LLWELLYN’S Witches’ Datebook 2018

“What herb could be more appropriate for a winter Moon than bearberry? High overhead, the Great Bear constellation, Ursa Major, stalks the night sky, even as her kin lie sleeping in their dens. Those that do stir, if only briefly, might be seen enjoying the last of the bright red berries of Arctostaphylos uva-uris that come on in late fall, though to humans they really don’t have much flavor”.

“Like many plants that have fibrous, spreading root systems that crawl just below the ground level before erupting in leaves, bearberry is useful for kidney ailments and urinary tract disorders. Because it helps as a diuretic to remove excess uric acid, bearberry may be used to treat gout. In Native American traditions, dried bearberry leaves were burned to carry prayers to the heavens”.

“The plant itself is evergreen and is said to be circumpolar, meaning it tends to prefer colder climates. Its rich green leaves are another reminder that, though winter storms may howl, all is not lost. There is hope for the future in the grey, barren landscape”.

—JD Hortwort