Below is a list of words and the stipulative definitions as used on this site. As new ones come up we’ll try to keep it updated, but there might be some delay every so often, and we apologize for any inconvenience this causes.

Agriculture– A generalized form of cultivation that is characterized by monocropping

Animism – A belief commonly associated with shamanism that holds all things as possessing life.

Anti-fungal Herbal action.  Destroys or inhibits the growth of fungi such as Athletes Foot

Anti-inflammatory – Herbal action. Reduces inflammation

Antioxidant – Herbal action.  A substance thought to protect body cells from the damaging effects of oxidation.

Anti-parasitic  – Herbal action.  Destroys or inhibits the growth and reproduction of parasites such as scabies

Antiseptic – Herbal action. Prevents the growth of microorganisms on living tissue and prevents decay.

Astringent – Herbal action. Tightens mucous membranes and skin

Clan– A group of communities with a shared “ancestor” community (i.e. when a community becomes sufficiently large to split into two smaller communities, those communities are considered a clan)

Civilization – Any culture characterized by growth, large numbers of people, and agriculture.

Collapse – The state after a civilization has crashed

Crash – The process by which a civilization is reduced

Cultivation – Encouraging the growth of favored foods

Culture – A group of people that share a common language, religion, way of life, and beliefs about the world

Community– A group of people living together in a self-sufficient, sustainable society

Demulcent – Herbal action. Coats, soothes, and protects body surface, such as the mucous membranes

Diuretic – Herbal action. Increases the excretion of urine.

Forager – A way of obtaining food that is not encouraged by human action

Guild – A group of people from a variety of communities who share a similar profession and choose to work together to provide training, share information, and maintain knowledge

Hierarchy – A method of organizing people and groups of people in which some people or groups of people have authority over the actions of other people or groups of people

Horticulture– A general term referring to methods of cultivation that do not involve monocropping

Meme – An infectious idea, concept, or belief

Mythology – The stories and living history of a culture that they pass down to the younger generation

Permaculture – A form of horticulture concentrating on purposefully creating an ecosystem relying on established knowledge of inter-plant relationships

Religion – A system of beliefs that deal with the non-material

Rhizome – A network of people or groups of people that are equally connected to one another

Shamanism – A general catch-all term for the beliefs of indigenous peoples that often deal with using an altered state of consciousness as a main aspect of religious ritual

Tribe – A group of people that support and work together to maintain themselves and their quality of life



  1. November 13, 2006 at 6:54 pm

    […] Comfrey has been used in the past to treat bronchitis, stomach ulcers, broken bones or sprains, acne, fungal skin infections, aching joints, and rashes. It’s key properties are demulcent, astringent, anti-inflammatory, and it is also transdermal (able to go through the skin). It has the ability to heal bruises, sprains, fractures, and broken bones very quickly. If you were to apply a comfrey compress (cloth soaked in a diluted tincture wrapped around the injury) immediately to a sprain or a broken bone, the healing time, as well as the severity of your injury, would be reduced significantly. […]

  2. Ms. Zot Lynn Szurgot said,

    February 3, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    The subjects y’all address, and the vocabulary chosen for definitions, tell me i’m home at this page, i am where i’m glad to be. Thanks. i do see value in using words in idiosyncratic ways to highlight fresh ways of seeing, and to break up the hegemony of language habits. i support your right to treat words as your servants in exactly the way Humpty Dumpty did: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean–neither more nor less…The question is, which is to be master–that’s all…When I make a word do a lot of work like that, I always pay it extra.” Of course, even with extra pay, the word may not convey your chosen meaning to a given reader. i like how your definition of ‘forager’ embraces dumpster diving. i will try to keep parsed your definitions for the purpose of discussion here, and pardon me while i mention here a few distinctions that will be troublesome for me.

    Lack of homage to the living organismal rhizomes for which human organizational rhizomes are named is ungrateful, but i can cope. Shamanism is hard enough to define without my saying that it would be helpful to forefront the idea that non-human subjects matter and are acknowledged as alive, and that ‘altered’ is an unhelpfully loaded term (what consciousness is ‘unaltered’? is there some presumed ‘normal’ that is valid cross-culturally?). Animism could be defined here, as a useful addition.

    In your usage of ‘clan’, a tribe cannot be made up of clans, nor can it contain one or more clans. i had thought of a clan as an extended family, a unit smaller than the unit named tribe. i had thought of tribal populations as tending toward Dunbar’s number, and i had thought of clans as tending towards a few dozen, and always more tightly connected genetically than entire tribes. Do others use ‘clan’ as y’all do, or as i’d thought of it? Was my thinking dissonant with most English use, or is your definition?

    Can a ‘culture’ be said to always be the people themselves? Is a ‘culture’ never a sort of object shared by the people, and never a context or envelope that they find themselves in, that is, a noun rather than a mere adjective modifying the noun ‘group of people’? Also, subcultures within the overculture do not share the listed things in common (not surprising for detribalized heterogeneity forced together by empire), so the overculture (Jensen’s ‘civilization’, Eisler’s ‘dominators’, Quinn’s ‘Takers’) does not qualify as a culture by your definition. What then are we to call it?

    agriculture, horticulture, and permaculture. i thought agriculture meant animal and plant cultivation, both sustainable and unsustainable (that’s what the word means to the large University near here), that is, slavery of animals and plants, and that many tribes practiced forms of agriculture before contact/conquest. i thought horticulture meant plant husbandry, that is, slavery of plants, both sustainable varieties and unsustainable. Whether i thought rightly or wrongly, i will have a hard time reading your announced uses properly, and i find myself wondering if i will be alone in that. Is horticulture defined by using plants, or by belief in sustainability? Most in agribusiness really do believe their method of cultivation to be sustainable, as unimaginable as we may find that; therefore you define their practices as horticulture, since your definition does not delineate “believed by whom?”. Permaculture is a pretty clearly defined word because its coinage was recent and traceable, and common use is limited and consistent with its coinage, but if we agree to define it by reference to horticulture, any ambiguity or private usage of the term ‘horticulture’ makes ‘permaculture’ become questionable.

    i see the need to shorthand ‘sustainable’ and ‘unsustainable’, but i think forcing ‘agriculture’ and ‘horticulture’ to become those shorthand handles stretches them too far from their common uses. Better to coin neologisms.

    Thank you for providing this resource and a good start on definitions!
    mzz zotlynn

  3. Aftermath said,

    February 5, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    I haven’t updated this in a while, and I went a head and did so. In retrospect, I did see a logical ambiguity in the terms horticulture and permaculture that was unnecessary.

    Agriculture is often used as a catch-all term for any form of growing food, making the term intrinsically worthless. We already have a term for that: cultivation. Agriculture uses cultivation as a root word, which substantially establishes Agriculture as a subset of cultivation. So, using agriculture to mean cultivation, while a common practice, is worthless. Agriculture more precisely refers to monocropping, which is never sustainable over the mid or long term. Those who claim otherwise have not included all variables into their analysis, whether purposefully or not.

    A culture is a group of people. A noun. Specifically, “culture” is a kind of group of people. “Civilization,” and its emotional-charged synonyms, is not a culture. The word civilization represents a higher level of abstraction that ecomposses types of cultures. Typically, civilization refers to the kinds of cultures that have cities, defined as a settlement of more than five thousand people.

    The use of word clan has been changed, but don’t worry about it. The usage of the word Clan, Guild, and others is very specific to a thought experiment I’m running and should not be generalized. Once the experiment is completed I’ll write a very lengthy article on it.

    Shamanism is any set of beliefs that calls for a shaman. A shaman contacts the spirit world in an altered state of conscienceness. The details of what constitutes an “altered state” has been established by psychologists. It basically just means that your brain is no longer processing data in the “normal” way.

    As far as plant rhizomes…well, I’m not a botonist. My interest in rhizome is purely social.

    -Benjamin Shender

  4. glenn said,

    February 11, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Saw your post, understand your position, just thought I could add a perspective that might be worthy of breif reflection.

    A Clan- From the Gaelic, translates into English as Family. Historically denotes an extended, often large group that frequently shares common ancestory, but this can be quite extended and sometimes includes people outside the genetic “family” but that live together as family and cares for eachother as such.

    Shamanism- You said “Shamanism is any set of beliefs that calls for a shaman. A shaman contacts the spirit world in an altered state of conscienceness. The details of what constitutes an “altered state” has been established by psychologists. It basically just means that your brain is no longer processing data in the ‘normal’ way.”

    Shaman is a term from the people of Siberia (Tunguska. sp?) and it loosely translates to guy (or gal) who knows stuff. More literally it is “know man”. Many other first cultures don’t like the term Shaman being used as a general descriptor because it is culture specific. To suggest that all the first cultures are so hemogonus as to all have “shamans” who all do the same thing is not only incorrect but annoying to their cultural pride. (and I would say, rightly so) Only we poor ignorant westerners (not ever one of us is white, it’s more of an attitude really) feel the need to ignore the vast differnces between cultures and lump it all together under the term “shaman”.

    I will not argue about an “altered state” being employed, except to say that, if you’ve been there then you know it is really just using the other three quarters of your mind that our culture dosen’t like to use or even recognise. Those being, the artistic brain, the animal mind and the spirit mind.(my terms)

    However, I must take issue with the idea that “Shamanism” is “any set of beliefs that calls for a shaman”. Sorry, you got it backwards. First comes the spirit world and “they” bonk one of us poor saps on the head. If were smart, or at least trainable, we learn from the experience. We start to do things most would think a little werid (talking to flower, rocks, trees, mountains, rivers, “ourselves”, etc…), and this weridness is what passes for a “set of beliefs”. If the weridness is helpful to the community (i.e. tells you where to find food, helps you know which plants heal, helps ease the passing of the soon to be dead, gives warning and helps everyone avoid danger…) then the weridness is often embraced and that person might be chosen to act as the peoples “Shaman”. It is important to note that every “shaman” is different and unique, there is not set of beliefs nor is a “shaman” called for by such. The only thing there is, is perhaps a common metaphoric/sybolic language that develops between individuals and over time. Frequently, but not always, this is the formation of so called “Mythology”, though sometimes mythology is also absolute fact/history, and sometimes it’s just the really good story that Grog told one night and everyone loved so much.

    I don’t know how you might wish to use the world “shaman” or even how you evision one, but I would suggest that the working conotation would be acurate if it was described as “the kinda strange man or women who helps us out and cares for the people, and is often heard mumbling to ‘themselves'”. Not perfect, but closer to the truth.

    (No I’m not a ‘shaman’ as the people have not chosen me to help them, I’m just a werid guy who mumbles to “himself”. First, the spirits choose, then the people recognize, then your a “shaman”.)


  5. Aftermath said,

    February 12, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    The proceeding is why I made up a stipulative definition of shamanism. Depending on who you ask the word is either meaningless or very important. And that meaning may or may not be the same, similar, or even in the same ballpark. But, since the word can be hard to avoid, I added a stipulative definition. A stipulative definition is the definition used for the purpose of an argument or other paper. It is NOT a general definition, nor is it meant to be one. It is a definition assigned to a word for the purpose of an argument to avoid confusion based on disagreeing on definitions. This generally means the definition is not open to debate. The topic is, but the topic is framed in terms of the established stipulative definition.

    -Benjamin Shender

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  8. danielweltch said,

    February 27, 2008 at 9:32 am

    I just know Meme (my sister’s name) definition. Thx

  9. April 13, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Astringent – Herbal action. Tightens mucous membranes and skin
    This’s what i’m looking for. thank

  10. schoooler said,

    January 19, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Hi, i’m schoooler

    I’m new to the forum and just saying hello.

  11. osobo said,

    February 18, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Новый способ давления на кандидата на пост Главы г. Химки

    Новый способ “наказать” тех, кто посмел участвовать в выборной кампании не на стороне действующей власти изобрели правоохранительные органы г.о. Химки.
    Руководствуясь не нормой закона, а чьей-то “волей” сотрудники милиции решили “проверить” все фирмы, внесшие денежные средства в избирательный фонд неудобных кандидатов.
    Начались “проверки” с телефонных звонков – где директор, сколько человек работает на фирме. После чего последовали “письма счастья” с просьбой предоставить всю бухгалтерскую документацию, учредительные документы фирмы, и даже, план экспликации БТИ.
    Такие запросы химкинским фирмам рассылает 1 отдел Оперативно-розыскной части № 9 Управления по налоговым преступлениям ГУВД Московской области за подписью начальника подполковника милиции Д.В. Языкова.
    И всё это в то время, когда Президент дал прямое указание правоохранительным органам о прекращении всех незаконных проверок малого и среднего бизнеса. С это целью внесены изменения в Федеральный закон “О милиции” – из статьи 11 этого закона исключены пункты 25 и 35, на основании которых ранее правоохранительные органы имели право проверять финансово-хозяйственную деятельность предприятий.
    Видно, об изменениях действующего законодательства местные правоохранительные органы не уведомлены. И не смотрят телепередачи с выступлениями Президента.
    Может быть, эта публикация подвигнет их к исполнению указаний Президента, а также к изучению и соблюдению действующего законодательства

  12. Annaingrama said,

    February 8, 2013 at 7:27 am


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