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

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

Everything New is Old Again

First posted on 13/07/2017 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

That title threw you a bit, didn’t it? Just a couple of days ago I had written a dissertation on how new the concept of the Celtic Birth Tree Calendar is; however, it never stops – these “new-isms”. Mind, I am probably preaching to the vicar here but I thought as I’m on the subject…We all know “Oak, Ash, and Thorn”. Or perhaps we think we do.

Where did the concept of the Oak, Ash, and Thorn become a “Faery Triad”? I know as far back as the early 1960’s when I was a wee girl, my nana used to say if I sat under her Hawthorn tree I would see the Fae. Truthfully, I never saw a one, although I think I may have heard them laughing occasionally. Probably at the silly little girl who would believe so willingly the things adults told her would happen if she sat quietly.  Much in the same way of when my Aunty would tell me to poke a stick into a hole in the ground and watch til it wiggled and when it did, I would catch a worm. Waiting for faeries, fishing for worms…it was all a means to an end: keeping the child out of their hair whilst they worked.

Oak Ash and Thorn
Oak, Ash, and Thorn talisman

Here I have established – for myself, anyway – that a Hawthorn tree is a faery tree. As my nana was born in 1884 and she claimed it to be true, I believed her. Just bear with me here. So, what of the Oak and the Ash? All of Pagan-dom knows an Oak is a protective tree. Most will also know that the Oak is a tree sacred to the Druids. Ah, but that can be said of any tree. Still, the Druids would not hold meeting unless an Oak tree is present.  The Oak symbolises healing and protection along with prosperity and luck. But what about the Fae? Just be patient.

Then, we have the Ash tree. By all accounts, the Irish Celts held the Ash most sacred. There are several recorded instances in Irish history in which the people refused to cut an Ash, even when wood was scarce, for fear of having their own cabins consumed with flame. The Ash tree represents prophecy, prosperity, and protection, and is also recognised as The World Tree for the Celts. I have read around a bit and have found people saying Ash is used for Druid’s wands. Ahem…I’ve known a few Druids in my life, my father for one, and have never heard tell of this before and would think they would have a laugh about that one, but hey ho…perhaps the neo-Druidic tradition which is forming do use wands.

Everything must be new at some point in time. Even “the old ways” were brand-new once upon a time. Everything evolves over time and changes. Lore changes, mythos changes. The Druids did not write books about what they knew, they passed on their knowledge by telling and teaching others. Witches did not always write Books of Shadows/grimoires either. Paganism has always given rise to evolving practises. We hold to tradition loosely, but keep it close at the same time. It is as one farmer may find a better way to grow a cabbage and he passes on the knowledge to another farmer, and before you know, all farmers are growing 50-pound cabbages.

What I’m saying is, there is not a speck of evidence that there has been an ancient time-honoured “Faery Triad” consisting of Oak, Ash, and Thorn, although my nana and I used to tie bundles of the Oak and Ash together along with the Hawthorn spines, bound in red thread to hang around for protections or to leave for the Fae’s “firewood”. Perhaps again, it was just another clever way to keep the child busy. Or, my nana was quite old, so there may have been some old logic in there somewhere. Who knows?

The Faery Triad…well, there really isn’t one apart from the new-ish idea of one. But the logic, if you know your trees, is sound. So, why not?

I tend to believe that Rudyard Kipling’s book Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906) may have set off the magickal notion of Oak, Ash, and Thorn. The elf, Puck who was self-described as the “oldest Old Thing in England” explained to the two children in the story, Dan and Una, “I came into England with Oak, Ash, and Thorn, and when Oak, Ash, and Thorn are gone, I shall go, too”

A Tree Song – Rudyard Kipling

Of all the trees that grow so fair,

Old Engerland to adorn,

Greater are none beneath the Sun,

Than Oak and Ash and Thorn.

Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn, good Sirs

(All of a Midsummer’s morn)!

Surely we sing of no little thing,

In Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Oak of the Clay lived many a day,

Or ever Aeneas began;

Ash of the Loam was a lady at home,

When Brut was an outlaw man;

Thorn of the Down saw New Troy Town

(From which was London born);

Witness hereby the ancientry

Of Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Yew that is old in churchyard mould,

He breedeth a mighty bow;

Alder for shoes do wise men choose,

And beech for cups also.

But when ye have killed, and your bowl is spilled,

Your shoes are clean outworn,

Back ye must speed for all that ye need,

To Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Ellum she hateth mankind, and waiteth

Till every gust be laid,

To drop a limb on the head of him

That anyway trusts her shade:

But whether a lad be sober or sad,

Or mellow with ale from the horn,

He’ll take no wrong when he lieth along

‘Neath Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight,

Or he would call it a sin;

But—we have been out in the woods all night,

A-conjuring Summer in!

And we bring you news by word of mouth—

Good news for cattle and corn—

Now is the Sun come up from the South,

With Oak and Ash and Thorn!

Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn, good Sirs

(All of a Midsummer’s morn)!

England shall bide till Judgement Tide,

By Oak and Ash and Thorn!

We still find not one Fae. But, that is alright because we have this wonderful, magickal, evolution of folklore which has room for the Faery Triad of Ash, Oak, and Thorn. Just believe!

With gratitude to:

Druid Tree Lore – http://www.druidry.org/

Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906) by Rudyard Kipling

Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org

and my Nana 

The Magickal Ash Tree

Originally posted on speakingofwitchwands.net on 07/10/2013 by Isabella

by Isabella @TheWandCarver

Image

Photo by Damien Gayle, www.dailymail.co.uk

Gender:  Masculine; Planet: Sun; Element: Fire

Sacred to Uranus, Poseidon, Thor, WodenNeptune, Mars, Gwydion

Magickal Powers:  Protection, Prosperity, Sea Rituals, Health

The ancient Teutons regarded the Ash as “The World Tree“, which was their conception of the Universe, and therefore revered as such.

Ash has been used in many magickal ways over the centuries.  Sailors of old carved an equal-armed cross from Ash to carry whilst at sea to protect against drowning.  Ash is used in many sea rituals as it represents the power which resides in water.

The leaves of the Ash can be used to encourage prophetic dreams by placing them under one’s pillow or in a sachet.  The leaves may also be scattered to the four directions to protect a house and/or property.

The Ash tree, as are many trees, is considered to be very protective.  A staff (such as a Shaman’s staff) carved from Ash, placed over a doorway, wards off malign influences.  Ash is also said to ward off snakes, as they will not crawl over its wood.  However, Ash attracts lightening, so please don’t stand beneath one during a thunderstorm!

Ash wands (which we do make!) are often made for healing.  Ash wood is burned at Yule to receive prosperity in the coming year.  Even if you don’t have a fireplace, you can burn Ash chips  from resealable packets which are sold on our Etsy shop  in an incense to achieve the same result.  Ash is also used in poppets for all the various powers it brings.

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings x

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

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

The Magickal Cypress Tree

*First posted on speakingofwitchwands.net, September 2013

by Isabella @TheWandCarver

Many of you may or may not be aware of the magickal properties of many trees.  For instance, did you know that the Cypress tree has a “folk name” of “The Tree of Death”?  It is thought to be so because at one time in Egypt, coffins were made of Cypress wood.  However, funnily enough, one of the magickal properties of Cypress wood is longevity!  If one carries it on their person, in a pocket or worn as jewellery, it is said to give long life and protection.  Cypress is also comforting in times of sorrow,  such as the death of a friend or loved one as it eases the mind and allays grief if carried to the funeral.  Many deities hold sacred the Cypress such as MithrasAphrodite, Hekate, CupidApollo and others.

cypress tree
Photo by CP Smith, http://www.geograph.org.uk

Thank you for your support and many blessings!