Archa, known as juniper, is an amazing plant. In ancient times, the Kazakhs called Archa “the tree of life.” The Kazakhs extracted tar and essential oil from Archa branches, and with the smoky branches of this plant living rooms, sanctuaries and stables were smoked to drive away evil spirits (ritual “alastau” in translation – “exorcizm”) by casting magical spells. This ritual is known to many peoples, for example, the Eastern Slavs believed that burning juniper branches has a “purifying” effect on people: a strong spicy scent relaxes and calms. The Indians of America and the inhabitants of southern Siberia also practiced “fumigation” to cleanse themselves of black energy.Archa is used in almost all rituals of the indigenous people of the Altai Mountains. Even the harvest of the plant itself is subject to a set of rules: from the third day of the new moon to the full moon to perform a ritual at the place of cultivation; men, children are allowed from the age of 12, etc. Regardless of the culture of the archa, this is necessarily associated with shamanic acts.
Among European peoples, juniper was considered a strong protection during magical manipulations, carrying a piece of wood could protect against accidents, curses, the evil eye, attacks of wild animals and snakes. In Rome and Greece, juniper is a symbol of overcoming death and eternal life, which was associated with the ceremony of tying its branches the last way of the deceased and burns them at the funeral