Friday, July 29, 2022

Native American Plant Myths - Trees Struck by Lightening

1590 North American Atlantic Coast Natives by John White (c1540 – c1593). 
The village of Pomeiooc (Pomeiock) was a Native America settlement,
 designated on de Bry’s map of Virginia, Americae Pars Nunc Virginia Dicta,
 between today’s Wyesocking Bay & Lake Landing, North Carolina. 
John White called the settlement Pomeyoo.

For thousands of years, Earth's indigenous people from separate ethnic groups inhabiting a variety of the planet's climates & terrains have searched for and created oral myths about plants & animals. They often used nearby plants not only for food but also as medicines to control ailments afflicting them. Many of these myths were passed down from generation to generation as oral tales before written language.

Extracted from: Myths of the Cherokee. 
19th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology. 
Washington Government Printing Office 1902  
Recorded by James Mooney (1861-1921) who was an American ethnographer
 living for several years among the Cherokee.

Plant Lore

Mysterious properties attach to the wood of a tree which has been struck by lightning, especially when the tree itself still lives, and such wood enters largely into the secret compounds of the conjurers. An ordinary person of the laity will not touch it, for fear of cracks come upon his hands and feet, nor is it burned for fuel, for fear that lye made from the ashes will cause consumption. 

In preparing ballplayers for the contest, the medicine-man sometimes burns splinters of it to coal, which he gives to the players to paint themselves with it so that they may be able to strike their opponents with all the force of a thunderbolt. 

Bark or wood from a tree struck by lightning, but still green, is beaten up and put into the water in which seeds are soaked before planting, to insure a good crop, but, on the other hand, any lightning-struck wood thrown into the field will cause the crop to wither, and it is believed to have a bad effect even to go into the field immediately after having been near such a tree.