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

The Magick of Ivy

Originally posted on 16/11/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Gort Ogham Ivy
Gort

Ivy! How I adore Ivy! You may be able to see that by the photos of our items in our Etsy shop. Most pictures will be adorned with a sprig or more of lush, green Ivy. Ivy is also a wood of the Celtic Birth Tree calendar, an Ogham tree. It is Gort, the 11th month of the Celtic Tree calendar, 30th September – 27th October and the 11th consonant of the Ogham alphabet.  It is not a tree, obviously, however, in England, the vine can get very thick like a tree limb.  The Ivy person has determination, patience, and is able to accept change. The Ivy person is your go-to source for attaching dreams with reality, just like Ivy wraps around our visions and helps us bring them into the real world.  The Ivy-born are good for creating healthy bonds with friends, family, and co-workers.

As you might tell from our shop photographs, there are many species of Ivy but for the Ogham, there are only two acceptable species, i.e., Hedera Helix [English Ivy] and the Australian species, which is confined to the southern Continent.  There is an Australian version of the Ogham and I have read there is also a Florida [US] version using species of trees indigenous to that area which are much the same in most cases as the original Ogham. You must work with what you have, sometimes!  Mind, most people can simply buy an Ogham set from a British maker unless they prefer making one out of their own indigenous trees.

Folklore / History /Magick

Ivy has been used for various purposes throughout history and is associated with Bacchus because it was supposed to grow all over his fabled homeland, Nyssa. Its leaves formed the poet’s crown, as well as the wreath of Bacchus, to whom the plant was dedicated, probably because of the practise of binding the brow with Ivy leaves to prevent intoxication, a quality formerly attributed to the plant.  It was said that the effects of intoxication by wine are removed if a handful of Ivy leaves are bruised and gently boiled in wine and drunk.  Please don’t try this at home. Ivy is poisonous if ingested.

English Ivy on
English Ivy on Celtic Cross in cemetary ~ dailymail.co.uk

Ivy wood is very porous, and the ancients thought it had the property of separating wine from water by filtration, an error arising from the fact that wood absorbs the colour of the liquid in its passage through the pores. On the Continent, it has sometimes been used in thin slices as a filter.

In former days, English taverns bore over their doors the sign of an Ivy bush, to indicate the excellence of the liquor supplied within; hence the saying ‘Good wine needs no bush’.

In England, it was once believed that if ivy refused to grow on a grave it meant the soul was unhappy in its other world.

If it flourished on a young girl’s grave, it meant she died of unrequited love.

Ivy crown
Ivy crown ~ courtesy of Google Images

Greek priests presented a wreath of Ivy to newly-married persons, and the Ivy has throughout the ages been regarded as the emblem of fidelity.

The custom of decorating houses and churches with Ivy at Christmas was forbidden by one of the early Councils of the Church, because its pagan associations, but the custom remains.

As Ivy grows in the shape of a spiral, it is considered to be of the Goddess.

Use ivy in fidelity and love charms.

Wherever Ivy is grown, it guards against negativity and disaster.

Ivy is magickally paired with Holly and is often woven together into crowns.

Correspondences:

Planet: Moon, Saturn

Element: Water

Symbolism: Fidelity and Fertility, Protection, Healing

Stone: Opal

Colour: Indigo

Bird: Lark, mute Swan, Swallow

Deity: Ariadne, Artemis, Arianrhod, Pasiphae, Dionysus, Bacchus, Osiris

“Oh, roses for the flush of youth,

And laurel for the perfect prime;

But pick an ivy branch for me

Grown old before my time.”

~Christina Georgina Rossetti, 1862

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

Sources:

Druidry.org

whats-your-sign.com

Do You Think You Need a Witch Bottle?

Originally posted on 20/07/2017 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

by Isabella @TheWandCarver

In long-ago times, healers or “cunning women” were sought out regularly by all, even the most devoutly God-fearing Christians, sought to be “helped” by one when some strange malady had befallen them or their families. Or perhaps some evil blight had made times hard for them…perhaps, even, they had reason to believe someone in particular wished ill-tidings upon them. When the cunning woman (or cunning man – although it was generally believed the Mister was the contact or go-between for his Missus and her clientèle) was contacted by the client,  they were often in need of a charm – a witch bottle – or a potion to help them rid the evil from their lives and give them protection for a time to come. Depending upon whether the need was related to health or just general protection, the cunning folk would usually tell the client to come back in a few days, in which time she would concoct the necessary remedy for their ills.

For health-related problems, most often she would make a tincture, potion, or charm to rid the client of their illness. But for need of money, love, or to ward away evil, she would most often create what is now called a witch bottle filled with what would bring to, or ward off, depending upon the need. Most likely in those days they were just called charms as no one wanted to say the “witch” word too loudly, lest they be hanged, drowned, or burned!

Because it is so literal and so beautifully explained, I am copying and pasting an excerpt from Wikipedia:

One of the earliest descriptions of a witch bottle in Suffolk, England, appears in 1681 in Joseph Glanvill’s Saducismus Triumphatus, or Evidence concerning Witches and Apparitions:

“For an old Man that Travelled up and down the Country, and had some acquaintance at that house, calling in and asking the Man of the house how he did and his Wife; He told him that himself was well, but his Wife had been a long time in a languishing condition, and that she was haunted with a thing in the shape of a Bird that would flurr [sic] near to her face, and that she could not enjoy her natural rest well. The Old Man bid him and his Wife be of good courage. It was but a dead Spright, he said, and he would put him in a course to rid his Wife of this languishment and trouble, He therefore advised him to take a Bottle, and put his Wives Urine into it, together with Pins and Needles and Nails, and Cork them up and set the Bottle to the Fire well corkt, which when it had felt a while the heat of the Fire began to move and joggle a little, but he for sureness took the Fire shovel, and held it hard upon the Cork, And as he thought, he felt something one while on this side, another while on that, shove the Fire shovel off, which he still quickly put on Again, but at last at one shoving the Cork bounced out, and the Urine, Pins, Nails and Needles all flew up, and gave a report like a Pistol, and his Wife continued in the same trouble and languishment still.

Not long after, the Old Man came to the house again, and inquired of the Man of the house how his Wife did. Who answered, as ill as ever, if not worse. He askt him if he had followed his direction. Yes, says he, and told him the event as is above said. Ha, quoth he, it seems it was too nimble for you. But now I will put you in a way that will make the business sure. Take your Wive’s Urine as before, and Cork, it in a Bottle with Nails, Pins and Needles, and bury it in the Earth; and that will do the feat. The Man did accordingly. And his Wife began to mend sensibly and in a competent time was finely well recovered; But there came a Woman from a Town some miles off to their house, with a lamentable Out-cry, that they had killed her Husband. They askt her what she meant and thought her distracted, telling her they knew neither her nor her Husband. Yes, saith she, you have killed my Husband, he told me so on his Death-bed. But at last they understood by her, that her Husband was a Wizard, and had bewitched this Mans Wife and that this Counter-practice prescribed by the Old Man, which saved the Mans Wife from languishment, was the death of that Wizard that had bewitched her.”

The tale is supposedly true but gives me a chuckle to read it. However, witch bottles have been found with varying objects inside and through x-ray have been found to have needles and nails inside them in many cases. I should not doubt that someone’s urine may have once or still be inside a fair number of them. But truthfully, unless you simply want to create yours in this way, it’s not necessary.

london witchbottle greenwich
X-rays showing contents of the witch bottle found at Greenwich
(Image: Alan Massey/R. J. Bostock)

Was a time you may have sought me out to fix you up with a witch bottle to protect you from harm. I do make them, but in a portable size and I promise no urine. But nowadays so many are finding their power and making their own charms and witch bottles. If this is something you feel you need to do, only be careful to stick to naming what you wish for with no harm toward others or yourself. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, it is best to leave it to someone who does, however, if you are just learning and wish to make an effective witch bottle for home protection then what you can do is either buy a witch bottle from us or make your own out of a discarded jar with a lid. Put inside it:

Your fingernail clippings

Earth from your land/garden/path to your front door

Three rusted nails

9 dress pins

Oak bark

Rice

Salt

Obsidian

A little red wine

As you put each item or object into the bottle or jar, tell it what you want it to do. Your fingernail clippings represent you, so you ask that the bottle protects you. The earth from around your home represents your home and you ask that your property is protected. The three rusty nails, 9 pins, Oak bark, salt, and Obsidian are all items of protection and the Oak bark is also for strength, so you ask of each to protect and defend you and your home/property. The rice is for protection, luck, and longevity; therefore, you ask for those of the rice before placing inside. Take a sip of the red wine and don’t swallow it, spit it into the bottle. This seals it to you so that it does your bidding. Hold the sealed bottle in both your hands and carry to a pre-determined place around your home. If you live in a house, you can bury it in the farthest corner of your property or, as I did when I lived in a maisonette, I buried mine to the left of my front door. It is best to have decided beforehand where you want to keep it and have the hole already dug. Make sure you make the hole at least a couple of feet deep so that nothing can break the bottle. As you carry the bottle simply say, “protect me, protect my home, protect my family (if they live with your), protect my pets” – basically whomever lives in your home. Just carry on repeating this until you feel it working, until you feel it is ready to be buried. Then, simply bury the bottle and say whatever you wish…”amen”, “so mote it be”, “this shall be done” – whatever it is you would say at the end of any spell or prayer. The best time to perform this ritual is on the waxing full moon, best still to perform it on one of the three days of the waxing full moon closest to the actual full moon. As long as the bottle stays intact it will keep you protected. You may even dig it up to move house and bury it again once you’re moved into your new home.

If you should live in a flat/apartment with no actual land at your disposal to bury your witch bottle you can keep it inside your home but you must place it in an area where it won’t be a conversation starter or where anyone, including pets, can get to it lest it be broken. In the corner of a cupboard or even inside a wall would be best.

So, there you are. Your first witch bottle! May it protect and keep you from harm always. So may it be.

Sources: Wikipedia and my Nana

Love Spells

First posted on 05/02/2014 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Image

The 14th of February is nearing;  love is in the air…new beginnings are beckoning. Imbolc has arrived with the promise of Spring soon-to-come and not only are little seedlings stirring in the Earth, awaiting their birth into a sunny World, but the stirrings of passion in our hearts is making many folk – at least those who aren’t in relationships – want to take action.  Is it any wonder that at this time of year I get more requests for love spells than at any other time of the year?

Before we go any further, I don’t do love spells.  I don’t recommend them at all.  I really burned myself several years ago by doing a love spell for myself (and I don’t mean that I burned myself on a candle!).  I really, really thought he was THE one and I would do anything, within reason, to ensure he wanted to be with me as well.  So…a simple little candle spell done and 7 years later, I was still trying to get AWAY from him.  Oh yes, the candle spell worked a treat.  In fact, too well! Problem was, I couldn’t end it when it was physically necessary to do so.  I have always known that every spell needs a “get out” clause, but in candle magick I rarely think to do so.  I’ve only just finished scrapping the rot from that relationship from my boots and it’s been over 10 years gone. But..you really want love and I’m here to help .

I’m not going to put a spell into anyone’s hands that is intended for the attraction/love of one specific person only.  It would be tantamount to handing a suicidal person a noose.  Either way, someone is going to be hurt badly.  My recommendation is to anyone wishing to find love and needing a bit of a hand with that from the Universe is this:

1.  Make a list – list all the qualities you feel you want most from a future partner.  Not just how you would like the partner to treat you, but be so specific that you choose the colour of his or her eyes, if you like. Take your time writing this list, add to it, take away from it, but before you go any further with your spellwork, be absolutely certain that everything on your list is complete and to your liking.  DO NOT give this person a name.  You are NOT wishing for a certain person, only the sort of person you want to attract. However, being dead specific is the only way the Universe is to know exactly what you want in your future partner.

2.  Sleep with this list under your pillow for a week along with a small pouch filled with dried or fresh rose buds, lavender, and vervain.  All 3 herbs are coincidentally for love, however, all 3 offer protection, healing, and luck. Rose and lavender have the power to give you a psychic edge as well..this can help you know when Mr or Mrs Right comes into your life.

3.  Buy a supply of small pink candles – a week’s worth – and burn one each day during the Venus hour(s)** of each day or night, at your convenience, focusing upon your intent to bring love into your life.  Also have on hand a small bottle of rose or lavender oil to annoint yourself & your candle with. Whilst burning the candle, please do not think of a specific person, only think about the qualities you’ve written down.  Small chime/spell candles are usually only about 50p each, perhaps more depending upon where you buy them and it normally takes about an hour for one to burn completely down.  And by all means, carve hearts onto them with a pin if you like. As your candle burns, visualise yourself being loved, cared for, treated with respect, adored. Let the love you could feel for another flow throughout your body and allow yourself to feel it as though you have already found your new love.

For a full week, your main intention is to bring love into your life.  You may carry the herbal pouch with you throughout your day if you choose to.  Do try and keep your mind upon whatever work you must do, still, on your own time, allow the feeling of love and intention rise within you as much as possible.

You will need to keep your mind and eyes open at all times…just because he or she is not the spitting image of the person you have in your mind’s eye, don’t discount those whom aren’t…sometimes the most unlikely on the face of it all is the most likely to be just right.

And please remember – do not do any of this specifically for a certain person’s love.  As the herbalist & writer, Scott Cunningham, once said, “Capturing a person with love magic of this sort is little short of psychic rape”.  Here’s hoping you’ll meet the kindest, gentlest, and most loving partner this month you could ever wish for and may you both be happy ever-after.

 Happy Valentine’s Day and  Blessed be )O(

** you can find the Planetary hours table here: http://www.lunarium.co.uk/planets/hours.jsp to find what time the Venus hour(s) are for each day.  If you find it inconvenient to burn your daily candle during the Venus hour each day, simply carve the Venus planetary symbol onto your candle with a pin.