From the Wortcunner’s Cabinet, Enchanter’s Nightshade

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

From Plant Lore, Legends, and Lyrics, by Richard Folkard, Jun, London 1884:

“ENCHANTER’S NIGHTSHADE.—Formerly the Atropa Mandragora used to bear this name, but by some mistake it has been transferred to the Circæa Lutetiana, an insignificant plant named after Circe, the famed enchantress, probably because its fruit, being covered with hooked prickles, lays hold of the unwary passers-by, as Circe is said to have done by means of her enchantments. The Mandrake was called “Nightshade,” from having been classed with the Solanum tribe, and “Enchanter’s” from its Latin name Circæa, a name which it obtained, according to Dioscorides, because Circe, who was expert in herbal lore, used it as a tempting powder in amorous concerns.”

An interesting little book which, if I understand correctly, sounds almost more like an apology for his bad information in the preface rather than a preface of something of great import.  But as it was of some interest, I just had to include it… take from it what you will.

Enchanters_Nightshade wanstead wildlife dot co dot uk
Enchanter’s Nightshade ~ wansteadwildlife.org.uk

You’ve seen the pretty pink slips bobbing in the breezes over the last month or so.  They are quite small and may be white instead of pink.  If you haven’t, try looking in shady places where the ground is moister such as shady woodlands, coppices, and perhaps in some hedge rows. If you have seen them, you have found Enchanter’s Nightshade.  If you’re not familiar with Enchanter’s Nightshade or Circaea lutetiana; this nightshade is a member of the willowherb family, Onagraceae.   It is not related to other nightshades such as the deadly nightshade.

The genus name comes from the enchantress Circe of Greek mythology and the specific designation is derived from Lutetia, the Latin name for Paris, which was sometimes referred to as the “Witch City”. Despite its name it is not especially toxic but contains a lot of the astringent tannin.  The plant is native to Europe, Middle Asia, Siberia, United Kingdom, and the eastern United States and Canada. It grow in woods in deep shade and moist environments on nitrogen-containing clay.

Circe was a powerful Grecian witch who, with the help of herbs, muttering incantations, or praying to her strange gods, could turn men into animals, or create unsubstantial images of beasts. She often called to her aid Nyx, Chaos, or Hecate. But as witchcraft may make a victim also of him or her who practises it, the nights of Circe could be wasted in fear because of the uncontrolled visions that filled her house. And so, for example, the walls and chambers of her palace could seem to be bathing in blood, whilst fire could seem to devour her magick herbs. That is why it was a relief for her when daylight came, and she could bathe and clean her garments, forgetting the scaring nightly visions. Circe also liked to attract others for the mission of sex magick, therefore it could be thought this is one reason this kind of nightshade is called Enchanter’s.

Magickal

enchanters nightshade
My dried Enchanter’s Nightshade ~ photo by i.macy

Enchanter’s Nightshade is a useful herb for aiding in the Laws of Attraction.  Not only the love kind of attraction but to attract whatever it is that you want in your life, including wealth, health, and any number of things. As a rule, Enchanter’s Nightshade does not attract wealth itself but it aids in the  Seven Laws of Attraction where you attract what you need and want into your life.  You may use it in the usual ways which you do for spell work, mainly useful in loose incenses to be burned over a charcoal disc.  This is a particularly good way to use it during meditation.  It is also useful in spells for binding, hexing, and love.  Mainly you may read that you use Belladonna [Deadly Nightshade] for hexing but those of us who would rather not, I have found that Enchanter’s Nightshade – absolutely no relative of the Deadly variety – works just as well. It is also said to be useful for shapeshifting and transformation in which you would drink it as a tea, however, be certain you have the correct herb before ingesting.  Take all due precautions and then take them again.

For enchanting or simply attracting the lover of your dreams, make a sachet of dried Enchanter’s Nightshade to carry with you when you have opportunity to be near this person.  In our Love witch bottle necklace, Enchanter’s Nightshade is an ingredient. You may also use with other dried herbs which attract love, such as Vervain, in a loose incense to burn during spell work for love.  And, of course, if you prefer making poppets, use the Nightshade in those as well.

Healing

According to Nicholas Culpeper, The English Physician and Complete Herbal:  It is a cold Saturnine plant.  The common Nightshade is wholly used to cool hot inflammations either inwardly or outwardly, being no ways dangerous to any that use it, as most of the rest of the Nightshades are, yet it must be used moderately.  The distilled water only of the whole her is fittest and safest to be taken inwardly:  The juice also clarified and taken being mingled with a little vinegar, is good to wash the mouth and throat that is inflamed; But outwardly the juice of the herbs or berried, with oil of roses and a little vinegar and ceruse laboured together in a leaden* mortar, is very good to anoint all hot inflammations in the eyes.  It also doth much good for the shingles, ringworms, and in all running, fretting, and corroding ulcers, applied thereunto.  The juice dropped into the ears eases pains thereof that arise of heat or inflammations  And Pliny saith, it is good for hot swellings under the throat.  Have a care you mistake not the deadly nightshade for this; if you know it not, you may let them both alone, and take no harm having other medicines sufficient in the book.”

In medicine Saturn presides over the skeletal system, skin, teeth, gall bladder, spleen, and vagus nerve. Saturn symbolised processes and things which were dry and extremely cold, and was therefore inimical to life. It governed the melancholic humour.

Nearly all I can find about the use of Enchanter’s Nightshade for nowadays is using it as an astringent for skin maladies.  Oh yes, and the [*] above – please do not use any leaden vessel in the preparation of herbs for health and physical use.  I don’t think I need to say it, still, there can always be that one 😊

Correspondences

Planet:  Saturn

Zodiac:  Capricorn and Aquarius

Gender:  Female

Element:  Earth and Water

Powers:  Healing, Love, Binding, Hexing

Deity:  Circe

Other Names:  Sorcerer of Paris, Witch’s Grass, Great Witch Herb, Wood Magic Herb, Paris Nightshade, Herb of St. Etienne, Southern Broadleaf Nightshade

Many thanks for reading my humble little blog.  Warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources

Nicholas Culpeper, The English Physician and Complete Herbal [17th century]

Richard Folkard, Plant Lore, Legends, and Lyrics [Jun, London 1884]

Witchipedia

Woodlands.co.uk

Experience

The Magick of Willow

Originally posted on 28/09/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

white willow salix alba_200
Photo from heathwood.co.uk

It is a tree I’ve long admired. To sit and watch the Willow gently blown by a soft wind is mesmerising and soul-lifting. Willow can truly put you into a state of zen without trying very hard.

Perhaps that is best explained in The Faces of WomanSpirit, A Celtic Oracle of Avalon by Katherine Torres, Ph.D. (see below)

Trust All is here and now.

Know it.

Connect with the Hand of Goddess.

Let Divine Mother Transform you.

Be an Example in the World.

Willow asks you to bend with her into the path of retrieval.

Follow the labyrinth trail, connect with the power of wisdom and the rhythm of your soul, and return to your ordinary world strengthened. You will find that your awareness of your purpose is stronger and your intent cannot be broken by the spell of someone else’s desire.

Could not say it better myself. The Willow tree can put you into a state of rightness with the world, only by observation. Imagine what it can do it in magick!

Willow is the Fifth month of the Celtic Tree calendar, 15th April – 12th May and is the Fifth consonant of the Ogham alphabet – Saille being its alphabetical name.  If you are a Willow sign, you are ruled by the moon, and so your personality holds hands with many of the mystical aspects of the lunar realm. This means you are highly creative, intuitive [highly psychic people are born under the sign of the Willow] and intelligent. You have a keen understanding of cycles, and you inherently know that every situation has a season. This gives you a realistic perspective of things, and causes you to be more patient than most tree signs. With your intelligence comes a natural ability to retain knowledge and you often impress your company with the ability to expound on subjects from memory. Willow Celtic tree astrology signs are bursting with potential, but tend to hold themselves back for fear of appearing flamboyant or overindulgent. It is your powers of perception that ultimately allow your true nature to shine, and what leads you to success in life. Willow signs join well with the Birch and the Ivy.

Willow Birth Tree Ogham Pendant [Etsy]

Willow’s Medicinal Value

It is a tree of many, many uses. Most well-known is its active ingredient in aspirin, salicylic acid, contained in Willow’s inner bark. But it has been used for centuries for all sorts. These very bark scrapings were made into astringents and used to reduce fever. Willow was also used as a diuretic, a gargle for sore throats and gums, an external wash for sores, skin problems, wounds and burns.

White Willow was commonly used. Purple Willow has the same general properties as White and may even be more effective in lowering fevers. Black Willow has these same properties and can also be used as a sexual sedative. The Black Willow has also been used to treat gonorrhoea, and to relieve ovarian pain. Goat, or Sallow, Willow eases indigestion, whooping cough, and catarrh and is used as an antiseptic for disinfecting bandages. All varieties of this Tree can be utilised as an eyewash, clearing up of skin problems, and a decoction of leaves and bark, simmered, can be used to treat dandruff. All can also be utilised to prevent recurring fevers and as a digestive tonic, especially for dyspepsia.

Folklore

The Willow tree is one of the seven sacred Irish trees and is a sacred tree to Druids.

Willow is used for the enhancement of psychic abilities.  Orpheus, the poet, was said to have received his Gift by touching the Willows in a grove sacred to Persephone. Groves have been used by many types of artisans to gain eloquence, inspiration, skills and the gift of prophecy. This Tree is held sacred, also, to Minerva, the ancient Great Goddess whose bird, the Wryneck, nests only in the Willow. Cranes are also known to nest here and a grove of Willows with nesting cranes is a symbol of extremely happy domesticity.

Magickal uses are extensive. The Besom, the Witches Broom, is traditionally made from three trees. The stave is made from Ash, for protection; Birch twigs are used for the broom itself to expel evil spirits. The Besom is bound with Willow to honour Hecate. Willow branches are said to be the best for divining Water, channelling Earth energy, and finding lost objects.

“Clootie” – Scottish or “cloutie” wells are places of pilgrimage in Celtic areas. They are wells or springs, almost always with a tree growing beside them, where strips of cloth or rags have been left, usually tied to the branches of the tree as part of a healing ritual. In Scots nomenclature, a “clootie” or “cloot” is a strip of cloth or rag, a prayer rag, if you will. These can be tied to any tree when asking for a nurturing love or a release of grief; Willow will serve this purpose best. By the same token, for a wish to be granted, ask permission of Willow, explaining your desired goal. Select a pliable shoot or branch and tie it into a loose knot while expressing your wish, leaving the branchlet on the Tree! When the wish is fulfilled, return and untie the knot, remembering to thank your Friend and leaving a gift of gratitude.

Correspondences:

Planet: Moon

Element: Water

Symbolism: Resonance and Harmony

Stone: Moonstone

Birds: Hawk, Snowy Owl

Colour: Silver

Deity: Persephone, Hecate, Cerridwen,

Artemis, Selene, Luna, Diana, Brigit

Sabbat: Beltane

Alone with myself

The trees bend

to caress me

The shade hugs

my heart.

– Candy Polgar

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

Sources:

wikipedia.org

druidry.org

The Magic of Yew

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Originally posted on 5 Sept 2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

yew5
Yew leaves and berries, courtesy of Google images

Yew is a tree that commands much respect. If you don’t, it can kill you. Harsh? Not at all. Yew is a very poisonous tree, every part of it from bark to berry seeds, however, the fleshy fruit of its berries is not poisonous but the seed within is. This is because of Taxine, a toxic alkaloid component in the leaves, bark, wood, and seed of the Yew. Even when the Yew tree has died, its toxicity is still there. Handle with care.

handle of my wand
My Yew wand with crow fetish, photo by i.macy

So, how is it that you see so many lovely objects made from Yew? Everything from boxes to wands! As a matter of fact, my personal wand is Yew and I’m still here. The people who make objects from Yew wood know chapter and verse on how to protect themselves during construction of their beautiful items. It is essential to wear a good respirator mask, especially whilst sanding Yew wood, and gloves. It is also best to wear long sleeves and trousers and shoes…. this is not a job for wearing your shorts and vest top on a hot day. You don’t want the dust from sanding settling on your skin. Of course, most people would bath or shower after working in this way, however, it is very likely if you have a pet that the pet could lick your hand before you had a good clean up. This would end in tears, I’m afraid.  Yew is as toxic to pets as it is to humans so please don’t give Yew to your dog as a chew stick. If you have a Yew wand, keep it in a place where pets can’t get at it.

Hoping I have made my point about the dangers, let’s talk about the magick! The Yew is one of the most magickal trees for protection, reincarnation/rebirth, necromancy, and longevity spells. It is the 5th vowel of the Ogham alphabet, Ioho. It is called “Tree of Resurrection” or “The Tree of Eternity”. It is the Ogham of Winter Solstice and the Dark Half of the year. Yew is a wood of great strength.

5000 yr old yew in dafynnod wales graveyard
5,000 year old Yew in Defynnog, Wales

Yew is wonderful for connecting with your ancestors.  As it is the only biological creature capable of living indefinitely, possibly forever, it is much sought-after for longevity spell work. It is also exalted as a tree of rebirth which gives way to a Breton legend that the tree is said to grow a root into the open mouth of each corpse buried in the graveyard. This root is a symbol of rebirth with the spirit reborn in much the same way as the tree itself is reborn. And, so it may be as so many graveyards have Yew trees growing in them.

“Just as the Yew tree possesses an immortal ability to renew itself, so too do you.  Living for centuries, it is a silent witness to the passing of time. Evergreen, its red, waxy cup-shaped berries, enclosing a small poisonous seed, predict protection. A good thing in your life will continue, just as a branch grows down inside the hollow trunk, embedding itself in the soil to sprout a new tree. If you remain working quietly at what you want, like the inconspicuous small green female flowers, you will attract your aim.  Communication will surprise you in the same way that the large bright yellow flowers on male trees throw out clouds of yellow pollen when ready to mate.” ~ Tree Magick by Gillian Kemp

Yew Necromancer Witch Bottle
Necromancer’s Witch Bottle Necklace ~ photo by i.macy

Because of the possibility of poisoning, some witches or practitioners of delving into the past and connecting with their ancestors or other forms of necromancy, are not comfortable with using Yew outside of some form of containment. One of the things I have fashioned for myself as a hedge witch, travelling the hedge between Worlds to connect with my ancestors, is my Necromancer’s Witch Bottle Necklace. It is a simple glass bottle, filled with enchanted herbs and Yew, then sealed, not to be opened. I won’t divulge every item that goes inside this witch bottle but it has herbs which summons Spirit, help Spirit to manifest, eases the souls of the dead, appeases and relaxes any traumatised Spirits, to make the Spirit manifested tell the truth, and tobacco to show hospitality to the Spirit(s). The small stick of Yew is included to banish malevolent Spirits.  We do offer these in our Etsy shop. This witch bottle is also effectively worn when doing any spell work which may concern longevity or for doing any kind of past-life regression work. It is very protective and helpful in the case of the latter.  It is also said to be a bringer of dreams and helpful in overcoming fear of our own death. Yew teaches death as transformation, not an end. The witch bottle also can facilitate connection with your Spirit Guardian.

Correspondences:

Planet: Saturn and Pluto

Element: Earth and Water

Symbolism: The Tree of Life, Immortality, Rebirth, Protection, Longevity, Change, Divinity, Strength

Metal: Lead

Stone: Olivine

Birds: Eagle, Hummingbird

Colours: Black, Dark Green

Deity: Banbha, Dione, Artemis, Persephone, Hecate, Astarte, Odin. Yew embodies the crone aspect of the triple Goddess. Yew is one of the Guardians of the Underworld that assist in guiding souls from one world to the next.

Old Yew, which graspest at the stones

That name the under-lying dead,

Thy fibres net the dreamless head,

Thy roots are wrapt about the bones.

~Tennyson

Many thanks for reading, be safe when handling Yew, and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

PS… please don’t forget to follow us here on Wytchencrafts as the SpeakingofWitch blog will be removed once we have all our blogs transferred over. x

The Magickal Oak Tree

First published on speakingofwitchwands.net Sept 2013

by Isabella @TheWandCarver

oaktree

Photo by  Glennie Kindred, www.whitedragon.org.uk

Sacred to Dagna, Dianus, Jupiter, Thor, ZeusHerne, Janus, Rhea, CybeleHecate, Pan, and Erato

Gender:  Masculine; Planet:  Sun; Element:  Fire

Oak was a source of food for early settlers in Britain and revered by the Druids.  The Druids (traditionally) would not meet for rituals unless an Oak tree was present.  Religious articles were often fashioned from the tree and Witches danced beneath it.  A tree as long-lived as the Oak naturally offers magickal protection and if you have two twigs of Oak, bound by a red thread in an equal-armed cross, it would be well for you to hang it in your home.

Oak Cross 3

photo by i.macy

Acorns, of course, have always been used for nature’s help – guarding against lightning strikes, drawing to the bearer wealth, among other things.  But, have you ever considered the magickal power of the Oak bark ?

Oak Bark
photo by i.macy

Logs of Oak were often burned in fireplaces to draw off illness.  Nowadays, not everyone has a fireplace, however, Oak still has a healing property in the bark.  They can be ground fine and used in incense, with the same effect.  Also, in incense to draw money and wealth, protection, luck, fertility, and potency.

Carrying a small pouch of Oak bark in a wallet or handbag draws wealth and adds protection to the bearer.  It can also be used in poppets to effect the properties that you desire for yourself or another.

Thank you for your support and many blessings!

*Some information is from Cunningham’s Encyclopaedia of Magickal Herbs, by Scott Cunningham 1985-97, Llewellyn