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Photo; Auntie Mother Mary and My Mother Christina Mc Garvey

Ireland is also a country full of wise men and women, whose knowledge and deep understanding of life is not outwardly expressed, but whispered softly with the wind or included in some practical advice, remedy or cure. I was a child when I had my first encounter with one of the Learned Ones. The person in question was my aunt, carer and friend. Everyone called her Auntie Mother Mary.

Auntie Mother Mary was a small round woman with a big heart, hardworking hands, a full larder and a happy smile. When she married my father’s brother Bennie, she moved into his family home, known locally as ‘Dunmore House.’ It was the custom at the time and still is today in many parts of rural Ireland, for a young bride to leave her home on her wedding day and move in with the in-laws for better or worse. My aunt was no exception! When she married she went to live in a large, rambling, nineteenth century farmhouse which she shared with her husband Bennie, his sister Mary and his aunt Ellen. My parents, three brothers, two sisters and I stayed there so often that we believed it to be our home as well.

My aunt had no servants to help her and as a result she never stopped cleaning and cooking. All were welcome, given nourishment, support, encouragement and guidance. As children we were unaware of how difficult this must have been for her and instinctively we knew when Auntie Mother Mary was around, we were warm, our bellies were full and we felt safe.

I was ten when I first became aware of her special powers. On the day in question, I called out to my aunt to come and look at a baby bird which lay flapping its tiny wings at my feet. When my aunt saw the tiny bird, she eased her big frame slowly down beside it and gently encased it in her heavily lined worn palms. ‘This little mite is just like you and I’ she said, ‘sometimes we fall out of the nest and we are lost. We feel frightened and do not know what to do.

Remember pet’ she said with great tenderness ‘ you will always find your way home, if you eat well, think clearly, and let go of fear’.

Some forty year later and I’m still trying to eat well, think clearly and let go of fear. There are times I do not succeed and I get lost.

I stumble and fall.

And, with Grace I start once more to find a way home.

I am documenting this journey in this blog which is my great pleasure and honor to share with you.

My trials, tribulations, excitement and joy is taking me far and wide. I am traveling inwards to examine my core values and beliefs and outwards to other countries to learn about theirs

In 2014 I traveled  to India and earlier this year I went to Vietnam and Cambodia.

I was overwhelmed a bit by Cambodia so I have decided to return to my aunt’s wisdom and share some of her cures with you. The first one is a Castor Oil Poultice for muscle pain

First she  Auntie Mother Mary  will get

  • Castor Oil-
  • Red flannel
  • Tin foil
  • Cling film
  • Large elastic bandage with safe/nappy pin
  • Towel – optional
  • Hot water bottle

Then she will

  • Pour Castor Oil over Red Flannel and heat on a plate over a pot of boiling water( Do not use microwave oven)
  • When red flannel, soaked in castor oil becomes hot place on tin foil( do not heat tin foil) and put over painful area
  • Cover tin foil with cling film and bandage into place
  • Place hot water bottle over bandage and strap into place with a towel. This keeps the poultice hot for longer
  • Leave poultice on for as long as possible, preferably overnight. Wear old supporting clothing to protect good clothing/sheets
  • You can reuse poultice several times

Note to self

Try it trust me it works


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