Sunday, July 22, 2012

Decorative handmade relief carved ceramic thistle tile

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4x10 relief carved, hand painted ceramic thistle tile

Thistles, as well as being a symbol of vitality, endurance, protection and strength of spirit are believed to be a very potent hex breaker.
Needing very little nutrients from the ground, thistles will grow in almost any soil, relying mostly on the sun and rain. A thistle in it's prime may stand three meters high, a meter wide and have up to forty thousand seeds which can lay dormant for over seven and up to twenty years before sprouting from just one of it's flowers. Often referred to as 'natures barbwire' thick stands of thistles can form an impassable barrier even for large grazers such as deer and elk. Though the thistle guards itself well, beneath it's formidable thorns it has many practical uses. Long ago it's recepticals ( the thickened top of the stem below the flower) were commonly eaten, much like artichokes. The seeds, a favorite food of finches, make good oil for cooking and burning. The flower heads are used in remedies to treat lung, kidney and liver problems as well as chronic headaches, memory loss, menopause, menstrual cramping, loss of appetite, indigestion, colds, fevers, infections, ulcers and some cancers. The Scottish thistle's botanical name 'Onopordum acanthium' means 'thorny donkey food' in ancient Greek and when milled the leaves do make a good fodder for livestock, in which way they were used to a large extent in ancient Scotland.  Though they take little from the soil, I still pull thistles from the garden, but am pleased to have them standing tall in the yard, their lovely blossoms attracting butterflies and bees. I'll be extra glad they're there should I have need of a good home remedy or something to break a hex.

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