed my racing thoughts and stilled my mind immediately.

I've also found that cedar essential oil also has a calming effect on me, although it seems to work differently. It works VERY WELL as soon as I apply it (in the form of an anointing oil to dry skin) but its effects taper off pretty quickly, and thereafter, I have to consciously stop and inhale the fragrance.

I know thanks to the wonderful stephyjh (my newest BFF;)) that cedar was burned for purification by the Cherokee. I'm not Cherokee, and I'm not even in the part of North Carolina that was Cherokee territory. So I'm doubly sensitive about using it. I really want to know more, as I think it's only right that I educate myself about another culture's tradition if I continue to use it.

I'm also interested in other cultures' lore regarding cedar. Evergreens are typically important trees, and I seem to remember that fragrant evergreens like cedar and cypress and some kinds of pine gain a lot of cultural importance.

 
I live in the Pacific Northwest, so I've spent my whole life surrounded by evergreeens. Here on the coast especially you see cedar a lot. It is especially of significance to the First Nations people here as cedar is what most of the totem poles and boxes and masks are made of. This is, as I understand it, partially because cedar resists decay well and it's good for carving.

That all said, I can't think of any specific lore regarding the tree. I know it's reputed to have purifying qualities, and I'm pretty sure it's good for breathing when you're all snotty and congested. (I am not a professional on the topic, however.) It certainly seems powerful, but not in an overly energetic way, if that makes sense.

I've used cedar as incense. It's quite pleasant.

stephyjh

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Re: Herbal Lore on Cedar?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2014, 11:14:32 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;144022
Hey all! I am just curious as to any lore y'all might be aware of for cedar. I ask because cedar has become my go-to incense for beginning rituals. I discovered this quite by accident; I picked up a pack simply because I liked the smell. The first time I used it was in a ritual to aid my sleep, and as soon as I smelled the smoke, I knew it was powerful stuff. It calmed my racing thoughts and stilled my mind immediately.

I've also found that cedar essential oil also has a calming effect on me, although it seems to work differently. It works VERY WELL as soon as I apply it (in the form of an anointing oil to dry skin) but its effects taper off pretty quickly, and thereafter, I have to consciously stop and inhale the fragrance.

I know thanks to the wonderful stephyjh (my newest BFF;)) that cedar was burned for purification by the Cherokee. I'm not Cherokee, and I'm not even in the part of North Carolina that was Cherokee territory. So I'm doubly sensitive about using it. I really want to know more, as I think it's only right that I educate myself about another culture's tradition if I continue to use it.

I'm also interested in other cultures' lore regarding cedar. Evergreens are typically important trees, and I seem to remember that fragrant evergreens like cedar and cypress and some kinds of pine gain a lot of cultural importance.

 
My attitude is that the lore comes from nature, not the other way around. Yes, cedar is purifying. Eastern and Southern red cedar woods are also very durable and have a strong resistance to warping, weather damage, and infestation, and due to their soft nature, are very workable. (Side note: cedar trees in North America are actually a variety of juniper, rather than a true cedar of the genus Cedrus.) It makes sense to me, as many traditional herbal associations do in the context of their environment, to use a wood that resists rot and insect infestations and stays pure for a long time as an incense for purification and as an offering.
A heretic blast has been blown in the west,
That what is no sense must be nonsense.

-Robert Burns

yewberry

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Re: Herbal Lore on Cedar?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2014, 12:39:57 am »
Quote from: stephyjh;144086
Side note: cedar trees in North America are actually a variety of juniper, rather than a true cedar of the genus Cedrus.) It makes sense to me, as many traditional herbal associations do in the context of their environment, to use a wood that resists rot and insect infestations and stays pure for a long time as an incense for purification and as an offering.

 
Some commonly-called "cedar" in North America come from the Juniperus genus.  Our local, native cedars are members of the Thuja and Cupressus genuses respectively.

Brina

stephyjh

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Re: Herbal Lore on Cedar?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2014, 03:14:21 am »
Quote from: yewberry;144091
Some commonly-called "cedar" in North America come from the Juniperus genus.  Our local, native cedars are members of the Thuja and Cupressus genuses respectively.

Brina

 
Good to know!
A heretic blast has been blown in the west,
That what is no sense must be nonsense.

-Robert Burns

Redfaery

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Re: Herbal Lore on Cedar?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2014, 04:55:52 am »
Quote from: yewberry;144091
Some commonly-called "cedar" in North America come from the Juniperus genus.  Our local, native cedars are members of the Thuja and Cupressus genuses respectively.

Brina

 
That's interesting! On a side note, I really like the smell of juniper, too...;)

The oil I use is from an American species, but the incense uses an old world species (and a bit of oakmoss bouquet, which I think is a lovely touch) I wonder if that has any bearing on how they affect me?
KARMA: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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