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 Faery Cross Stone, Staurolite

Originally posted on 14/11/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

I can’t remember the first time I saw a Faery Cross stone, but I knew I must have one. At the time it was a terribly expensive stone, so I knew I would need to save my pennies or win the Lottery – the latter being a long shot to say the least – so saving pennies it was. All I knew was – I needed to have it!

Not only is it beautifully made by Nature, but it has so many attributes that suited me down to the ground. It’s a stone that looks as though it must be man-made…but it is not.

Staurolite
My Faery Cross ~ photo by i. macy

“Staurolite is best known for its distinctive, cross-shaped penetration twins, where two rectangular crystals intersect each other to form a perfect cross. However, its most common twinning habit is in bisecting crystals with a 60° angle that can appear in the shape of an “x” when the crystals are elongated. Although Staurolite does form in single, non-twinned crystals, the twinned habit is much more prevalent.” ~ minerals.net

Folklore

The twin crystals found on staurolite are sometimes referred to as ‘Fairy crosses’ / ‘Faery Crosses’ – as it was once believed to be created by the tears of the fae who could not help but cry when they heard of Christ’s crucifixion. Staurolite is often called “faery stone” or “faery cross”. Since the first time it was worn, it has been considered a good luck charm as well as a charm that would protect children from evil spirits.

They also have healing attributes in the physical body. From historical tales, they were said to have been used during the crusades, to aid Richard the Lionheart to heal.

What Can Staurolite Do?

Firstly, it is a tremendous “grounding” stone. If you feel in need of grounding before spell work or during meditation, or for any reason, the faery cross is a perfect go-to crystal.  They are an aid to spirituality and making a stronger connection to Faery, the natural world, and with animal and plant spirit. The Faery stone is so calming and reassuring, you will feel it the first time you hold one. It is said they can aid in helping to put away unpleasant habits…mainly, I believe because of how de-stressing and calming the stone is.  Staurolite works well with Amethyst to aid in breaking addictions.  And, by keeping a Staurolite/Faery stone, not only will it benefit your own life but will also benefit the lives of those you are closest to.

Staurolite stones resonate strong energy within the heart chakra and bring through powerful energy of unconditional love for others and for the earth. And, of course, they are a base or “root” chakra stone for grounding but are also very effective with the third eye chakra.

If you have lost something and want help to find it, faery stones are known to be able to help you to find lost objects, so this is a helpful aspect of their energy. They may also help you to make better use of your time.

Faery stones allow you to choose where you want to travel in meditation, and with whom you want to make contact. This is because they seem to have a specific energy, which I refer to as “helping your inner compass”. This means they help you to know where you are going in meditation and you will more likely end up there. They help to give greater clarity to what you see when in meditation.

Faery stones may be placed under your pillow if you would like their help to induce lucid dreaming, or to assist with astral travelling.

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein.

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

Sources:

The Crystal Bible ~ by Judy Hall

Minerals.net

Wikipedia.com

Experience

The Magick of Broom

Originally posted on 02/11/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Ngetal Broom

What is Broom? Technically, it is not a tree…more of a shrubbery, and is sometimes referred to as “Reed” …still, it is considered in the Celtic Birth Tree Calendar as one of the thirteen woods which comprise the CBTC.  Broom [or reed] is the 12th month of Celtic Tree calendar, 28th October – 24th November and is the 12th letter of the Ogham alphabet – Ngetal.  If you were born on 31st October, Samhain, both the Broom and the Blackthorn would have great meaning for you.

People born under the Broom/Reed sign among the Celtic tree astrology signs are the secret keepers. You dig deep inside to the real meaning of things and discover the truth hidden beneath layers of distraction. When there is a need to get to the heart of the matter, most certainly the Reed sign will find the core. You love a happy story and can be easily drawn in by gossip, scandals, legend, and lore. These tendencies also make you an excellent historian, journalist, detective or archaeologist. You love people because they represent a diversity of meanings for you to interpret. You are adept at coaxing people to talk to you, and sometimes you can be a bit manipulative. However, you have a keen sense of truth and honour so most of your scheming is harmless. Broom/ Reed people join well with other Broom/Reeds, Ash or Oak signs.

Broom_2009_06_12_GlenriddingHut_BBQ_203p5
Broom growing wild..as it does 🙂

The Broom seldom grows large enough to furnish useful wood, but when its stems acquire a sufficient size, it is beautifully veined and being hard provides valuable material for veneering.  As its name suggests, it was popularly used for making brooms and brushes and was commonly used for basketwork, especially on the island of Madeira.  In the north of England and Scotland, it was used for thatching cottages and making fences or screens.

A traditional rhyme from Sussex says: “Sweep the house with blessed Broom in May / sweep the head of the household away.” 😊

The branches of the Broom shrub are perfect for sweeping [but not whilst the yellow blossoms are standing at attention, wait till the flowers drop off – otherwise sweeping with Broom branches leads to very nasty luck as the fables warn]. Because of its handy household uses, the flower symbolism of the Broom includes a sense of orderliness, cleanliness, and tidiness. Kind of like a “symbol of good housekeeping.”  Its bright yellow flowers are likened to the gold of the radiating sun, and therefore conjure symbolic attributes of light, energy, vitality, and warmth.  The Broom flower as a symbol also hints at humility – it’s a simple bush…its needs are few [it can live quite well without much tending]. Those who are drawn to the Broom flower as a personal symbol will be humble in his/her ways…. resourceful, too – making the best [and being happy] with simple things in life. Broom flower symbolism also points to matters of the heart; ingestion of the plant is known to affect cardiac function. Folk medicine cites Broom teas as a heart regulator [don’t try it at home unless you know what you’re doing, please]. The Broom is a bright reminder of how simple values can go a long way to balancing the heart.

Medicinal and Folklore:

The whole of Broom is medicinally valuable. The main medicinal ingredient in Broom is sparteine. When consumed in large doses it can cause excitability and hallucinations.  This has been speculated as the reason Broom is associated with witches flying around on brooms. I would imagine this would raise blood pressures to an incredible height so please don’t try this.  The sparteine found in Broom is now used for heart and circulatory disorders. Other preparations from Broom can help with gout, sciatica, joint pain, malaria, fever, kidney stones. I would think it best to leave this to the pharmaceutical companies to know how much and what part of Broom should be used.

broom flowers RHS
Broom flowers ~ Royal Horticultural Society

Flowers of the Broom were once used to concoct an elixir for gout and it was known that King Henry VIII drank the infusion of water with Broom flowers to “cure” the effects of his many excesses.

Before hops, Broom was added to flavour and enhance the intoxicating effects of beer.

My Nana insisted the broom be stored on its end, never on the bristles, to keep the magick from running out.

It is bad luck to loan your broom to anyone, even a friend.

A broom laid in a doorway would detain a witch from entering a cottage. For a witch would not cross over objects without first numbering the parts, and counting all the fibres of a broom would slow her progress. [Wales]

Stand a broom upside down – Marry soon. [Ireland]

Magickal:

Broom was hung up in the house to keep all evil influences out, and an infusion of Broom sprinkled throughout the house was used to exorcise poltergeist activity.  Sweeping the ground with a brush of Broom will clear the area of unwanted influences.

Banishing and releasing spell:

Bundle a handful of twigs to create a small ritual hand broom. Write the name of what you want to release or banish from your life on a piece of paper and burn it.  When the ashes are cool scatter them on the floor around your altar. Take the broom and sweep the ashes from the centre out to the edge of your circle. Gather the ashes and then scatter them to the wind.  [You can also sweep the floor as you burn the ashes, and then take a few pieces of your broom, burn them in your cauldron, and scatter them to the wind after they cool].

~Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

Correspondences:

Planet: The Moon

Element: Water

Symbolism: Royalty, cleansing, healing, psychic protection, astral travel

Stone: Opal

Colour: Blue

Bird: Geese, kingfisher

Deity: Mercury, Morpheus, Bacchus

Sabbat: Samhain

Folk Names: Scotch Broom

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

Sources:

Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

Whats-your-sign.com

In Worship of Trees, by George Knowles