Giant Hogwort – Big Teacher

June 1st, 2017

GiantHogwart1

 

My dream for summer 2016 was talking to wild plants and learning their names and magical/medicinal properties. The dream came true: I spent the summer in remote rural Sweden where an abundance of flowers awaited me.

People in-the-know say that the plant you most need unfailingly grows near you. If this is so, perhaps I only need to step outside (wherever I am) for a unique perspective on my health, my future or my marriage?!

I developed the habit of walking around with a magnifying glass in my hand and field guide in my pocket. I was soon moving in a fog of linguistic confusion. I grew up in The Netherlands. One of my earliest memories is of lying on my back in the grass and hearing plants singing all around me. In my early twenties I moved to Sweden and then on to the UK. Today the Dutch names of plants are like faint echoes carried on the wind: fluitekruid, pastinaak, bijvoet…. And my Swedish mother-in-law insisted that I learn the names of wild plants in Swedish: gråbo, vitsippor, blå eld….

My father did a course in horticulture when I was a teenager. He had to commit the Latin names of hundreds of plants to memory. Latin was one of my subjects in school and I would often look at those reams of names. It almost seemed like a different kind of Latin because surnames from other languages are ‘Latinized’ so botanical Latin looks very odd if you actually understand Latin!!

One thing my own parents taught me was to keep a respectful distance from certain plants. Giant Hogwort most of all. It is called Bereklauw (Bear’s Claw) in Dutch. They taught me that some plants have ‘lethal lookalikes’, mysterious ‘doppelgangers’ or doubles that are poisonous. Just as we human beings have a shadow, a side to us we try not to show, plants too have a secret life and sometimes they have poison twins.

As my maiden name is Berendsen (son or child of a bear) the ‘Bereklauw’ exterted a peculiar fascination. I am tall but this plant can grow twice as tall as me! Those white parasols of flowers were always swaying everywhere in the winds that scour my native Low Lands (literal translation of The Netherlands)

On my walks here in Sweden I suddenly thought: I do not actually know the name of Bear’s Claw in English. I have no difficulties recognising the plant but I can’t name it in English, Swedish or indeed Latin. I looked it up:

Giant Hogwood (Heracleum Mantegazzatium)

It is also called Giant Hogweed. I am not sure if that might be difference between British and American English, or if it is a more modern version of the same name. Use the link below to see pictures and read an official warning:

http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/39809.html

When I tried googling the English name I found an article written by a Dutch mother. Her two sons had played in the vicinity of Giant Hogwort and their skin had erupted in great blisters. Once those blisters pop, they leave open sores that need dressing and cleaning. She gave a vivid description of the horrors of tending to her boys daily. My mother’s heart did ache for this family. She then proceeded to say that these ‘nasty monsters’ grow even in the very heart of Amsterdam, in Het Vondelpark (Amsterdam’s equivalent of Hyde Park in London or Central Park in NYC). She discovered that you can contact the local council who are then obliged to remove the plants. And why were they growing there in the first place, she asked, in a prime location for children and dogs to run and play outdoors?

GiantHogwart2

At that point my mother’s heart did a backflip and I thought: hang on…. We live in world where children aren’t taught the names of plants any more. I was told recently that cowslip has been removed from the dictionary to make space for cyber age words like broadband and wifi.

Could it be argued that one of our duties as parents and teachers is to teach children the names and properties of plants? That plants are not just decorative greenery on the fringes of our lives but powerful beings with magical properties. Beings we’d do well to cultivate a relationship with?

When my own three children were young (they are teenagers now) the shops were full of protective devices: electric socket covers, foamy u-shaped doughnuts that kept doors from slamming shut, padded corners to click on coffee tables etc.

And yes, toddlers need to be kept away from open fires and electric sockets! Children and pets definitely DO need safe spaces to run and play. But older children also need to learn about plants, their toxic doubles and their own shadow sooner rather than later!

The world has never been a safe place. We keep young people safe by teaching them how to recognise danger (in any form), not by removing all dangers.

And perhaps this is (or was) the teaching of the Giant Hogwort in Het Vondelpark?

Giant Hogwort – Big Teacher…

(Started at Kärrshagen, Sweden, Summer 2016 and finished in London, May 2017)

***

Imelda Almqvist

Imelda Almqvist teaches shamanism, sacred art and internationally. 

Her book “Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life”, Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages was published by Moon in August 2016. 

http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/

Imelda is a presenter on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True

http://affiliate.soundstrue.com/aff_c?offer_id=124&aff_id=2260&url_id=86


No Responses to “Giant Hogwort – Big Teacher”

  1. Clutter Removalon 15 Aug 2017 at 1:07 am

    Perfect work you have done, this site is really cool with good info.

  2. bali beaches guideon 15 Aug 2017 at 5:08 am

    Thankyou for helping out, superb information.

  3. site edfon 15 Aug 2017 at 7:08 am

    Videos lesbiennes asiatiques beurettes sex video

  4. Fun appon 15 Aug 2017 at 9:09 am

    Im no professional, but I imagine you just made an excellent point. You clearly comprehend what youre talking about, and I can really get behind that. Thanks for staying so upfront and so genuine.

  5. FX brokeron 16 Aug 2017 at 9:40 am

    There is clearly a lot to realize about this. I assume you made various nice points in features also.

  6. foot nail fungus treatmenton 16 Aug 2017 at 12:50 pm

    You have brought up a very great points , appreciate it for the post.

  7. security camerason 16 Aug 2017 at 2:52 pm

    This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I ave joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  8. Juanon 16 Aug 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Thank you for your article post.Much thanks again. Really Cool.

  9. hollywood realtoron 17 Aug 2017 at 12:59 am

    something. ? think that ????????u could do with some pics to drive the message

  10. burbank realtoron 17 Aug 2017 at 5:02 am

    Some genuinely select blog posts on this internet site , saved to fav.

  11. click terminalon 17 Aug 2017 at 9:07 am

    I’??ve read several excellent stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot attempt you put to make this type of magnificent informative site.

  12. network contractoron 17 Aug 2017 at 11:10 am

    It as not that I want to duplicate your web-site, but I really like the pattern. Could you tell me which design are you using? Or was it custom made?

  13. UK pension transferon 17 Aug 2017 at 3:12 pm

    is incredible. It kind of feels that you are doing any unique trick.

  14. international health insuranceon 17 Aug 2017 at 5:14 pm

    This will be priced at perusing, I like the idea a lot. I am about to take care of your unique satisfied.

  15. compare insuranceon 17 Aug 2017 at 7:17 pm

    This particular blog is really interesting and besides factual. I have picked helluva useful stuff out of this source. I ad love to go back again and again. Cheers!

  16. how to make money online safelyon 17 Aug 2017 at 11:19 pm

    This awesome blog is really educating and also factual. I have discovered many handy tips out of this amazing blog. I ad love to visit it over and over again. Thanks a bunch!

  17. how to make money at onlineon 18 Aug 2017 at 1:22 am

    I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You are amazing! Thanks!

  18. http://make-moneyonline.coon 18 Aug 2017 at 5:26 am

    It’??s in reality a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  19. You made some good points there. I looked on the internet for the subject matter and found most individuals will go along with with your blog.

  20. Contractor Winnipegon 18 Aug 2017 at 11:46 am

    Well I truly enjoyed studying it. This post offered by you is very helpful for proper planning.

  21. IELTS course in Karachion 18 Aug 2017 at 12:38 pm

    This information is priceless. Where can I find out more?

  22. IELTS in Karachion 18 Aug 2017 at 2:39 pm

    You have got a really good layout for your blog i want it to work with on my web page too

  23. IELTS classes in Karachion 18 Aug 2017 at 4:40 pm

    I really liked your blog post. Really Cool. click here

  24. websiteon 18 Aug 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Usually I do not learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to take a look at and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, very great article.

  25. IELTS centre in Karachion 18 Aug 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly suppose this website wants far more consideration. I all most likely be once more to read far more, thanks for that info.

  26. IELTS centre in Karachion 18 Aug 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Usually I don at read article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, quite nice post.

  27. how to go veganon 18 Aug 2017 at 9:48 pm

    You completed various nice points there. I did a search on the topic and found mainly people will go along with with your blog.

  28. IELTS exam in Karachion 18 Aug 2017 at 10:45 pm

    simply shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this.

  29. marriagememes.orgon 18 Aug 2017 at 11:51 pm

    This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I ave joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your excellent post. Also, I ave shared your website in my social networks!

  30. IELTS preparation in Karachion 19 Aug 2017 at 12:46 am

    Some truly prime articles on this web site , saved to bookmarks.

  31. Shalondaon 19 Aug 2017 at 1:53 am

    Very clear site, thankyou for this post.

  32. Mikaelaon 19 Aug 2017 at 3:55 am

    Thanks for sharing this fine piece. Very interesting ideas! (as always, btw)

  33. Raeon 19 Aug 2017 at 5:56 am

    Loving the info on this web site, you have done great job on the content.

  34. spying cameraon 19 Aug 2017 at 7:58 am

    Very good information. Lucky me I ran across your blog by chance (stumbleupon). I ave book-marked it for later!

  35. serieller Modulbauon 19 Aug 2017 at 9:20 am

    This information is very important and you all need to know this when you constructor your own photo voltaic panel.

  36. Online Couponson 19 Aug 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Very interesting subject, thank you for posting.

  37. The Bitcoin Code DEon 19 Aug 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Tumblr article You are a very intelligent person!

  38. Very nice post and straight to the point. I don at know if this is actually the best place to ask but do you guys have any ideea where to get some professional writers? Thx

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply