Watercolour of Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly, Caterpillar and Chrysalis (Aglais urticae) and Nettle (Urtica dioica) by Katherine Plymley (1758 - 1929). Definition of the Nettle card from the Go Deeper oracle deck.
One of the oddest uses I have ever heard for Nettles, though, is this: In some places, people used to take bunches of Nettles and beat them against painful rheumatic joints. It's said that they got relief from this. Perhaps just a case of "if it doesn't kill you it might cure you!" but this picture has always stuck with me (I read about it back in the 1970s) and I think that knowing about it, I am less fearful of the Nettles' sting, and perhaps even find it less painful than many people do. I can only suppose that at least one reason this flogging helped was an effect known as counter-irritatation - which is how stuff like Deep Heat Rub works, as well. These things provide more than just a distraction from the original pain. It seems that by creating inflammation on the surface tissue, the inflammation in deeper layers is relieved somewhat. So as well as a maybe pleasant hot/cold sensation, a good counter irritant increases blood flow, removal of toxins and lots of other good stuff. I know that things like Tiger Balm and certain essential oils work for me, although I haven't tried the Nettle remedy yet!
Perhaps the question in a reading is - For what is all this a metaphor? How could creating a little discomfort in the short term, bring relief in the long term? Is there some way in which all this irritation is actually helping you get through a difficult time? Somewhere to focus your anger? A distraction? Even helping you to "clean out" emotionally?
So again, what's going on here that relates to your life? Is there something you need to nourish you, but the source seems too ugly, unfriendly or improbable to consider? I believe this to be one of the more obvious meanings of this card.
I have talked quite a bit about herbal medicine here. While I definitely don't consider drawing a card to be a herbal prescription, I never completely discount the possibility, either. If something resonates strongly with you on a physical level, you can always follow it up by either talking to a trained herbalist, or reading up and deciding whether self treatment with Nettles is for you. With that in mind, I am going to attach a link to an article about the vibrational uses of Nettle. More and more I'm coming to believe that often we don't need to be ingesting big hunks of a plant to get its benefits. I use Bach Remedies a lot and this is one thing that has really shown me the way with this. I'm not necessarily recommending the company whose website the article is on - I don't know anything about them - I just think that looking at things from the vibrational perspective might be useful, and this is a great article.
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