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Cats Bits: April 16-22 Dandelions: Weed or Wildflower

Cat's Bits for the Week of April 16-22
Dandelions, Weed or Wildflower, Definitely Spring
 
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April Events:
 
April 16: Easter
April 19: Sun enters Taurus at 5:27 pm EST
April 22: Earth Day
April 26: New Moon at 8:16 am EST
 
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"Spring slattern of seasons
you have soggy legs
and a muddy petticoat
drowsy
 
is your hair your
eyes are sticky with
dream and you have a sloppy body from
 
being brought to bed of crocuses
when you sing in your whisky voice
the grass rises on the head of the earth
and all the trees are put on edge
 
spring
of the excellent jostle of
thy hips
and the superior"
- E. E. Cummings, Spring Onmipotent Goddess Thou
 
 
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Article for the Week:
 
Dandelions, Weed or Wildflower, Definitely Spring
 
Depending on who you ask dandelions are either a beneficial plant or a weed. Personally, I love dandelions as they always seem to be a happy flower. Dandelions grow everywhere, they have no limits and no prejudice. From big cities to alpine meadows they congregate unafraid of the world around them.
 
While these plants are considered a weed, they are actually a wildflower and an edible one at that. The greens are full of vitamins and my mother has been extoling their virtues since I was a kid. My father didn't use herbicide the dandelions that grew in the yard he pulled them by hand instead and he always tried to get them before they flowered. If you are going to eat dandelion greens it's best to pick them young, that way they are the most tender. The older leaves tend to be bitter. My mother would add the greens to salad and other times she would make "wilted dandelion greens". She would fry several strips of bacon and crumble them over the greens and then drizzle the hot bacon grease over them and add salt and pepper. This recipe was one that my grandmother made during the Great Depression, a time when people made do with what they had and what they could get from the land.
 
Below I have collected information about this humble plant, I hope you enjoy!
 
DANDELION INFORMATION
 
Names:  The name dandelion comes from the French word " dens leonis " which translates out to dent de lion. The French also have the less attractive name of "pis en lis " or pee in the bed and in some parts of England dandelions are called " pissabed " . After all this plant is a very effective diuretic.
 
Other names for this plant are fairy herb, fairy clocks, wild endive, lion's tooth, priest's crown, blow ball, and bitter herb.
 
 
The Plant:
 
Dandelions are hardy plants and can grow in both moist and dry climates and in both sun and shade. It has a taproot that can grow to 3 ft. in length. It is this root that causes the dandelion to be almost impossible to kill. If you leave even a small piece of it in the ground it will continue to grow back. The leaves of a dandelion grow in a flat rosette at it's base. They are serrated like teeth and can grow up to 14 inches in length. The stems are tubular and when broken produce a milky sap, they grow from 6 inches to 2 feet long. The flowers are bright yellow and fuzzy and although it looks like all one flower they are actually made up of 100-300 separate flowers. When a dandelion goes to seed it produces approximately 20,000 seeds per plant. Each seed looks like a tiny parachute and when given a good puff of air they fly all over much to the delight of small children everywhere and even a few adults!
 
Nutrition:
 
The dandelion is probably one of the most nutritious plants you can eat if you acquire a taste for them. For over 600 yrs. it has been recognized as a stable and reliable food source. In ancient times as well as in the last century people relied upon growing their own food and storing it for the winter months. Even though they rationed their food and kept it in storage cellars some of it went bad. This meant that you didn't get the nutrition you needed and got sick. Illnesses like scurvy were prevalent and were caused by not eating fresh fruits and vegetables. When spring arrived the humble dandelion was a welcome sight and addition to their diet. This plant supplied essential vitamins and minerals that the body had been deprived of. A simple spring tonic of dandelion greens could relieve depression, pain, fatigue, weakness and reparatory ailments. Our ancestors may not have know about vitamins and minerals, but they did know that dandelion tonic made them feel better.
 
In modern times we have discovered that dandelions contain calcium, iron, potassium, niacin, folic acid, zinc magnesium and other nutrients. They also contain a large number of vitamins, all of which are at much higher levels than other greens. In Holistic healing it can be used for a diuretic and a laxative. It is also a digestive aid and enhances gall bladder and liver function. It may also help fight anemia. For more information on it's health benefits go to http://www.all4naturalhealth.com/dandelion-benefits.html
 
***And as with ANY herb or herbal supplement, always talk to your doctor first and always start with a small dose to see how your body reacts to it.****
 
 
DANDELION LORE
 
In Celtic lore dandelions are said to be the children of the Sky God and the earth Mother. With the sun's light each morning they turn their faces skyward toward the loving warmth of their father. All day they follow his travels across the sky. At day end close their petals and bow their heads to sleep in their mothers comforting embrace.
 
Another legend says that dandelions are connected to the supernatural realm through their deep roots, while their flowers reach to the heavens. secrets of life, death and rebirth are said to be given to those who this plant.
 
 
Celtic lore also states that eating dandelions has the ability to cure fairy inflicted diseases.
 
DANDELION CORRESPONDENCES and MAGIC
 
Planet: The Sun
Element: Air
Dieties: Lugh, Belenos, Hecate
 
In Magic:
 
Intuition, otherworld communication, folk divination and wishes. A tea made from dried dandelion root is said to promote psychic powers if drunk at the full moon and if you leave the steaming cup of tea by your bed it will call the spirits. By placing dried dandelions under your pillow you will have vivid dreams. (A dream pillow would be less messy) Blowing the seeds off of the dandelion head can send a message to a loved one or divine your life span. In eastern cultures the dandelion symbolizes protection, good health and money.
 
If you dream of a dandelion, it is said to be a sign that you have a secret wish or desire. In the language of flowers to give or receive a dandelion meant "absurdity" and said the person was too pretentious to take seriously.
 
Bright Blessings for a Magickal Week!
Cat
 
Referenced works:
ehow. com / about dandelions
Magic of Dandelions by Nuala Drago
Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham
Flower and Tree Magic, Richard Webster
 
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