From the Wortcunner’s Cabinet, Butchers Broom

By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Instagram: @thewandcarver

In the 17th century, the English herbalist Nicholas Culpepper used Butcher’s Broom to help the healing of fractured bones. And it has been used in medicine ever since for a variety of reasons, one most important reason is as an anti-inflammatory drug. Butcher’s Broom is a shrub naturalised to England/UK, growing wild all over Europe and northern Asia and found growing happily wherever there is sandy soil. It is found natively in the Mediterranean, Iran, the Azores islands and parts of Africa. And now, Box Holly has become sparsely naturalised in North America, wherever there is sandy soil, I am sure. But I am here to dig up some magick on the fabulous Butcher’s Broom [box holly].

Butchers Broom
photo from artimondo.co.uk

Magickal:
Butchers Broom – or my favourite, Knee-Holly, is used in protection charms. You may use it in any way you like. I find using the woodiest part in making protection incense may not be to everybody’s olfactory preference but the smoke calms one and it calms the animals in your home. The incense is also extremely good whilst divining by tarot, runes, pendulum, or any other forms of divination as it helps you to access your psychic powers as well as helps you stay calm and focused. The dried leaves are good to use in poppets, witch bottles, and sachets for protection as well as drawing healing and psychic powers to you.

To raise the wind: Take a small handful of Butchers Broom twigs and toss them into the air.

To calm the wind: Burn a small handful of twigs and scatter the ashes into the wind.

Remember – intent is everything in magick.

To Banish: Make a small altar besom from Butchers Broom. Write on a piece of paper what it is you want to banish from your life that you feel is holding you back. Burn small twigs of Butchers Broom in a cauldron along with your piece of paper until ash. Use your Butchers Broom besom to stir the ashes anti-clockwise whilst thinking of how this problem will leave you in peace. Naturally, make sure the ashes are cold first! Then, go outside and face North, get a few ashes on the “broom” part of the besom and blow them off, then East, etc. You can add your own words to this by saying something after each turn that will tell the Universe what your intentions are or just think them. If any ash is left afterwards, simply tip it out on the ground and give it a stamp with your foot imagining yourself free of your hindrance. So mote it be!

Butchers Broom dried
My dried Butcher’s Broom ~ photo by i.macy

Medicinal:
Not throwing caution to the wind [pun intended] but I shall say now: If you have high blood pressure, do NOT use Butcher’s Broom in healing yourself or others unless by sympathetic healing. Do not ingest.

In addition, it’s possible that butcher’s broom may interact with blood pressure medications and stimulant medications. So, if you’re taking either of these, you should probably avoid butcher’s broom.

From Culpeper’s Complete Herbal and English Physician, by Nicholas Culpepper:

For the Wrist Drop, and for the maw or belly, take two cups full of the ooze of this wort, which is named victoriola, and by another name, Knee Holly; administer it [to the patient] to drink fasting mixed with honey; soon it diminishes the wrist drop.

Additionally, English herbalist Nicholas Culpepper prescribed butcher’s broom to heal fractured bones, taken both orally and made into a poultice over the break. I should think we have come a long way since Mr Culpepper wrote this in his Complete Herbal, which by the way, is as useful today as ever, back in the 17th century.

Butcher’s broom is used for haemorrhoids, gallstones, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), and for symptoms of poor blood circulation such as pain, heaviness, leg cramps, leg swelling, varicose veins, itching, and swelling. Butcher’s broom is also used as a laxative, as a diuretic to increase urine output, reduce swelling, and speed the healing of fractures. The root is the main part used in healing, however, the leaves and woody stems are also boiled into tinctures, teas, and poultices for external use.

Today, Butcher’s Broom is known most widely for the way it benefits the circulatory system, especially for those with orthostatic hypotension (a drop in blood pressure when going from sitting to standing) and chronic venous insufficiency.

In some cultures, the roots are eaten in much the same way as asparagus.

There are several ways to get the benefits of Butcher’s Broom. Many people take it in supplement form, which can be found in pills, oils, and creams. As mentioned earlier, some people eat Butcher’s Broom roots like they would asparagus, although it smells and tastes much more pungent and bitter than asparagus.

Correspondences:

Gender:  Masculine

Planetary: Mars, Jupiter, and Mercury [primarily Mars]

Powers: Healing, Wind spells, Divination, Protection, Psychic Powers, Banishing

Element: Air and Fire

Astrological: Aries, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Pisces

Day: Tuesday and Thursday

Deity: Jupiter, Mars, Amon, Ares

Other Names: Box Holly, Sweet Broom, Knee-Holm, Petti-gree, Victoriola, Euscus, Knee-Holly, Kneehulver, Bruscus

Many thanks for taking the time to read our blog! We hope you’ve enjoyed it and hopefully learned new things. If so, please like our blog, give us a follow and share via the various buttons below. Warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:
Leechdoms, Wortcunning, and Starcraft of Early England, by Thomas Oswald Cockayne, 1857 ~ A collection of documents, for the most part never before printed, illustrating the Science of this country before the Norman conquest

The Old English Herbals, by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde

Culpeper’s Complete Herbal and English Physician, by Nicholas Culpepper – reprint 1987 from 17th century

Wikipedia.org

Experience

Crystal of the Week, Red Jasper

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Once upon a time, Red Jasper was an expensive stone because it was so sought-after. It is a stone of great antiquity, having been named in the Bible and was the first stone in the breastplate of Aaron, the High Priest. Red Jasper was called the blood of Mother Earth by Native American tribes and was used to stimulate health and re-birth, innovative ideas and strategies, and increase one’s sensitivity to the earth when dowsing for water or calling in rain. Jasper is an opaque variety of Chalcedony, and is usually associated with brown, yellow, or reddish colours, but may be used to describe other opaque colours of Chalcedony such as dark or mottled green, orange, and black. Jasper is almost always multi-coloured, with unique colour patterns and habits. A very special stone which seems to have fallen from grace with too many people these days! A favourite crystals shop of mine says they can’t give them away it seems. And I have literally witnessed punters pick one up, put it back, and move on to fancier crystals and stones. They don’t know what’s good for them, I say.

red jasper
Red Jasper ~ photo by i.macy

We must wait for the magick because the real magick occurs in the birth of Jasper. Jasper is typically found in veins and cracks in volcanic rocks, often together with chalcedony and agate. No geodes filled with Jasper that resemble agate geodes have ever been found, so the formation of Jasper seems to be restricted to veins and cracks percolated by aqueous solutions. Veins of jasper occasionally occur in igneous rocks [for example, red and yellow Jasper in granite in the Erzgebirge, Saxony, Germany]. The cracks filled out by Jasper often form during tectonic activity. These movements go on for a long time; the cracks will reopen again, the Jasper will be shattered, and the voids in between will be filled with more Jasper. This leads to the formation of brecciated Jasper, a rock that has – often repeatedly – been shattered, and is made of Jasper, and sometimes chalcedony and microcrystalline quartz of assorted colours. The image shows a tumbled specimen of unknown origin. Its deep red colour is caused by embedded haematite and you may be able to make out the black haematite streak in the Jasper pictured in my hand. You can also make out the huge quartz inclusion in the larger stone.

Hopefully, this explanation is enough to let you know how wonderfully made red Jasper, nee all Jaspers, are and why they deserve our reverence as much today as they did so many centuries ago.

Magickal:
Wear or carry Red Jasper to alleviate stress and reconnect with Earth’s grounding energies. Its cleansing effect eliminates negativity, returning it to its source, and stabilising the aura. It is an ideal worry or rubbing stone for soothing the nerves and restoring balance.

Red Jasper is marvellous for clearing the mind during meditation, prayer or contemplation. Its high spiritual energy increases focus and endurance during long ceremonies or practises and is helpful in establishing new spiritual disciplines. It is an excellent stone for shamanic journeying and astral travel and provides vivid dream recall.

A valuable stone of protection, Red Jasper guards against physical threats and assists in situations of danger. Keep in the car to prevent accidents, theft or road rage, and place in the home or office to absorb electromagnetic and environmental pollution and radiation. Wear two or three items of Red Jasper jewellery or a pouch of three small tumble stones to shield against psychic attack or when working with spirit rescue, potentially violent or psychologically disturbed individuals.

Red Jasper is a stone of passion and a token of all who consummate love. It encourages control in all things, and thus calms sexual aggressiveness, promotes sexual compatibility, and enhances tantric sex. It may assist women in overcoming a jealous love rival or unfair opposition to a relationship.

Red Jasper also stimulates passion in one’s creative work, manifesting innovative ideas and freshness, and the energy to continue a project even after the initial excitement has dwindled. Its energy brings focus and self-mastery. Red Jasper is the crystal of actors, actresses and all connected with expressive and performing arts in becoming more sensitive to their audiences.

Red Jasper may be used as a professional support stone for all jobs requiring physical strength and stamina, from police officers to trades workers, waitresses and waiters, and other high activity professionals. It also brings energy, alertness and emotional endurance to accountants, computer operators, military personnel and all who must continuously be focused and on task.

In Divination:
Known as “the rain bringer,” Jasper has been revered since ancient and medieval times as a divining stone of “tempestaries,” magical masters of the wind and rain, called upon in secret to save harvests in periods of drought, or to save ships from violent storms. Green and Brown Jaspers were considered the most powerful for this purpose. Red Jasper was also used by the Native Americans for dowsing the land for water and was especially helpful in increasing the searcher’s sensitivity to the Earth.

Jasper has also been utilised for divining the future. Red and Picture Jasper are especially conducive for dream work and visioning, and it is an excellent scrying and dowsing pendulum stone.

The Divinatory meaning of Red Jasper: Be tough but kind with someone close who acts helpless and drains you of money or energy with constant demands.

Dreaming of Jasper signifies love returned.

Healing:
Red Jasper helps with the sense of smell. It also promotes physical energy. Red jasper is thought to help balance the energy in the body. Red Jasper helps regulate the metabolic energies of the body, providing strength and vitality, and increasing physical stamina. It is particularly beneficial for those needing extra support during prolonged illness, injury or hospitalisation. Because of its ability to help generate muscle tissue, it may be useful in weight lifting and bodybuilding, and to enhance the effects of exercise.

Red Jasper is thought to support the circulatory system, detoxifying the blood and removing blockages of the liver and bile ducts. It strengthens the heart and enhances circulation, and may be useful in treating anaemia, exhaustion, and heart conditions, including recovery of bypass or transplant surgeries.

Correspondences:
Zodiac: Scorpio, Sagittarius
Element: Fire, Earth
Chakra: Base/Root
Deity: Cerridwen, Isis, Bona Dea, Chirakan-Ixmucane, Callisto, Clota
Planet: Mercury, Saturn, Venus
Energies: Grounding, Protection, Healing

Many thanks for reading and if you enjoyed this blog, feel free to share using the convenient buttons below. Warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:
Cassandra Eason, The New Crystal Bible, London: Carlton Books Ltd., 2010
Judy Hall, The Crystal Bible, 2003
Judy Hall, The Crystal Bible 2, 2009
Judy Hall, The Crystal Bible 3, 2013
Judy Hall, The Encyclopaedia of Crystals, 2013
Judy Hall, Crystals to Empower You, 2013
Judy Hall, 101 Power Crystals, 2011
Wikipedia.org
Experience

From the Wortcunner’s Cabinet, Mullein

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Another fabulous wort you can use for free if you’re a mind to go wild-crafting is the wonderful Mullein. Yes, I know, any herb can be wild-crafted if you know what you’re looking for and if it is in somewhat plentiful supply where you live, but not all plants are. Mullein is easily found in Asia, Europe, and is a naturalised citizen of the United States when it was brought…as many plants and trees were…over on the ships of the early European and British settlers. Do be certain to ask permission if you find Mullein growing all around in your neighbour’s lawn…as it is a weed, after all, he or she may not mind, but don’t go helping yourself unless they say it’s alright.

photo by Sihiri Magical Market ~ sihiri.co.uk

Mullein has a very shallow root therefore it will be easy to pull out of the ground. Tie up by the roots and hang in a cool, dry place to let it dry out appropriately, but place something underneath to catch the seeds. Either use them or dispose of them properly or you’ll find your lawn overrun with Mullein in time should they get swept outdoors. The little fuzzy hairs which cover every inch of a Mullein plant are very irritating to the skin and mucus membranes. Use care when collecting, and always strain liquids with Mullein in them very well to remove the little hairs before ingesting.

Growing Mullein is easy enough and its little yellow flowers attract butterflies and bees. The flowers can also be boiled to make a bright yellow dye for fabrics. If you add sulfuric acid, it will turn the dye green and if you add an alkali it will turn the dye brown.

Mullein can be used in candle crafting as well. You can use it as the wick! According to Indian lore [I am assuming this is regarding Native Americans] Burning a stalk of Mullein protects against evil and magic.

Magickal Uses:
Whereas a spell calls for graveyard dirt and you are not able to procure dirt from a graveyard by any reason, you can grind and powder Mullein as an excellent substitute. Despite the many folk names for Mullein, it is, in magick, known as Hecate’s Torch or Lucifer’s Torch, as well; it is representational of the Crossroads. It is one of the nine herbs and resins we use in our Necromancer’s Witch Bottle Necklace which I originally created to use in my travels as a hedgewitch, because of its encouragement of manifestations of spirits, to see into Otherworld, and likewise commune with those who dwell there. If you like to create your own candles for your spell work, you could truly enhance riding the hedge by creating a candle using either a stalk or the leaf of Mullein as the wick.

Mullein can also be used for prophetic dreaming and astral travel whilst asleep, drink a cup of “Dreamer’s Tea” before going to sleep which is 2 parts Mullein flowers, 1-part Poppy flower, 1-part Mugwort, and 2 parts Spearmint. To aid divination by tarot, runes, ogham, or pendulum, you can either drink the Dreamer’s Tea or you may use a loose incense with Mullein. We have been working on a Necromancer’s incense blend recently which we’ll sell in our shop soon.

Mullein is also useful in preventing nightmares and is always protective of the dreamer. I love a sachet of Mullein and Lavender under my pillow for such a purpose. I don’t think I have nightmares, as such, but there are the odd nights when I have dreams that are not prophetic, nor astral travel-related…they are just unpleasant things that must be coming from my subconscious for some peculiar reason or other. I find the sachet quite relaxing and protective on those nights.

Medicinal Use:
Mullein is an excellent colds and coughs medicine as it loosens phlegm, is an expectorant whilst soothing the cough at the same time. The tea is also mildly sedating which helps you to relax and rest – which is one of the main things needed when you have a bad cold. If you are using fresh Mullein, be sure to strain through a cloth or cloth bag before drinking so the tiny hairs won’t go into your tea. Not to advocate smoking, but…I have read many times that smoking Mullein is excellent for sufferers of asthma and chronic cough. It’s best to roll it using a cigarette machine so you can use the filtered paper. Once again, you don’t want the tiny hairs getting into your throat and lungs making things worse. For earache or any inner ear troubles, it is recommended to make a tincture of Mullein and garlic then use a few drops in each ear. It can also be used to treat ear mites in animals. Make an infusion of Mullein for treating frostbite and burns.

Correspondences:
Planet: Mercury [Agrippa] or Saturn [Culpepper]
Gender: Feminine
Deity: Jupiter, Hecate, Lucifer
Element: Fire
Other Names: Common Mullein, Great Mullein, White Mullein, Woolly Mullein, Torches, Mullein Dock, Our Lady’s Flannel, Velvet Dock, Blanket Herb, Velvet Plant, Woolen Rag, Woolen, Rag Paper, Candlewick Plant, Wild Ice Leaf, Clown’s Lungwort, Bullocks Lungwort, Aaron’s Rod, Adam’s Rod, Jupiter’s Staff, Jacob’s Staff, Peter’s Staff, Shepherd’s Staff, Shepherd’s Clubs, Beggar’s Stalk, Golden Rod, Adam’s Flannel, Beggar’s Blanket, Clot, Cuddy’s Lungs, Duffle, Feltwort, Fluffweed, Hare’s Beard, Old Man’s Flannel, Flannel Flower, Beggar’s Flannel, Hag’s Taper, Hedge Taper, King’s Taper, Candelaria, Quaker Rouge, Graveyard Dirt, Devil’s Tobacco, Miner’s Candle, Ice Leaf, White Man’s Footsteps, Witches Candles, Witches Taper

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this blog and find it useful, please share it on Facebook, Pinterest, or by any of the useful buttons below. It’s my pleasure to share this with you! Warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:
Witchipedia.org
Experience
The Old English Herbals, By Eleanour Sinclair Rohde

From the Wortcunner’s Cabinet, Nettle

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Nettle at Clerk Hill, Whaley, Lancashire ~ photo by wildflowerfinder.org,uk

Nettle is one of those “weeds”/herbs/worts which almost everybody has in their cabinet, I believe. Even the non-witchy community love Nettle tea for what ails them. And, like Yarrow, it is practically free to use if you live in Europe or the Western United States as it tends to grow quite wild if not maintained.  For those knowing their plants, wild-gathering is the optimal way of having most of what you need in your wort cabinet. For the rest, there are plentiful ways of buying Nettle…dried, fresh, freeze-dried, even in pill and liquid form. Why do we need Nettle in our lives? For everything!

Nettle is full of vitamin C and iron. It makes a fabulous soup stock and steamed Nettle leaves are a great little side for the main course of your meal. Of course, there is always the famed Nettle tea, so as you can see, it has many uses in the kitchen, and more that I don’t even know about, I’m sure. Of course, before you decide to make a Nettle salad, you must know about the plant a little because those leaves, if not properly prepared, can do more harm than good. You have heard of Stinging Nettle, I am sure, and that is where the “sting” comes from – the leaves. The leaves and stems are covered with tiny stingers made of silica, like glass, and they break off into your skin when touched, unleashing their chemicals which can cause a nasty allergic reaction. I have not forgotten my first run-in with Nettle at about the age of 4 as Nana gathered it for her kitchen. I must have not noticed that she had thick, heavy gloves on instead of the little woolly ones like mine, so I tried to help. Pulling those little woolly gloves off doubled the agony, believe me. Therefore, please only use thick, heavy gloves and cover yourself well whilst wild-gathering Nettle.

Another household use, if you are so inclined, is to spin yarn or thread from the inner fibres of the stems. I know nothing of spinning yarn and thread apart from what I may have seen in films and television, but apparently, the people of Denmark once used it to create burial shrouds and the Native American people used it for fishing nets. It is said to be a very soft fabric when woven and a very strong thread or rope when used singularly. The all-round usefulness of Nettle doesn’t end there – a green dye can be made from its leaves and stems to dye the fabric you create from the Nettle itself.

But what about Magick?? Oh, alright 😊

Magickal Uses:
Long ago, a bundle of Nettle were placed under a person’s sickbed to induce their good health and healing. People believed putting things under beds was somehow a good thing to do, such as laying a knife under the bed of a woman in labour to reduce her pain. I know the knife didn’t work for me, but I could not say about the bundle of Nettle under one’s bed. Would never hurt to try! You can return to sender or reverse a curse with Nettle by using it in a poppet. Carry a sachet filled with Nettle for protection. Hang Nettle around your home or sprinkle it around, if in dried form, to ward off evil and to give general home protection. As Nettle is also believed to ward off lightning strikes, this can also be beneficial in that aspect. Nettle is always my first go-to for protection use and it is the first herb I put into our Protection witch bottles.

Medicinal:
Because of Nettle’s considerable amounts of iron, it is a good wort for those with anaemia. Word of caution: If you are going to drink Nettle tea to discourage your iron deficiency, be sure to not continue taking iron tablets. Too much iron can cause more problems than deficiency can. It is best to use the fresh leaves and not the dried herb, although there are still health benefits to the dried herb. Fresh is always best. Nettle tea is also an excellent diuretic.

Nettle is another wort that is very useful to staunch the flow of blood from a wound, much like Yarrow. As a matter of fact, Nettle and Yarrow seem to go hand-in-hand in many concoctions and decoctions for health and magickal purposes. Topically, a poultice of nettle leaf can be used to soothe the heat and inflammation associated with burns.

Correspondences:
Gender: Masculine
Planet: Mars
Zodiac: Scorpio
Element: Fire
Powers: Consecration, Exorcism, Healing, Lust, Protection, Anti-Sorcery, Hex Breaking, Uncrossing
Other Names: Stinging Nettle, Sting Weed, Common Nettle
Deity: Apollo, Freya, Hecate, Ra, Thor

Many thanks for reading, please share if you enjoyed, and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:
http://www.witchipedia.com/herb:stinging-nettle
Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs, by Scott Cunningham
The Old English Herbals, by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde
Experience

Crystal of the Week, Desert Rose

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Desert Rose
My Desert Rose ~ photo by i.macy

The Desert Rose is also referred to as the Sand Rose, Selenite Rose or Gypsum Rose. Found in dry, desert regions, Desert Rose Selenite is named for Selene, Greek goddess of the Moon because of its moon-like glow. Exchanged between lovers, it will bring about reconciliation.

Some minerals form rosette shapes, and Selenite is one of these. The Selenite rose rock or “The Desert Rose” is often confused with the Barite rose. The edges of Selenite rose are sharper and the crystalline structure is less hard than the Barite rose.

Some Desert Rose metaphysical properties are mental clarity, increased awareness of self and environment; allows one to see inner truth, promotes success in business, helps one to access angelic guidance, quickly unblocks stagnant energy, instils a deep peace, and assists in accessing past lives. Because each one is said to contain a unique spirit guardian, they have traditionally been used as talismans for protection.

And, for all the above reasons, Desert Rose is an excellent meditation stone. It will guide you in connecting to your higher self and reaching a deeper meditative state. This stone is a very strong activator of your third eye, and it will help bring your clairvoyant gifts to the fore. The energies of this stone will also strengthen your natural intuition. It is also believed that it can help you to speak with your Spirit Guardian, as all Spirit Guardians can speak amongst themselves, and the Desert Rose’s can help facilitate conversations with your own. I say this as I have found it to be a wonderful assistant whilst speaking with mine.

It makes a wonderful protection stone. Place a Desert Rose Selenite sphere at the corners of your home to create a peaceful, safe environment that will not be disturbed by outside influences.

Health and Healing:
Desert Rose is considered to be helpful in fighting off viral infections. However, if you believe you have the flu, please see your GP!

Desert Rose is also believed to help reduce seizures, help with psoriasis, strengthen bones, help one’s complexion, provide relief for backaches, ulcers, release one from unhealthy addictions, travel sickness, and aid in treatment of the prostate.

Family, Love, and Finances:
Children: It can be used to help children shine at something they are good at but have difficulty showing it due to shyness.
Finance & Prosperity: helps work against redundancy, and thus should be used in work environments prone to tension or redundancy situations.
Home: It is a stone of family unity and so should be placed in your house. It will also help bring out your inner potential.
Love: strengthens relationships by encouraging friendships between lovers, enhances warmth and closeness between you and your loved one, helps unleash inhibitions and creates a positive mental attitude.
Ritual: Desert rose will amplify any fire magick.

Correspondences:
Associated Crystals: Banded agate and petrified wood.
Candle Colour: Light brown.
Element: Fire and Wind
Flowers & Plants: Flowering cactus and oleander.
Herbs – Incenses – Oils: Copal, fennel, parsley, tarragon and witch hazel.
Planet: Pluto.
Zodiac: Scorpio, Capricorn, Taurus
Energies: Healing, Power, Love, Protection
Chakras: Heart, Third Eye, Crown
Number: 11

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:
Experience
The Crystals Bible, by Judy Hall
Encyclopaedia of Crystals: Revised and Expanded, by Judy Hall, 2013
https://meanings.crystalsandjewelry.com/desert-rose/

From the Wortcunner’s Cabinet, Yarrow

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Yarrow - permaculture co uk
white Yarrow ~ from permaculture.co.uk

Yarrow. Did you know, is a relative of the Daisy? And, it may not only be white, but it can also be pink or yellow. Its medicinal use is far-reaching into the past, but it is still a go-to herb for today. Yarrow is another wort with which I employ most often in my herbal work. What is most wonderful is that Yarrow can be one of the “cheapest” worts you’ll have in your cabinet as it grows wild all over the world, pretty much, and if you learn to identify it properly, you can harvest your own just by taking a walk in the countryside. However, you must be careful to take only what you need and not over-harvest, for plants need to be left to carry on propagation to ensure that more will be available to all. Not to mention, its flowers are essential to our bees – butterflies and wasps love it and all. Yarrow flowers from June to August, sometimes into October, in the UK. Harvest the leaves in Spring, the flowers from July – September when just opening. This from permaculture.co.uk may be useful to you in learning to identifying and harvesting herbs:

“New, affordable courses, designed for people wanting to deepen their understanding of wild plants, as well as sharpening their plant identification skills, are now available through my new foraging group http://www.meetup.com/Wild-food-and-medicine-Foraging-Apprentices

A number of bite-size foraging videos will give you a taster http://www.youtube.com/ipsophyto777”

For more from Christopher Hope visit www.wildplantguide.co.uk

pink Yarrow ~from JacksonNurseries.co.uk

Medicinal Use:
Yarrow has been called a pharmacy in one plant. It is an anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, diuretic, diaphoretic, astringent, expectorant, and vulnerary in one. It was used on battlefields to staunch the flow of blood from wounds received in battle, saving countless lives as both a cleaning astringent and an anti-septic keeping away the possibility of infection. Yarrow was found amongst other medicinal herbs in a Neanderthal burial site in Iraq, which dates from around 60,000 BC, therefore, it has been in aid of humanity for quite a number of years!

If fever did take hold, despite the precautions, Yarrow is a diaphoretic, and can reduce fever as well or better than today’s aspirin. It can reduce the pain of menstrual cramping, relieve heart palpitations, and acts as a diuretic as needed, as well as an expectorant for chest inflammation. Be careful to study the amount of Yarrow you may use for the illness you need to treat as even herbs can be over-used and cause more problems. Always check with your physician to make sure that it won’t counteract or increase the actions of pharmaceutical drugs you are already taking. If you are on blood thinners, please check with your GP.

**Please note: I am not a doctor, nor do I intend to treat anyone for any condition by writing about herbs. Please do use common sense and see a doctor before using these herbs and methods. If you are being treated holistically already, still speak to your doctor before adding any other herbal remedies to your regime.

Magickal Uses:

yellow Yarrow ~ from coblands.co.uk

Yarrow has been used for ceremonial magick for no telling how many centuries. Because of its healing effects, it was believed to be a very spiritual wort. Blood was the essence of life to people, and Yarrow could heal the loss of that essence. Naturally, it would be regarded as having much magick. People began carrying amulets and charms made with or carrying Yarrow to protect themselves against evil forces and negative energies. It has also been a go-to for love and the bringing of love into one’s life. And, it is one of the strongest promoters of courage out of all the herbal world. We love Yarrow… it fits in with so many of the things we create for our shop… when you buy a witch bottle necklace for love, protection, or courage, you will be pleased to know that Yarrow is used as one of the nine sacred herbs in each one.

For love: To guarantee love will last for seven years, hang dried Yarrow over the bed and use it in wedding decorations.

Wearing a little Yarrow in any form will help in seeking friends or a lover.

Yarrow will also help you to love yourself.

You can also use Yarrow in love spells by rolling your working candle in it, or using it in love poppets, or in a loose incense.

Psychic Abilities: Drink Yarrow tea before performing any kind of divination. Also, burn in loose incense whilst divining.

Courage: Hold or wear Yarrow in any form to dispel fear and feel stronger, more courageous. Can also be used in a sachet to carry with you.

Correspondences:
Planet: Venus
Deity: Achilles
Chakra: Crown
Powers: Love, Protection, Courage, Psychic Powers, Exorcism
Other Names: Milfoil, Soldier’s Woundwort, Knight’s Milfoil, Thousand Weed, Nose Bleed, Carpenter’s Weed, Staunchweed, Arrow-root, bloodwort, greenarrow, sneezewort, thousand-leaf, yallow

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings x

Sources:
https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/weeds/yarrow
https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/yarrow-and-its-medicinal-benefits
Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
The Old English Herbals by Eleanour Sinclaire Rohde

From the Wortcunner’s Cabinet: Vervain

Originally posted on 30/01/2018 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella  @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Having a laugh as I look through different sites regarding Vervain, the multi-functional herb which is used for everything from love to money to protection…and suddenly, I run across a website which says, in the list of metaphysical properties/powers of Vervain, that it “wards off vampires”. Tee hee. That wouldn’t be because in the American vampire love story series, Vampire Diaries, seemingly endless amounts of Vervain was drank, scattered about, worn, and probably bathed in to prevent vampire attacks…but in the end, it mattered not as the main character eventually chose to be a vampire, didn’t she?

Vervain is one of the herbs [worts] which I use in somewhat great abundance, as it happens, but never to ward off a vampire. Although it is good protection against snake bites…but not so much from people bites. And, certainly not in the great abundance with which it was consumed on Vampire Diaries. Still, should you purchase one of our witch bottle necklaces such as the Love Witch Bottle or the Prosperity Witch Bottle, you will have a pinch of Vervain in those.

vervain-indigo-herbs
Vervain photo from indigo-herbs.co.uk

Why is Vervain useful in a Love witch bottle …or for any kind of love empowerment or spell? Oh, let me count the ways! Firstly, Vervain is a Venus-ruled herb and a water element herb. It is sacred to Isis, the Goddess whom is considered to be the ultimate wife and mother. And, along those lines, as Isis is an Egyptian Goddess, in days of yore, the Egyptian people made love potions including Vervain…perhaps they still do, for all I know. It is a well-known, powerful herb for attracting love. But, did you know that it is also an excellent herb for helping those suffering from lost love and broken hearts? Burn it in an incense on a charcoal disc for helping overcome the pain of a break up, broken heart, and unrequited love. Vervain would make a thoughtful gift to anyone looking for love or trying to heal from loss of love this Valentine’s Day.

How is it that Vervain is so great for all matters of the heart and, at the same time, help draw prosperity and money into your life? Vervain is sacred to the Greek God, Jupiter. Jupiter is the God of the sky, but his planet is the one associated with money. According to the Seven Keys of Solomon, if you wish to do a money/wealth/prosperity spell it should be done on the day of Jupiter [Thursday] and in the hour of Jupiter [there are two in each day, one during day hours, one during night hours]. You can use Vervain, such as we do in a talisman, like our witch bottle, or you can burn it in an incense during your ritual. You can also use it in money candles if you are so inclined to make your own candles or you may roll a pre-made candle in a bed of loose Vervain after you have applied your candle dressing oil.

Vervain is also an excellent protection herb. Make an infusion with the fresh herb in water to use to wash and consecrate your tools and altar. Plant the wort around your property. You can use the Vervain-infused water in a spray bottle to spray your door sills to prevent negative energies and people from coming into your home. Wear it in a talisman around your neck or carry it in a pocket or pinned to a lapel to ward off negative energies around you. Make a sachet to place in a child’s cot to protect him or her and to ensure joy and intellect for the child. Albertus Magnus, in his Book of Secrets, offers a clue when he wrote that ‘infants bearing it [Vervain] shall be very apt to learn, and loving learning, and they shall be glad and joyous’. If you suspect psychic attack upon yourself or others, burn Vervain all around the person being attacked. Please do so carefully and responsibly.

Vervain is always its strongest when fresh cut at sunrise. Still, the dried herb itself is one of the strongest worts I’ve had the pleasure of using as well. It has the reputation of being able to greatly strengthen the effects of any other herbs it is used with. Because of this, the Welsh call it Iiysiaur hudol or ‘the enchanting herbe’.

Vervain was a favourite of the Druids, who gathered the herb when the Dog Star, Sirius, was on the rise, in the dark of the Moon. The Druids utilised Vervain in divination, consecration, and ritual cleansing of sacred spaces. They made a magickal drink called the Cauldron of Cerridwen [a shapeshifter] that some say included rowan berries, sea water, lesser celandine, flixweed, and Vervain, which brought the drinker creative energy for bardic song and prophecy; a drink made from Vervain is still said to help poets in their work. Vervain is also still used to make a drink for initiating into Druidic paths. It is fragrant and can be drunk as a tea or burned as an incense. In its connection with the Underworld, it can be added to a cup of wine drunk on Samhain to aid contact with the Beloved Dead.

Medicinal Use:

Vervain is advantageous for women. The herb not only enhances the lactation but also induces menstruation cycles. In addition, Vervain is known to invigorate the contraction of uterine muscles during labour and hence herbalists suggest that it is best to avoid using the herb during pregnancy. However, Vervain may be used during labour as it makes child birth easier.

It is useful as a diuretic.

The herb encloses substantial amount of tannins that makes it an effective astringent and useful as a mouthwash to treat bleeding gums and mouth ulcers.

Lotions or ointments prepared with Vervain are effective in treating sores and wounds, and valuable medication for insect bites and skin disorders.

Tea brewed from the herb may be taken to alleviate tension; to lift depression, lethargy, irritability and all other problems associated with stress  such as headaches, migraines and even the nervous system fatigue.

When used as a hot infusion [tea], Vervain functions as a diaphoretic and helps to lower feverish conditions by inducing sweating.

*Word of caution:  if taken in excess dosages, the herb may lead to vomiting. Vervain possesses verbenalin that is said to be a gentle purgative and is suspected to be accountable for the vomiting.

Correspondences:
Planetary associations: Venus
Zodiac associations: Virgo, Libra
Elements: Water, Earth
Gender: Feminine
Magickal powers: Aphrodisiac, Fertility, Consecration, Immortality, Love, Protection, Purification, Psychic Visions
Deity: Diana, Hermes, Medea, Aradia, Bast, Thor, Jupiter, Isis, Cerridwen
Part Used: leaves, flowering heads
Other names: herba veneris, herb of grace, verbena, enchanters herb, holy herb,
blue vervain,  Herb-of-the-cross, Pigeon’s Grass, and holy wort

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings x

Sources:

A Compendium of Herbal Magick, by Paul Beyerl, 1998

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbena_officinalis

http://www.witchipedia.com/herb:vervain

Experience

Petrified Wood, The Kindly Grandmother

Originally posted on 25/01/2018 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Can you imagine… a tree growing along for many years, then it begins turning to stone? It has always amazed me how this happens. This is the way I perceived it happening when I first learned of petrified wood as a young child… just standing there, tall and beautiful, then one day, stone. Obviously over the years I learned differently, and as we all know, the process begins on the wood which has been in the ground for some time and the organic materials have been replaced with minerals [mostly a silicate, such as quartz], while retaining the original structure of the tissue. It basically becomes a three-dimensional fossil! You just inherently know this is going to be something with teeth in the metaphysical sense.

Petrified Wood is a grounding and protecting stone. I think of “grounding stones” as ones with enormous patience. It is as though they have been around so long and have seen so much that they have the settled ways of the serene older person. The wisdom is beyond reproach, and when you hold such a stone or crystal you can feel that wisdom, serenity, and patience vibrating through you. That is as it should be, for when we need grounding before performing rituals, spells, or simply meditating, sometimes we need all the serenity we can get. I believe it is safe to say you will gather the grounding patience you need from Petrified Wood. Its protection asset is easy to trust. It builds a barrier, a wall, around its user, making it much less likely that harmful spirits or hexes to take hold.

Petrified Wood
Petrified Wood ~ photo by i.macy

It is said to calm the nerves and fears and to encourage feelings of well-being, safety and security, enabling you to stop worrying about the ‘small stuff’. Here the serenity of Petrified Wood comes into play again. It soothes and calms like the kindly grandmother. It gives you a feeling of “everything will be alright”. You never feel alone if you have Petrified Wood in your home. I often handed my daughter a piece of Petrified Wood when she became anxious and couldn’t get a grip on reality. It instantly soothed and calmed her. She has had many problems with nerves over the years but luckily between her Kunzite pendant and elixirs and Petrified Wood, she has managed her anxiety without medication very well for years. Please do not use this as a fail-proof diagnostic and medication tool. If you are having anxiety, depression, or any mental issues, please see your medical professional first before trying any holistic treatment. We all know there are some things which absolutely must be treated by a doctor.

In healing, Petrified Wood is believed to help restore physical energy, to strengthen the bones and to relieve hip and back pain. This may be down to many reasons, but we are always more energetic and full of hope when we feel cared for. And healing is more about believing than anything else in many cases. In crystal healing, Petrified Wood is used for pain relief, particularly in the spine and hips.

Petrified Wood is also said to be helpful in past-life recall or past-life regression work. Which would make sense as it holds the ancient spirits within and they can provide guidance in past-life workings. I have not used the Petrified Wood for this reason yet but look forward to giving it a go.

Correspondences:
Associated Crystals: Green moss agate, rutilated quartz, and tree agate
Candle Colour: Brown or grey.
Chakra: Root, Solar Plexus, Third Eye, and Heart
Element: Earth and spirit.
Flowers: & Plants: Polyanthus, poppy and snapdragon.
Herbs: Incenses – Oils: Burdock, echinacea, fennel, sage and thyme.
Planet: Earth and Saturn.
Zodiac: Virgo
Powers: Grounding, healing, protection, past life recall
Crystals to use with: Agate, Jasper, Chalcedony, Bloodstone, Red Jasper, Onyx, Carnelian, and Opal.

Thank you for reading and many warm blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:

The Crystal Bible, by Judy Hall

Experience

From the Wortcunner’s Cabinet, Wormwood

Originally posted 23/01/2018 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

wormwood
from Botanical.com

Working with herbs very often, as I do, I got thinking, “why not do a series on herbs?” …particularly since recently blogging about wort cunning. So, in no particular order apart from most probably writing about what I’ve worked with most recently, we shall begin with Wormwood [artemisia absinthium]. The hint is in the name – what famous drink of the 19th century, recently revived by the Goth community, is made with this herb? If you guessed Absinthe, you win! As early as I can tell, the drink was made popular in 19th century France and became very popular in Great Britain as well – notably a favourite of Oscar Wilde – one of my favourite authors and generally favourite people of all time. The drink, as it was in those days, has been banned, however, and a new, less dangerous Absinthe became popular mainly with the Goth community in recent times. The 19th-century drink was dangerously toxic when taken in excess and since the traditional use of wormwood is believed to summon spirits and allow communication with the dead, there is not much wonder why some people claimed to see visions whilst inebriated!

Mind, we are not advocating the use of Wormwood for this kind of thing. We’re more interested in what it can do for us on a magickal level. Wormwood is one herb I use very often. It is an ingredient in several of our witch bottles, depending upon the powers needed. It is also an ingredient I use in one or two of our loose incenses. Those are still in testing and have not made it to the shop shelves yet. And, during my practise as a cunning woman, I have used Wormwood extensively for everything from astral travel to protection and psychic awareness. I must say, it is definitely one of my “go-to” herbs.

Magickal
The scent of Wormwood is said to increase psychic powers. Burn with incenses on Samhain to aid invocation, divination, scrying, and prophecy. It is especially good when combined with Mugwort and strengthens incense for exorcism and protection. Hung from a rear-view mirror, Wormwood is said to protect vehicles from accidents on treacherous roads. Wormwood is burned to gain protection from wandering spirits. It is used in divinatory and clairvoyance incenses, initiation rites and tests of courage and enables the dead to be released from this plane so they may find peace.

Wormwood is used to relieve anger and allow the user to vent it in a more peaceful way. It can also be used in magick to prevent strife or war. Carried in a pouch, Wormwood is protective. In ancient lore, people used the plant to counter poisoning by Hemlock and various Toadstools.

It is also used in love charms and spells to draw a lover, and is associated with the Lovers card in the tarot. It is sacred to the maiden Goddess, and can be used for scrying and divination as part of incense or perhaps a weak tea to drink before scrying, or a wash for the instruments used. It is used in women’s rites, probably especially those pertaining to rites of passage from child to a maiden – and would probably be a good addition to rites celebrating menarche. It is used in initiation rites, especially those prior to testing times.

An Old Love Charm
‘On St. Luke’s Day, take marigold flowers, a sprig of marjoram, thyme, and a little Wormwood; dry them before a fire, rub them to powder; then sift it through a fine piece of lawn, and simmer it over a slow fire, adding a small quantity of virgin honey, and vinegar. Anoint yourself with this when you go to bed, saying the following lines three times, and you will dream of your partner “that is to be”:
‘ “St. Luke, St. Luke, be kind to me,
In dreams let me my true-love see.” ‘

Medicinal
Wormwood is said to be useful in the treatment of some depression. It is very good for those who feel utter despair because of their life circumstances. It has some anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of chamazulenes, so it could be used to treat inflammatory digestive disorders. It is used to treat liver and gall bladder congestion where this has led to jaundice, and liver-related depression, lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting. As it is warming, it is particularly good for those who suffer from a depressed autonomic nervous system, leading to impaired digestive function. In addition to all the above, it can be used to treat diarrhoea and intestinal parasites.

artemisia_absinthium_200610_300
Wormwood

Some regard Wormwood as a circulatory tonic and stimulant – this would make sense considering its use to improve digestion. It can be used to treat nervous exhaustion and other nerve issues such as neuralgia and depression as previously mentioned. Apparently, it can be used to ease alcohol-induced hangovers although it may be better to dose up on milk thistle before you start drinking or simply not drink as much. This is another of those odd herbs that can be used to cure epilepsy but will also cause it if you use it in large enough doses.

Wormwood has a strong anti-bacterial property – the root, though not often used in medicine, is extremely powerful and useful to ease infections of the throat and lungs. It eases pain and is very cooling and soothing. It can be used topically as an antiseptic.
As an emmenagogue, it can be used to stimulate absent menses where this is due to uterine stagnation which causes delayed menstruation. It can also be used to ease painful periods. It is used as a pain reliever during labour and can be taken as a weak tea or applied as a rub to stimulate sluggish labour when contractions are too weak.
A rub made with the essential oil can be used to relieve the pain of arthritis and related joint complaints, though the oil should NEVER be taken internally.

Correspondences
Other names: Absinthe, Absinthium, Green Ginger, Old Woman, Crown for a King, Madderwort, Sweet Annie, Wormot

Planetary: Mars, Saturn

Element: Earth

Sabbat: Samhain

Powers: Binding, Psychic Awareness, Evocation, Love, Clairvoyance, Past Life Regression, Astral Travel, Protection

Associated Deities: Diana, Artemis, Aesculapius, Horus, Isis, Castor, Iris, Menthu, Pollux

Harvesting: cut the flowering tops off wormwood when they are in full bloom on a sunny day when the sun is at its peak

‘While Wormwood hath seed get a handful or twaine To save against March, to make flea to refraine: Where chamber is sweeped and Wormwood is strowne, What saver is better (if physick be true) For places infected than Wormwood and Rue? It is a comfort for hart and the braine And therefore to have it it is not in vaine.’

~ Tusser (1577), in July’s Husbandry

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources

Wikipedia.org

The Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

The Old English Herbals by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde

Botanical.com

Experience

Shungite, the Stone of Life

Originally posted on 11/01/2018 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Ah, Shungite…the stone of life! Shungite was first discovered in Shunga, Russia. No prises given for guessing where Shungite got its name 😊

The Shungite stone has healing properties quite unlike any other. It has been used to infuse drinking water since Czar Peter’s time – yes, that would be the famous Peter the Great, Peter I or Peter Alexeyevich. He was rumoured to prefer Shungite-infused water for drinking which led to his frequent travels to Karelia, where Shunga is located. We can now enjoy drinking the mineral-rich water without quite so much bother!

Shungite is a soft, carbon-based stone whose origins date back about 2 billion years -that’s a lot of history to drink in! – for in its pure form it naturally contains small amounts of “fullerenes” which are hollow carbon structures that contribute to some of Shungite’s metaphysical lore. It is scientifically believed that it has positive effects on health and science continues to probe this belief.

shungite palm stone and tumble stone
my Shungite palm stone and tumble stone ~ photo by i.macy

It is a stone of alchemy…as mentioned, it has been used for ages to infuse with water for drinking intending to restore good health. Firstly, it purifies water. But then, it also changes the water, in such a way to normalise many common complaints people are prone to have…everything from arthritis to skin disease. It is also said to help with heart problems, hair issues, and allergies. You can make your own infusion very simply: Leave a Shungite stone in a glass of water covered overnight or in a bottle of water, capped [do keep in mind this is not optimal as the water can absorb chemicals from the plastic bottle]. The next day, pour off the water into another glass or bottle and drink it. You can also purchase bags of crushed Shungite for a filtering system. Either way, it can do you a power of good. Another fact: You may use the normal Shungite stones in your drinking water, however, it is better to use the “Elite Shungite” for this purpose as it has 92 to 98% carbon whilst regular Shungite is usually only about 60% carbon-based.

Shungite is a stone of protection…it’s a black stone and black is commonly a protective colour in western witchcraft. It protectively “cloaks” during spell work to keep the practitioner safe and for lack of better words, “hoovers” up the negative and evil energy that may be surrounding us. It is also helpful in amplifying your psychic powers. In general, Shungite is a brilliant stone to carry with you as it always aims to prevent the negativity of people and the world around you from shattering your positivity.

What do you do to cleanse this workhorse of a stone from all the negativity it draws in? Nothing! The absolute beauty of Shungite is that you can start working with it right out of the box! It never holds in the negativities and evils, rather, it cleanses them and releases them back as positive vibrations. When you receive your Shungite, it is not laden with other’s negativities who have handled it. However, it can have germs so before using it in an infusion, please do wash it! It is recommended to re-charge your Shungite in the Sun about every six months. Moon re-charging is not necessary but you may do so if you like.

shungite pyramid
my Shungite pyramid ~photo by i.macy

Shungite also shields against Electromagnetic Radiation [Computers, TV’s, Mobile Phones] and I have read where some folk purchase slender slivers of Shungite to place between them and their phones! I haven’t tried this yet, but it can’t hurt. My son has a lovely Shungite pyramid that sits between him and his television for all the hours he spends gaming. I am hoping to invest someday in a laptop tray which has Shungite in it for all the hours I’m on my laptop…but I imagine I’m a bit late on that idea as I’ve been using a laptop for years and…. well, if there is damage, it is done by now, I would think! Still, for the readers, please think about this for yourselves.

Correspondences:
Chakras: Base/Root, Third Eye
Powers: healing, protection, psychic
Planetary: Earth

I could write a book about what I love about Shungite but I do have to end this here. You’ll not go wrong by inviting this powerful stone into your life. Depending upon what you wish to use it for, it is a fairly affordable stone, unless you’re buying the Elite Shungite, but it is well worth it. It is if, for no other reason, a fabulous grounding stone and your area where you keep it will feel lighter and less negative. Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

**Please do not use this as a cure.  If you believe you are afflicted with a disease, please see your doctor and adhere to his or her advice.  I do not claim any medical knowledge and only promote Shungite or any stone or crystal as a possible enhancer to your proper medical regime.

Sources:

Wikipedia.org

The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall

Ownership of Shungite