The Herbal Guild

The Love of Nerthus.

All living creatures are dependent of plants and trees since the dawn of time and will continue to do so for we cannot survive without them. From the air, we breathe, the food we eat, the medicine they bring not just for physical wellbeing but psychologically and emotional. They have provided heat and shelter, household utensils and weaponry among many other uses.

The evolutionary history of plants began with Algae probably existed on moist ground for over a billion years. Plants, as in the kingdom Plantae, did not emerge until 700 million years ago, at the earliest. Per molecular genetics analysis that suggests land plants split from the green algae around this time, although this figure is not corroborated by fossil evidence. The earliest evolutionary history of plants on land appears in the early Ordovician period, about 475 million years ago, although many paleobotanists suspect there were plants during the Cambrian period, 500 million years ago.

The first land plants were non-vascular bryophytes, represented today by mosses, hornworts, and liverworts. These plants, lacking circulatory tissues, were quite short, between 1 and 100 mm (4 in) in thickness. These bryophytes represented the basal group in the evolutionary history of plants. They could only survive in very moist areas, where all cells can easily take in water directly, their spores could be dispersed easily. Lacking a protective coating, spores are relatively fragile, and prone to desiccation (drying out). Scientists believe that the first land plants may have set the stage for the colonization of the land by animals by sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the biopolymer lignin. This increased the portion of the atmosphere containing oxygen, making it more available to oxygen-breathing animals like the first terrestrial arthropods and mollusks.

Around 425 million years ago, the first vascular plants appeared, like the simple bifurcating, sporangia (spore-producing structure) tipped Cooksonia and the unusually advanced Baragwanathia, found in Australia. Slowly, plants grew in height, from just a couple centimeters to around 20 centimeters (8 in). At this point, plants spread mainly through vegetative growth, as spores could not be dispersed very far from the parent plant. Scientists who study the evolutionary history of plants are hard at work trying to determine which land plant was actually the first and what its ecosystem looked like.

The first land plants including mosses emerged during the Ordovecian period. Throughout the Devonian (416 - 360 million years ago), plants progressively grew in height to become as large as today's massive ferns. At the start of the Devonian, plants were mostly non-vascular and correspondingly diminutive, but by the end of the period, seed-bearing plants had evolved, forming huge forests. The explosion of botanical diversity during this period has been called the "Devonian explosion." Meanwhile, fish ruled the seas.

The next major innovation in the evolutionary history of plants was much later, during the Cretaceous period, when flowering plants (angiosperms) first emerged. Using flowers to attract bees, which would then go on to pollinate other plants, angiosperms were genetically diverse and a great evolutionary success. One of the latest varieties of plants are the grasses, which evolved from the angiosperms just 35 million years ago.

Arguably the most precious recourses on the planet, and the most taken for granted. In the modern age of modern medicine, consumerism and technology, humans have never been as far away from the natural world as they are now. As I suggested in an early article on mugwart in an earlier addition of Vortru magazine, our ancestors were the test subjects for botanical trials when it came to nourishment and medicine. They knew where to look to find what they needed by the map of the land they dwelt in. They grew, prepare and administer them for the wellbeing of their families and tribes. Our ancestors were also aware that plants had their own unique spirits and gave them respect and honored them accordingly to maintain a mutual co-operative relationship.

Love of Nerthus is a program set up by members of the Asatru Alliance focusing connecting the student with the world of plants enabling the student to grow and, forage, identify and understand their properties, harvest and store, prepare and administer remedies safely, Awareness of the folklore, magical properties, and how to use them in accordance with these laws. There are three tutors who will view each student submission to give a balanced review of their progress. Each tutor has many years of experience in the skills listed above, one of whom is a medical professional.

Using medicinal herbs may cause reactions and side effects to the body and may interfere with any prescribed medications. This is another reason to to contact your physician on any of these matters before use.

Recommended reading list.

This list is recommended for anyone no matter what their level of knowledge and experience. While we understand, it is not possible to obtain every title in this list, we do encourage anyone wishing to study with us to obtain four or five of these titles, ensuring they cover the spectrum of of the subject.

We also suggest when reading to have an open mind. While many of the authors agree with one other, there are some that their own unique ideas based on personal experience in their field.

There is a wide range of material out there and if anyone has a title they wish to add please feel free to contact us.

Contact Us.

Heidr Skogarlands Kona Nagini369 (at) aol (dot) com

Lifstrasser Karlsdottr lif (at) asatru (dot) org

Renee Barlow treehugger1288 (at) gmail (dot) com