- Basic Powers: For protection and defense.
- Pronunciation: “thoor-ee-saws”
Thorn (Thurisaz) is useful for attack and sometimes for tests. It makes people careless at the wrong moment; it makes people sicken; it drives people insane. It is particularly suitable for increasing the fear of people already afraid. Of Odin’s list of eighteen runes, the sixth turns an enemy’s spells against them.
In the poem the spell is stated to be the root of a sapling with runes cut into it.
Directed cosmic power of defense. It symbolizes Mjollnir, the Hammer of Thor. It is pure will untempered by self-consciousness. It is a projectable form of applied power. The force of Thurisaz is able to direct their energies in an effective fashion. Use it when a “little something extra” is required to get things off the ground. New beginnings. Use when you need luck or when circumstances are beyond your control. Protection or defense. Neutralization of enemies or opposition. To push the issue in love magick.
Defensive (active). Destruction of enemies, curses. Awakening of the will to action. Preparedness for generation in all realms. Love magic. Knowledge of the division and unity of all things.
thurisaz thurisaz thurisaz
th th th th th th th th th
thur thar thur ther thor
thu tha thu the tho
th th th th th th th th th
It can be used in conjunction with the symbol, or chanted while visualizing the symbol. The symbol can be etched into a candle while intoning the chant, and then, as the candle burns, the spell is released and sent. Traditionally, the rune would be carved into the root of a sapling while chanting and visualizing the desired outcome.
- Howard, Understanding Runes
- Thorsson, Futhark
- Peschel, A Practical Guide to the Runes
- Cooper, Esoteric Rune Magic
- Image from Deep Earth Arts
- Basic Powers: For attracting wealth and protecting property.
- Pronunciation: “fay-who”
This rune provides success, advancement in career, a turnabout in luck for those in difficulty. The good luck it provides is not permanent, but a single event or a short period of good fortune. After that the charm must be renewed, not only magically but through an act of binding or connection in the social sense. This act can be a gift to charity, help to another, or some other action to like oneself to a social order. This rune is good for areas of money, friendliness, and gaining merit. Fehu is a sign of hope and plenty, success and happiness, but also the responsibilities of those at the top and a social binding at all levels.
This is the sending rune. Use it to send either your energy or the energy of the runes out into the formative spheres.
It is the power of generation at its most basic level. Its energies are totally wild and very useful for magick involving swift, radical changes. To hasten affairs to their next stage use after the “subject ” rune in your runescript. To increase monetary wealth. Protection of valuables.
Strengthens psychic powers. Channel for power transference or projection; the sending rune. Drawing the projected power of the sun, moon, and stars into the personal sphere. Promotion of personal and social evolution.Increase in monetary wealth.
fehu fehu fehu
f f f f f f f f f
fu fa fi fe fo
of ef if af uf
f f f f f f f f f
Remember “Fi Fi Fo Fum” from the Jack in the Beanstalk fairy tale? It can be used in conjunction with the symbol, or chanted while visualizing the symbol. The symbol can be etched into a candle while intoning the chant, and then, as the candle burns, the spell is released and sent.
- Howard, Understanding Runes
- Thorsson, Futhark
- Peschel, A Practical Guide to the Runes
- Cooper, Esoteric Rune Magic
- Image from Deep Earth Arts
- Folk Names: Trefoil, Honeystalks, Three-leafed Grass
- Ruler: Jupiter, Mercury
- Element: Earth, Air, Fire, Water
- Types: Red, White
- Magickal Forms: Three leaf, four leaf, and five leaf
- Basic Powers: Protection, Luck, Fertility, and Abundance
Clover was one of the anti-witch plants which protected human beings and animals from the spells of malevolent witches and the wiles of fairies, and brought good luck to those who kept it in the house, or wore it in their buttonholes or hats. Some varieties of clover have three distinctly heart shaped leaves ~ both elements, the number 3 and the shape, contribute to its benevolent reputation.
The shamrock, the form of clover that is synonymous with all things Irish – was known as the shamrakh in Arabic countries and symbolized the triple aspect of the Goddess. A symbol of luck, leprechauns, and wishes, the shamrock is a powerful talisman to carry.
It could be used in love-divination; and to dream of it was very fortunate for young people, since such a dream foretold a happy and prosperous marriage.
Red clover flowers bring good luck in love and marriage matters and are carried in mojos for satisfying conjugal relations and to ensure a happy marriage. White clover flowers protect from evil and bring an end to “crossed” conditions.
In folk magic Red Clover is used in a ritual bath to attract money and prosperity to the bather and is also used as a floorwash to chase out evil and unwanted ghosts. White Clover is used for breaking curses and is worn as a sachet or put in the four corners or a house or someone’s property to achieve this.
If someone has done well in life, he or she is said to be “living in clover.” This probably originates from the fact that cattle grow best when grazing in fields of clover.
Clover keeps snakes away from your property, if grown there. When placed in the left shoe, and then forgotten, clover keeps evil from you. Worn over the right breast it brings success in all undertakings.
If you have been disappointed in love, wear clover near your heart in a piece of blue silk to help you through.
It also protects against madness, strengthens psychic powers, enables you to detect the presence of spirits, and leads the wearer to gold, money, or treasures.
Clover vs Shamrock
The term shamrock is derived from the Gaelic word seamrog which means “little clover.” It is famous as a symbol of Ireland. St. Patrick believed that the three tiny leaves represent the Holy Trinity, which it is all over the place on St. Patrick’s Day.
There is no specific “shamrock plant.” However, most scientists agree that the term “shamrock” refers to Trifolium Repens or the white clover. Others believe that it is also used when referring to Trifolium Dubium or suckling clover. Both species have leaves that are separated into three leaflets, hence the term “trifolium.”
On the other hand, clover or “trefoil” is a common term that refers to any of the 300 species that belongs to the Trifolium family. Trifolium plants like the red clover, white clover, Swedish clover, strawberry clover, and Alsatian clover are small, green, flower-bearing, and herbaceous. They can be short-lived, perennial, or annual.
A clover is trifoliate, which means the leaves are subdivided into three toothed leaflets, although four-leaf, five-leaf, and six-leaf clovers can be occasionally found due to a natural genetic mutation. It is believed that there is only one four-leaf clover in a hundred thousand three-leaf clovers, which is why it is widely accepted as a symbol of luck.
What, then, is the difference between a shamrock and a clover?
“Clover” is a generic term that refers to trefoils, or any of the 300 species that belong to the Trifolium family. These plants have leaves that are separated into three leaflets, but you may find four-leaf, five-leaf or even six-leaf clovers as a genetic abnormality. “Shamrock,” on the other hand, means “little clover” and is used to refer to the white clover species or the suckling clover species. It is also the symbol of Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day.
In conclusion, shamrocks are clovers, but not all clovers are shamrocks. So, that green leaf you see on St. Patrick’s Day? It’s a shamrock and a clover.
Three Leaf Clover
Some folk traditions assign a different attribute to each leaf of a clover. The three leaf clover represents the Holy Trinity ~ Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Alternatively, it represents the Maiden, Mother, and Crone.
The three leafed clover is often used in rituals designed to protect or to keep one looking youthful and fair. As a protection carry one on your person.
To keep looking young, gather dew on May Day morning, just before the Sun rises. Put into this water three clover stalks. Let these steep all day out of the Sun’s rays. The next morning, again before the sun rises, rub a little of the water on your face. Do this every morning until the water is used up. Cover the bowl with a cloth to keep the water clean and store in a place where it will remain untouched until the following morning.
Early Christian proselytizers, such as St. Patrick, used both the shamrock and the clover to demonstrate the three-in-one notion of the trinity ( father, son, and holy spirit). It is also said that snakes will not venture where clover grows, which ties into the idea of St Patrick and his reputation for driving the snakes out of Ireland.
That said, the Irish had imbued the shamrock with meaning before St. Patrick came along. Three-leaf clovers featured prominently in ancient Celtic rituals and folklore (triads and the number three were considered spiritually significant back then, too).
With its three leaves, Clover is a very shamanic plant allowing one to see into and interact with the Otherworld. It is a good talisman of protection and power for traveling out of body and walking between worlds. Never underestimate the magical power of this simple and harmless weed. It also makes a good offering to Mercurial deities and can be burned with incense, added to ritual smoking blend, made into alcoholic brews, or left with a food offering.
Four Leaf Clover
Although all clover has the same magickal properties, it is the rare four leafed kind that is especially powerful. Such a plant, when found, enabled the finder to see fairies, detect witches, and recognize evil spirits. Anyone wearing a four-branched leaf was safe from malicious enchantments and one hidden in the dairy, or barn prevented witches from harming the milk supply or the butter.
If a girl wore a four leaf clover in her right shoe, the first unmarried man she met on her first journey with it would be her future husband, or if not he, then another man of the same name. Another method is to pin the four leaf clover above the front door of her home. Again, the first unmarried man who walks through her door will become her husband.
There is a story in the Denham Tracts of a Northumberland girl who, when returning from milking, saw fairies dancing in the field. No one else could see them, though she pointed them out. She was not normally second-sighted, and it was afterwards discovered that the source of her vision lay in the circular pad she wore on her head to support the milk pail. Among the grasses with which it was stuffed was a four leaf clover.
Four leafed clovers are genetic mutations of the three leafed varieties, and well-known European – American charms, bringing in (and representing) health, wealth, love and luck, and protecting from witchcraft. An old rhyme is as follows:
One leaf for fame,
One leaf for wealth,
And one for a faithful lover,
And one leaf to bring you glorious health,
Are all in the four leaf clover.
The luckiest four leaf clover is one you find when you are not looking for one. The four leaf clover carries all the symbolism of the number 4.
Some people press four leafed clovers in a book, such as the Bible, and keep them in the house. Others carry a dried and flattened four leafed clover in their wallet, to draw money, even going so far as to laminate them to card-stock to preserve them. Jewelers make effigies of them, working these into key chain fobs, brooches, pendants, and rings.
An old legend says that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, Eve took a four leaf clover with her to remind her of the happiness she had enjoyed there. Consequently finding a four leaf clover became a sign of good luck and happiness. Anyone lucky enough to be in possession of a four leaf clover has a piece of the blessed Paradise.
In the seventeenth century, four leaf clovers were sometimes strewn in the path of a bride to provide her with extra protection from evil spirits on her special day.
Four leaf clovers are carried to prevent madness. It is also a popular amulet to avoid military service. Gather the four leaf clovers in the morning, then walk to the nearest hill. As the Sun rises throw one clover to the North, and one to each of the other directions, calling upon the powers of the Elements to protect you, to keep you from getting drafted or whatever your wish is. Then, after finishing the ritual, pluck one more four leaf clover (remember, leave something in payment to the earth for the plant taken) and keep it as a magickal link with the elements.
They are also a frequent image on good luck tokens and they appear on greeting cards and postcards conveying good wishes to the recipient. Some say that four-leaf clovers grant the power to see fairies. In other traditions it is said that they are related to St. Patrick’s use of the shamrock to explain Christianity to the Irish, the cross of Jesus being made up of 4 parts.
The earliest mention of “Fower-leafed or purple grasse” is from 1640 and simply says that it was kept in gardens because it was “good for the purples in children or others.” John Melton, an English writer wrote the following in 1620 about the clover:
“That if any man walking in the fields, find any foure-leaved grasse, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.”
A description from 1869 says that four-leaf clovers were “gathered at night-time during the full moon by sorceresses, who mixed it with vervain and other ingredients, while young girls in search of a token of perfect happiness made quest of the plant by day.” The first reference to luck might be from an 11-year-old girl, who wrote in an 1877 letter to St. Nicholas Magazine, “Did the fairies ever whisper in your ear, that a four-leaf clover brought good luck to the finder?”
Five Leaf Clovers
Sometimes a five leafed clover might be spotted by those who have particularly sharp eyesight. Because the number five combines the feminine 2 with the masculine 3 , it symbolizes marriage or engagements.
The five leaf clover also represents the pentagram or five pointed star and multiplies the blessings of the shamrock by five. The first leaf represents hope, the second stands for faith, the third is for love and the fourth leaf brings luck to the finder. A fifth leaf represents money, but there is no meaning as yet for the sixth leaf and above. Some reports claim six to be fame and seven to be longevity, though the notions’ origination is unknown.
Five-leaf clovers are less commonly found naturally than four-leaf clovers; however, they have been successfully cultivated. Some four-leaf clover collectors, particularly in Ireland, regard the five-leaf clover, known as a rose clover, as a particular prize.
In exceptionally rare cases, clovers are able to grow with six leaves and more in nature. The most leaves ever found on a single clover stem (Trifolium repens L.) is 156 and was discovered by Shigeo Obara of Hanamaki City, Iwate, Japan, on 10 May 2009.
Clover Blossoms For Purification
Here are some ways clover blossom can be used for purification:
- Place two drops clover blossom flower essence in a mister of rose water and mist an interior space to purify the vibrations. You can also mist your body and aura for the same purpose.
- Drink two to three cups white clover blossom tea per day to support physical detoxification. Drink two to three cups red clover blossom tea per day to support emotional detoxification (after abuse, a challenging breakup, etc.)
- Take four drops white or red clover blossom essence under the tongue or in water twice per day to support physical and emotional purification.
- Place fresh clover blossoms in bath water, along with one cup sea salt, for a physical/emotional/spiritual purification bath.
- After space clearing, arrange fresh clover blossoms and soy candles together on a plate and place in a central location in a room. Repeat in each room and area of the home, and light the candles to help set the new vibration in place and to further purify and uplift the energy.
Not a Clover
Because four leaf clovers are fairly rare, an unrelated plant called Oxalis (which has similar looking leaves, but entirely different flowers) is sometimes sold as a substitute for them. At Saint Patrick’s Day, many nurseries sell potted Oxalis as “lucky shamrocks.”
There are a number of plants that look like clover and have three or four leaflets. In particular, Oxalis tetraphylla (also known as O. deppei) has spread from cultivation and can be found living wild in various places. It has four leaflets and is actually known as four-leaf clover in some places.
O. tetraphylla is also known as four-leaf sorrel or Iron Cross, and it does look a lot like a four-leafed white clover. The primary difference is that the center of O. tetraphylla is often tinged with purple – and it does not produce the white flowers we normally associate with white clover.
Marsilea mutica, is another plant that is billed as a variegated four leaf clover, and sold as an attractive and versatile addition to your pond. Each leaf appears to be a perfect 4 leaf clover, and is advertised as bringing the luck of the leprechaun to all who view it. Whether luck and leprechauns are truly drawn to it, I do not know.
- Ruler: Sun, Solar Deities
- Type: Tree resin
- Magickal Form: Beads, Tears
- Magical properties: Inspiration, Attraction, Invocation, Happiness, Celebration, Contact with astral planes and Exorcism.
- Burn for: Protection, Cleansing, Purification, To promote spirituality, To purify quartz crystals and other stones before use in magic.
Copal is a resin from a tree that is indigenous to Mexico, Guatamala and elsewhere in Central America. It is particularly identified with the aromatic resins used by the cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica as ceremonially burned incense.
Copal is burned on a charcoal tablet, to enhance consecration, spell craft, exorcisms and banishings. It can also be powdered and added to other herbs to focus their energies and lend power. You can also get Copal incense, which is powdered copal in stick form.
Copal is still used by a number of indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America as an incense and during sweat lodge ceremonies.
Copal is a natural tree resin that is between two states—it is neither a hardened resin nor sap. Copal resin comes from trees in the Buresa family, which is considered a medicinal tree to the Mayas in southern Mexico.
Several species of Central American trees produce resins known as Copal. In Mexico, a species of pitchy pine, Pinus pseudostrobus, is sometimes called Copal, but in Guatemala today (and historically among the ancient Maya) Copal is a resin from plants in the same Burseraceae family as Middle-Eastern Frankincense and Myrrh. These medicinal trees are traditionally used for clearing the body of diseases and also to keep mosquitos away.
Since ancient times, Copal incense has been considered sacred to the people of Mexico, as well as South and Central America. It goes as far back to the Mayan and Aztec cultures. Mass amounts of Copal resin were burned atop the Aztec and Mayan pyramids as offerings to the gods and deities. In the Mayan ruins, Copal was discovered in the burial grounds, proving its spiritual significance.
Copal Varieties and Variations:
Several varieties of Copal are recognized in historic and modern markets in Central and North America, partly based on what plant the resin came from, but also on the harvesting and processing method used.
- Golden Copal resembles Frankincense, being pale-colored, granular, and lightly fragranced.
- Black Copal is dark, heavily-scented and similar to Myrrh.
- White Copal is the more expensive version, also known as Moon Copal.
Wild Copal, also called gum or stone Copal, exudes naturally as a result of invasive insect attacks through the bark of the tree, as greyish drops which serve to plug the holes. Harvesters use a curved knife to cut or scrape the fresh drops off the bark, which are combined into a soft round glob. Other layers of gum are added on until the desired shape and size is achieved. The external layer is then smoothed or polished and subjected to heat to enhance the adhesive properties and consolidate the mass.
The favored type of Copal is white Copal (Copal blanco or “the saint”, “penca” or agave leaf Copal), and it is obtained by making diagonal cuts through the bark into the trunk or branches of a tree. The milky sap flows along the channel of the cuts down the tree to a container (an agave or aloe leaf or a gourd) placed at the foot. The sap hardens in the shape of its container and brought to market without further processing.
According to Hispanic records, this form of the resin was used as an Aztec tribute, and pochteca traders transported from the outlying subject provinces to Tenochtitlan. Every 80 days, so it was said, 8,000 packages of wild Copal wrapped in maize leaves and 400 baskets of white Copal in bars were brought into Tenochtitlan as part of a tribute payment.
Copal oro (gold Copal) is resin which is obtained by the complete removal of the bark of a tree; and Copal negro (black Copal) is said to be obtained from beating the bark.
Black Copal is favored by rural people for their worship services and is usually sold in the form of substantial disks or balls which are burned on a bed of charcoal.
Copal often has inclusions and is sometimes sold as “young amber.” Sometimes insects will become trapped within the resin, just as they sometimes are found in amber. Copal is easily distinguished from genuine amber by its lighter citrine color, and its surface will become tacky with the application of a drop of acetone.
Copal is popular in magical, healing and spiritual uses. It makes a great meditation incense and increases psychic insight. Inhaling its aroma is said to enhance the powers of clairvoyance. It is also used to provide systematic oracles.
- Divination spells that use Copal can be found here: Divination
Copal is added to many love, exorcism and purification incenses. It’s an important ingredient in many rituals. A piece of Copal can represent the heart in poppets. Many churches use this incense before their ceremonies.
Copal, is a “holy incense,” and can be can used for consecration and anointing of pentacles, athames, wands, etc. by passing these objects through its smoke. It can be burned when one is seeking “divine favors”. Like most resins, Copal is burned or smoldered as an incense during spellwork and/or rituals and needs to be burned on charcoal tablets or discs.
Copal makes for an excellent smudge and is commonly used in sweat lodge ceremonial gatherings. This is a wonderful resin to work with and for creating a mellow, magickal atmosphere to work in.
- A recipe for a Copal Ritual Wash can be found here: Magickal Apothecary
Burn this incense for purification and to contact the spirits of the dead. Mexican churches burn Copal on the Day of the Dead to help the souls of the deceased reconnect with their loved ones on the earth plane.
In its native Guatemala, Copal is a holy incense burned when seeking divine favor. Saint statues and other sacred items are blessed by smoking them in Copal. Passing seed corn through the smoke from Copal that was dressed in sacrificial blood before being burned is said to increase its viability and productivity.
Copal is used by the Maya to induce trances and in rites of divination, such as one where fourteen grains of corn are passed through the smoke, then cast on the ground, and the patterns they make are read to foretell the future.
In the US, Christians recite the 23rd Psalm while burning Copal or speak aloud their gratitude for blessings received.
Copal may also be used to draw attention from the opposite sex.
- Carry a piece of Copal in your pocket or in a charm bag especially when the opportunity to meet someone arises.
- Make a “path of seduction” by sprinkling Copal powder to create an aura of romance.
Grind a lump of Copal into powder using a mortar and pestle, visualizing your desires coming true while you’re grinding. Then either burn the powder, or carry the powder with you inside a locket worn around your neck.
It can be used to ward off negative energy by placing small pieces of Copal in with your crystals and then kept in a special place of your choice or wearing around your neck as a magickal sachet. A “sachet of protection” can be made with a combination of Copal, Frankincense, and Myrrh.
It is said that the familiar scent of White Copal helps the souls find their way back during their annual visit home, which is why this resin often burned during spirit workings and Beltane and Samhain rituals. For purification, spirit and ancestral workings, White Copal also is used to induce concentration and mental clarity. A beautiful resin to bring about peace and happiness.
Copal incense is a wonderful energy tool to use during your meditations. It is linked with the crown chakra, deepening your awareness and encouraging pure thoughts during meditation. Copal also helps to strengthen the auric body, removing all energy blockages. It is particularly useful in times of stress or even for alleviating feelings of depression, because it helps you to shift your mindset.
The burning of Copal is believed to call upon the God Tlaloc and the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue. Both of these dieties were associated with fertility and creation. You can light Copal incense as an offering to this God and Goddess, if you feel connected to their energy. Lighting the incense in their honor will invite them into your space and allow you to tap into the power of creation.
The Metaphysical Properties of Copal:
“Real” amber is millions of years old; but there is also another form of amber, young amber. Copal is a very young form of amber. Real amber is wonderful, but it does have that huge age behind it, experience and wisdom which makes it a little difficult to deal with for beginners, and a lot more expensive on your pocket.
Copal, on the other hand, is YOUNG, and that is the operative word and importance of using Copal in magic charms and potions.
It is still far more alive in many ways, far closer to our own states of being as it is on its road into the many millions of years that are its future. Copal offers a bridge between us now, and the infinity of time where our souls reside.
The young Copal is friendlier, lighter and brighter; and together with the absolute healing/protection of all resin and amber, this YOUTH is what reacts with the energy system of a human being and brings re-charging as well as that expectation of eternal life at the same time.
Copal unites the energizing force of the sun with the grounding, transmutive properties of earth. A powerful yet gentle healer and cleanser, Copal draws out and transmutes negative energy of all kinds on all levels. Copal aids in physical self-healing, emotional healing of depression, and environmental clearing.
Created out of tree blood, its very life force, the material trees use to heal themselves, Copal is a healing treasure. It heals physically, emotionally, and environmentally, clearing and cleansing all negativity and illness that exists around it. It is a powerful yet gentle healer, drawing out negative energy and bringing positivity. This gem dispels disease, revitalizing tissue and encouraging physical regeneration.
Copal opens and cleanses all of the chakras. Highly protective, Copal also aids in the manifestation of ideas to reality. The life force trapped within Copal promotes fertility, and its protective and environmental clearing properties make it a good stone to use to prepare a healing or birthing room.
Copal strengthens the Meridians, and helps to keep us grounded so that we can speak from the heart. It also strengthens our control over our minds. Use Copal with the Solar Plexus Chakra to increase confidence, mental clarity, and creative self expression. A chunk of Copal is perfect for your pocket or for selected energy work.
With the life force of eras long past, Copal links the everyday self to the higher spiritual reality. It aids in manifestation, its electromagnetic properties attracting what it is you focus on. Use pieces of Copal in your manifestation grids or rituals.
Copal for Purification:
Copal incense is completely natural incense that is used to purify the energy of spaces, places and objects. It has a clean, light, woody scent that could be compared to pine or turpentine. One of the best Copal uses is burning it to clear away all the negative energy and make positive changes. It brings a very positive and loving energy that will fill your home with peaceful energies.
Try one of these cleansing methods:
- To cleanse your healing crystal jewelry
Hold the piece and allow it to fully submerge in the smoke. You may notice the jewelry moving in a circle or back and forth. Keep it in the smoke until all movement stops.
- For cleaning crystals:
If you’re using Copal incense for cleaning crystals, hold the crystal in the smoke for a few seconds, rotating it so the smoke bathes all sides of the crystal.
- For clearing spaces:
To cleanse a space, allow the Copal incense to fill the room. If you have a feather fan, encourage the smoke to rise into the corners of the room.
- Folkname: Gilliflower, Jove’s Flower, Nelka
- Type: Flower
- Ruler: Capricorn, Saturn
- Planet: Sun
- Element: Fire
- Magickal Form: Fresh, dried, essential oil
- Basic Powers: Protection, Energy, Happiness
Inhaling the gorgeous scent of the carnation flower will immediately enhance emotions of joy and happiness, so the addition of the essential oil is perfect for incenses and oils to dispel depression and disappointment. Brush flowers down your body to cleanse. After reaching the feet, break the stems to trap and hold the negative energy. This flower also helps relieve the depression of winter.
Keep red carnations on the altar to increase your energy level and to create more optimism in life. Once worn by Witches to prevent untimely death on the scaffold, it is used in power incenses and placed on the altar to produce added energy.
Dry nine red carnations in the Sun, crumble them and separate from the stems. Pour one dram carnation essential oil over them, mix well and smolder on charcoal for a tremendously powerful incense. Produces tons of energy!
Used to remove hexes and negative energy, the carnation is especially good for clearing out love problems. Add white and red carnations or essential oil to bathwater to stabilize your love life. Carnation flowers attract abundance as well, either as a bouquet or in a formula.
Including carnations or carnation oil in a blend for the sickroom is perfect to aid in the mental aspects of healing. If your eyes are bothered, rub them with red carnations – it will help. This belief comes from the biblical legend in which carnations sprang up where the Mother of Jesus’s tears fell as she cried over her son’s crucifixion.
Carnations have a history of being brewed into tea to help reduce stress and restore energy. Carnation tea has also been used to reduce fever and treat stomach aches. In addition to tea, carnation oil is used in beauty products to moisturize skin, minimize wrinkles, and treat skin conditions.
Magickal Carnation Aromatherapy
Raised in hothouses stretched along the Pacific coastline and grown across the border in Mexico, Carnations pop up everywhere and are available all year at fairly reasonable prices. The vast majority of these flowers are, however, useless for magickal aromatherapy.
As has been the case with the rose, carnations have been hybridized to produce the biggest bloom size, longest stems and brightest colors. The scent has been forgotten. Thus most carnations obtained from florist shops are virtually scentless. The red ones are an exception, but even here the spiciness is slight.
So what can you do if you wish to utilize the intriguing energies within carnations? Get yourself some starter plants and grow your own. What better way to ensure that you have a steady supply of these fabulous blooms? Look for short-stemmed red varieties with the heaviest fragrances.
These flowers, which Gerard said have an “escellent sweet smell,” are also smelled, with proper visualization, to bring a spicy love into your life.
Before a potentially exhausting magickal act, inhale the rich aroma of fresh carnation flowers. Accept the flower’s energ into yourself. Add it to your physical store of power which will soon be released from the body during magick.
When you’re suffering through a cold or some other minor illness, keep carnations around your sickbed. Inhale their odor while visualizing yourself in a healthy, healed state. If friends wish to give you flowers, you can always ask for carnations – even commercially grown ones.
- Carnations are the traditional first wedding anniversary flower.
- Carnation is the birth flower for those born in the month of January.
For the most part, carnations express love, fascination, and distinction, though there are many variations dependent on color.
- Green colored carnations are associated with St. Patrick’s Day.
- The pink ones stand for a mother’s eternal love.
- Light red carnations represent admiration.
- Dark red denotes deep love and affection.
- White carnations represent pure love and good luck.
- While striped (variegated) carnations symbolize regret that a love cannot be shared.
- Purple carnations symbolize untrustworthiness.
Carnation symbolism around the world:
- Carnations native to the Near East, symbolize bonds of affection and love, health and energy.
- In Portugal, bright red carnations were used when in 1974 the authoritarian Estado Novo regime was overthrown; therefore, this transition is known as the Carnation Revolution.
- White carnations, in the Netherlands are associated with HRH prince Bernhard. He wore one during World War II and in a gesture of defiance some of the Dutch population took up this gesture. After the war the white carnation became a sign of the Prince, veterans and remembrance of the resistance.
- In France, the purple carnation is a traditional funeral flower, given in condolence for the death of a loved one.
- Along with the red rose, the red carnation can be used as a symbol of socialism and the labor movement, and historically has often been used in demonstrations on International Workers’ Day (May Day).
- According to a popular belief in Russia, white carnations may take away your talent and good luck. Those who want to present a performer on stage with flowers should avoid white carnations. On the other hand, placing a white carnation under the pillow will awake you inspired next morning.
According to a Christian legend, carnations first appeared on Earth as Jesus carried the Cross. The Virgin Mary shed tears at Jesus’ plight, and carnations sprang up from where her tears fell. Thus the pink carnation became the symbol of a mother’s undying love.
Carnation Story and Origins
Carnations are also called pinks because of their spiky petals that look like they were cut with pinking shears. There are several theories about how the carnation got its name. Some believe that it comes from the word coronation because it was used in Greek ceremonial crowns. Others think that it originated from the Latin word carnis, meaning flesh, because early carnations were typically pink.
Carnations scientific name is Dianthus caryophyllus. Some believe the name Dianthus originated from the myth of Diana. There are a few variations of this story. In one variation Diana, goddess of the hunt, was returning from an unsuccessful hunting trip. She stumbled upon a shepherd playing a flute and blamed his music for spoiling her hunting.
In a fit of rage she attacked him and plucked out his eyes. Once she cooled down, she regretted her actions. Where the eyes fell, red carnations grew as signs of innocent blood.
Others believe that Dianthus was named after Zeus, as Zeus in Greek is dios and flower is anthos. Carnations are also referred to as the flower of the gods.
Carnation Holidays and Events:
Red carnations are worn on May Day as a symbol of socialism and the labor movement in some countries, such as Austria, Italy, and successor countries of the former Yugoslavia. The red carnation is also the symbol of the Portuguese Carnation Revolution.
January 29th is National Carnation Day, also known as Red Carnation Day, this day honors the memory of President William McKinley. The carnation was said to be McKinley’s favorite flower, and he always wore one in his lapel. The Columbus, Ohio Statehouse often commemorates by giving discounts at the museum shop for individuals wearing red carnations or dressed in scarlet.
Carnations are often worn on special occasions, especially Mother’s Day and weddings. In 1907, Anna Jarvis chose a carnation as the emblem of Mother’s Day because it was her mother’s favorite flower. This tradition is now observed in the United States and Canada on the second Sunday in May. Ann Jarvis chose the white carnation because she wanted to represent the purity of a mother’s love. This meaning has evolved over time, and now a red carnation may be worn if one’s mother is alive, and a white one if she has died.
In Korea, carnations express admiration, love and gratitude. Red and pink carnations are worn on Parents Day (Korea does not separate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, but has Parents Day on 8 May). Sometimes, parents wear a carnation corsage on their left chest on Parents Day. Carnations are also worn on Teachers Day.
Green carnations are for St. Patrick’s Day and were famously worn by the Irish writer Oscar Wilde. The green carnation thence became a symbol of homosexuality in the early 20th century, especially through the book The Green Carnation and Noël Coward’s song, “We All Wear a Green Carnation” in his operetta, Bitter Sweet.
In Poland, in times of the People’s Republic of Poland, carnations were traditionally given to women on the widely celebrated Women’s Day, together with commodities that were difficult to obtain due to the country’s communist system, such as tights, towels, soap and coffee.
At the University of Oxford, carnations are traditionally worn to all examinations; white for the first exam, pink for exams in between, and red for the last exam. One story explaining this tradition relates that initially a white carnation was kept in a red inkpot between exams, so by the last exam it was fully red; the story is thought to originate in the late 1990s.
But Wait – There’s More:
Carnations have inspired many artists, poets, and authors. British composer Joseph Mazzinghi wrote a song entitled “Ye Shepherds Tell Me”, which told of a beautiful girl wearing a wreath of flowers.
A wreath around her head,
Around her head she wore,
Carnation, lily, lily, rose,
And in her hand a crook she bore,
And sweets her breath compose.
Witches know that ultimate Magick comes from the heart of nature. Forging a strong bond with nature by nurturing house plants is very empowering and can sort out your health too!
The top five plants all remove chemical vapors that build up in the home from paints, cleaners, solvents and other unhealthy things – and they have magickal abilities too as listed below:
- GERBERA DAISY Great to encourage happiness.
- PEACE LILY Encourages harmonious energies and good communication.
- BOSTON FERN Encourages psychic ability and intuition.
- ENGLISH IVY For protection and luck – especially good for newly weds.
- ARECA PALM (or Butterfly or Yellow Palm) For peace and creativity.
- Ruler: Venus, Celtic goddesses
- Type: Herb
- Magickal Form: Oil, Leaves, Powder
- Latin Name: verbena officinalis
This is one of the most sacred fragrances of the Welsh witches, who wore it or burned it to prepare the way for connection with the God and Goddess. Use Vervain in your protection, love, and immortality spells. Grown on the property, it brings blessings of prosperity to the household.
Take Vervain baths to prolong your life and renew hope. Dust your hands with the powder to make sure the one you love will love you back. When worn, it protects from nightmares and lightning. Use to attract wealth. Vervain is an excellent herb for artists; its use before any creative attempt or performances ensures success.
Burn pure Vervain (or mix with equal parts of frankincense) for a fantastic purification incense.
Great for magickal cleansing baths, purification incenses, and personal safety amulets. Best gathered at Midsummer. Hang up on the bed to keep you free of nightmares. Helps soldiers to escape their enemies. Bury in your fields to make the crops bountiful and profitable. Amulets are sometimes given to babies, for it is said to make its bearer a quick learner. Used in many love and protection sachets.
Juice of the Vervain is believed to suppress sexual desire for long periods of time, and is consumed by religious ascetics to make life a little easier. This same juice, if smeared on the body, will enable a person to see into the future.
Verbena vs Vervain
Vervain (Verbena Officinalis) is a flowering plant in the Verbena (Verbenacea) family of plants. Lemon verbena is actually an entirely different plant. Both Vervain and lemon verbena are in the same plant family, but there are many plants in the Verbena family. Not all are used medicinally in the same ways as Vervain.
Verbena actually means “altar plant” because of the use of bundles of twigs that were tied together and used to sweep altars.
- Juno’s Tears
- Herb of Grace,
- Pigeon’s Grass
- Enchanter’s Plant,
- Simpler’s Joy,
- Holy Herb
- Herb of the Cross
- Herb of Enchantment
- Van Van
More About Vervain
The belief that Vervain is a holy and magickal herb is very old. In Norse mythology, it was sacred to Thor, and in ancient Persia to the sun. The Persians believed that people carrying it would receive friendship and affection from everyone they come across. It was called “tears of Isis” in ancient Egypt, and later called “Hera’s tears”. In ancient Greece it was dedicated to Eos Erigineia.
The Romans believed this herb was sacred to Mars, God of War, and so they also believed that Vervain would repel the enemy. Crowns of the herb were worn by envoys sent to other countries, whether they were there for peaceable purposes or otherwise. The ancient Romans also believed it promoted fertility, and kept it in their homes to ward off evil.
It was venerated by the Druids almost as much as mistletoe and, when gathered under the Dog Star with appropriate rites, was used by them for magickal and healing purposes. Vervain was so sacred to the Druids that anyone who picked one had to immediately place a honeycomb on the spot.
In Christian legend, it is said to have been first found growing under the Cross on Calvary, and to have been used to staunch the bleeding of Our Lord’s wounds. For this reason, it was sometimes called the Holy Herb, and was believed to have the power of averting evil of all kinds, arresting hemorrhage, and healing serious wounds.
It had, however, to be gathered with great care, curing certain phases of the moon and while repeating secret words or incantations. If this was not done, its full strength and virtues were lost. One method of gathering it is described in an Elizabethan manuscript kept in Chetham’s Library in Manchester:
The seeker went to the place where the herb grew and said,
All-hele, thou holy herb,
Growing on the ground;
In the Mount of Calvary,
There wast thou found.
Thou helpest many a grief,
And stanchest many a wound.
In the name of sweet Jesus
I take thee from the ground.
O Lord, effect the same
That I do now go about.
While actually plucking it, he said,
In the name of God,
on Mount Olivet
First I thee found.
In the name of Jesus,
I pull thee from the ground.
Vervain, like St John’s wort and dill, “hindered witches of their will,” and guarded its owner from the effects of overlooking and many other misfortunes. Nevertheless, it was sometimes said to be an “enchanter’s Herb,” and witches, if they were often defeated by it, were also supposed to use it in their spells.
In Hungary, it was beloved of thieves because, like moonwort in England, it has power over locks and bolts. If a man made a small cut in his hand and pressed a fragment of the leaf into it, that hand would afterwards be able to open any locked door or chest lid simply by touching it.
In Hoodoo and other folk magic traditions, Vervain is used to make Van-Van oil – this is simply a blend of Vervain and a base oil, simmered and strained. This oil is used to provide magical protection, and clear away evil energies.
The roots hung about a man’s neck when he went to bed kept away bad dreams, and a tea made from the leaves soothed nervous excitement and prevented insomnia. In the Supplement to the London Pharmocopaeia (1837) it is stated that a necklace of Vervain roots, tied with a yard of white satin ribbon, would help to cure the King’s Evil.
Marcellus of Bordeaux mentions a magickal remedy for a tumor in De Medicamentis (XV). A root of Vervain had to be cut in two, and one half had to be hung round the patient’s neck. The other was smoked in a fire. As it dried in the heat, so would the tumor dry up and vanish. A sinister rider to this receipt says that if it was desired to bring the tumor back again, all that was necessary was to throw the smoked portion into a abasin of water. As it swelled with the moisture,m the tumor would return.
It was also used in love-charms and aphrodisiacs. In Germany, a wreath made from Vervain was often presented to a bride on her wedding day, both to bring her good luck and to ensure the fertility of the marriage. In many forms of folklore, Vervain is associated with workings that decrease lust – however, the scent of Vervain is a well-known aphrodisiac. Another way to tap into the aphrodisiac qualities is to place a few seeds of Vervain into a small bag and wear it around your neck.
In addition to matters of the libido, however, Vervain is commonly incorporated as a cleansing herb. Vervain is the best ingredient to use to wash down an altar or temple before attempting magickal work. It charges the space with power and immediately raises the consciousness of all who enter the space. You can brew up a batch of Vervain water to cleanse your magical tools, asperge around a sacred space, or purify your altar for ritual.
- 1 / 2 cup fresh Vervain leaves
- 2 cups boiling water
After your water has come to a boil, pour it over the Vervain leaves in a pitcher or bowl. Allow the leaves to steep for half an hour, and then strain. Use a funnel to pour it into a jar. Use the water for cleansing and purification.
- Patti Wigington
- Encyclopedia of Magickal Ingredients
- The Encyclopedia of Superstitions
- Magical Herbalism
- Latin Name: Ilex aquifolium, Ilex opaca (American Holly)
- Celtic name: Tinne (pronounced: chihn’ uh)
- Known as: Tree of Sacrifice
- Folk or Common names: Holly, Aquifolius, Bat’s Wings, Christ’s Thorn, Holm Chaste, Hulm, Hulver Bush, Scarlet Oak, Kerm-Oak, Holy Tree
- Meanings: Holly actually means “holy”.
- Ruling Planets: Mars and Saturn
- Element: Fire
- Ruler: Sun
- Stone: Ruby, Bloodstone
- Birds: Cardinal, Starling
- Color: Red
- Deity: Lugh, Tannus, Thor, Danu
- Other: The Holly is an evergreen tree.
- Magickal Form: Wreaths, berries, leaves, wood
- NOTE: Holly berries are poisonous!
- Powers: Protection, Anti-Lightning, Luck, Dream Magick
Holly, being evergreen and having red berries, is a symbol of enduring life, and consequently it is considered a lucky plant almost everywhere. It is very unlucky to cut down a Holly tree.
The Holly Tree is one of the Seven Chieftain Trees of the Druids, its very name means “holy.” A Christian myth says that the blood of Christ formed the red berries of the holly. Holly is also associated with unicorns, since the unicorn is one of the Celtic symbols for this tree – the other symbol is the Flaming Spear.
Holly berries represent the blood of the Goddess. Use Holly berries with your favorite spell for female fertility and sexuality. Holly tames wild beasts and wards off storms and bad weather. Since it is a masculine herb, it brings good luck to men. The Romans considered Holly sacred and used it as a decoration during their Saturnalia celebrations.
Holly is sacred to the Winter Solstice, when it is used for decorating. Decorating one’s home with holly was believed to bring protection and good luck to the inhabitants in the coming year. Holly was used for decoration throughout homes with it being used for boughs over entrances to peoples’ homes or formed into holly wreaths that were hung on doors.
Sprigs of holly in the house at Christmastime will bring you good luck. But… be careful not to bring it indoors before Christmas Eve or your family will fall to squabbling. (Bet you wondered why that happened. grin…) Also be sure to burn it on 12th night (January 5th) or the good luck will turn sour.
Holly was the gift of good luck among the Romans celebrating their midwinter festivals. The northern tribes, who eventually brought about Rome’s downfall draped holly over doorways as shelter for friendly woodland spirits who could bring good luck to their houses.
The custom of bringing holly boughs into the home in the depths of winter has its origins in the original pre-Christian idea that its prickly leaves sheltered the fairy folk, who were delighted to come indoors at such a cold time of the year.
The wreaths are very popular around the Christmas / Yuletide season. Placing a ring of holly on doors originated in Ireland since holly was one of the main plants that was green and very beautiful with its red berries at this time of year and gave poor people a means of decorating their dwellings.
Unlike mistletoe, it appears in the Christmas Greenery of churches as well as ordinary houses. In some districts, when the rest of the decorations are burnt or thrown away at the end of the holiday, a holly-sprig is kept, to protect the house from lightning during the coming year.
- Planted near a house, holly repels negative spells sent against you.
- A bag of leaves and berries carried by a man increases his ability to attract women.
- Burn Holly leaves with Blessing Incense to protect the home and draw good luck.
- Place Holly above the door lintel for protection and to invite helpful spirits.
- Carry Holly berries in your pocket for protection.
The Holly tree (of which there are well over 150 species) can grow (albeit very slowly) to be as high as fifty feet and is native to most of Central and Southern Europe. Its white, star-shaped flowers bloom in the Spring and it bears shiny red berries in Autumn which last throughout the Winter season. The leaves of the Holly are shiny, dark green in color, elliptical in shape and have spiny points. In order to produce berries, both a male and a female tree are required. Only the female tree produces berries which, although lovely to look at, are poisonous.
Given its evergreen nature, the Holly represented immortality and was one of the Nine Sacred Woods used in Need-Fires (the others being Oak, Pine, Hazel, Juniper, Cedar, Poplar, Apple and Ash). In ancient Irish lore, it was also listed as one of the Noble Trees of the Grove (along with Birch, Alder, Willow, Oak, Hazel and Apple).
The Holly tree has a fine white wood which was once used in the making of inlays and for walking sticks as well as riding crops. Its leaves are a favorite food among deer and sheep during the Winter months. The wood of the Holly is hard, compact and beautifully white in color, being susceptible of a very high polish.
Magical History and Associations:
Each month of the Celtic Lunar calendar bears the name of a tree. Holly is the 8th Moon of the Celtic Year – (July 8 – Aug 4).
The Holly, a masculine herb, is associated with the element of fire, and is an herb of Saturn and Mars. The bird associated with this month is the starling, the color is green-gray, the gemstone is yellow caingorm, and the day of the week association is Tuesday. Holly is the first moon of the dark half of the year, and the Holly is sacred to both the Winter and Summer Solstices.
Summer Solstice is the time when in mythology, the Oak King is slain by his twin, or tanist, the Holly King, who rules until the Winter Solstice, when he in turn is slain by his tanist, the Oak King. Tanist is related to the tannin found in an Oak tree; Oak and Holly are two sides of the same coin, the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next.
Holly is one of the three timbers in the Chariot Wheel. It represents personal sacrifice in order to gain something of greater value.
The Holly is also sacred to the deities of Lugh, Habondia, Tina Etruscan and Tannus. There are special spirits that dwell within Holly trees: the Holly Man lives in the tree that bears prickly Holly, and the Holly Woman dwells within that which give forth smooth and variegated leaves.
The month of Holly is a good time to do magick designed to help bring about a successful harvest. The Holly has applications in magick done for protection, prophesy, healing, magick for animals, sex magick, invulnerability, watchfulness, good luck, death, rebirth, Holiness, consecration, material gain, physical revenge, beauty and travel.
Dreaming of Holly means you should be mindful of what is troubling you, and picking holly in your dreams means you will have a long life.
Holly also has the ability to enhance other forms of magic. As a symbol of firmness and masculine energy, Holly wood was used by the ancients in the construction of spear shafts, which were thought to then have magickal powers. Uses of Holly in protective magick includes hanging a sprig of Holly in the home all year to insure protection and good luck. Holly is also an excellent charm to wear for protection.
‘Holly Water’ can be made by soaking Holly overnight in spring water under a full moon. This water can then be sprinkled over infants to keep them happy and safe. Holly Water can also be used to sprinkle around the house for psychic cleansing and protection.
A “par excellence” protective herb, it protects against lightning, poison, and evil spirits. When thrown at wild animals it makes them lie down quietly and leave you alone. Holly leaves can be cast around outside to repel unwanted spirits or animals and a Holly bush can be planted close to houses to protect against lightning. Ensure that the Holly has a place in your garden because its presence wards off unfriendly spirits. Do not burn Holly branches unless they are well and truly dead, for this is unlucky.
Holly is considered the male counterpart to the female Ivy. Holly, intertwined with ivy, is traditionally made into crowns for the bride and groom at weddings/handfastings. Holly and Ivy also make excellent decorations for altars.
Holly is also a traditional decoration for Yuletide as in sung in the traditional Yuletide song:
“Deck the halls with boughs of Holly,
fa la la la la, la la la la.”
Even though Holly’s Yule festival greens are traditionally burned at Imbolg, a small sprig us kept for luck and to keep evil away throughout the year. Holly berries were used to predict winter weather. If there were a profusion of berries, that meant it would be a hard winter, because the Goddess was providing extra berries for the birds.
When harvesting the leaves from the Holly, remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take the parts and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. Holly favors red and yellow stones as gifts.
A north country charm to induce dreams of a future mate required the seeker to go out in silence at midnight on a Friday, and gather nine she-holly leaves (the smooth variegated variety). These had to be tied with nine knots in a three-cornered handkerchief, and laid under the pillow before going to bed. The future husband or wife would appear in a dream, but only if complete silence had been preserved from the moment of setting out to gather the leaves until dawn the next day.
The Deeper Meaning of Holly
It is during June that the light of the sun reaches its culmination, and then begins its descent into earth. The Holly speaks to the fierce capacity of the human soul to take the descent into the underworld, bringing inner light into darkness. Thus we can understand the signature of the tree, with its ability to germinate without sunlight, favoring dark, moist conditions that are more strongly related to the downward earth pole. Its stiff, pointed leaves are not unlike thorns or “spears.”
The Holly yields a hard, white close-grained wood that imparts a quality of solidity and impermeability, as it stands in the depths of winter, impervious to cold and darkness with its somber evergreen color.
The Druid initiates developed a sacred alphabet, called the Ogham, based upon the archetypal qualities of trees. The Holly, known in Gaelic as Tinne ruled the eighth moon of the year, or the month of June. The glyph for Holly is that of a spear, meaning literally, “I am a battle-waging spear.”
Of all the trees in the Ogham, the Holly and the Oak are most primordial—they are viewed as two “kings” who exchange leadership on a yearly basis by engaging in symbolic battle. The Gaelic name for Holly—Tinne—is related to the word, tanist, meaning “dark twin.” The Oak King rules from the time the light begins its ascent in December until the summer solstice in June. Holly is the “dark twin” who reigns during the waning light of the year, until winter solstice.
The Holly’s prominence at Christmas is actually meant to represent a culminating experience within the soul life. It is an awakening of the love forces of the heart achieved through a descent into the interior of the self and the earth that comes to fruition during this festival. This understanding is depicted in Rudolf Steiner’s Calendar of the Soul.
Steiner is a modern initiate who incorporated the mystery streams of earlier cultures, including Druidic wisdom. His calendar is a series of 52 runic verses for each week of the year. Beginning at summer solstice, the soul gradually finds its way into an interior reality, moving out of the great cosmic heights. The sense of self coalesces like a seed, with light working into the inmost being, as a purifying and strengthening force. Then, at winter solstice, this light is quickened and shines forth from the heart chakra:
To carry spirit light into
My heart is ardently impelled
That shining seeds of soul
Take root in world ground
And the Holy Word resounds
Through the darkness of the senses
Transfiguring all life.
In subsequent winter verses Steiner describes this activity of the soul as a “heart-high gladness”. It is the inner light of Self-containment gained by living in “spirit depths”—at one with the “world ground.” The soul is so solidly secure and anchored within itself that nothing can assail one’s sense of deep peace. When this consciousness is mastered, the journey inward of the Self is complete. The heart awakens with a streaming of love, gradually seeking its way outward into the sense world again to meet the expansive forces of the light in spring and summer.
We could say that the Holly flower which blooms in outer nature in late spring/summer, blossoms again in the human heart during winter as a force of love. Its nature is a sun force that lives, not in the heights but in the depths of the earth.
Perhaps the most profound archetypal picture of Holly is evoked through its symbolism as the Crown of Thorns. As the traditional Christmas carol proclaims, Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown.
Druid priests wore Holly in their hair while collecting the sacred mistletoe medicine in the winter, Holly was also worn as a crown to represent the Holly King in seasonal festivals. The Holly Crown was a sign of deepest respect and recognition that such an initiate had mastered the forces of nature in harmony with the human soul.
The Holly tree came to be known as Christ-Thorn in middle Europe, for it was recognized that this plant spoke to the archetypal reality of the Crown of Thorns as a soul initiation. The Crown of Thorns is also a kind of “beheading.” The false self must be pressed down with a Crown of Thorns until it finds a deeper truth in the human heart. The “battle waging spear” is thrust not outside, but within.
Holly teaches us that we cannot find love outside ourselves, if it is not anchored from within the human heart. Holly creates what is divine from within what is human. Holly helps the human heart know its own wholeness; its own holiness.
The powdered leaves were brewed into a healing tea for measles, fevers, bladder problems and bronchitis, and the ashes from burning the leaves in a drink soothed whooping cough.
Hot compresses made from the leaves and bark helped ease the pain of broken bones and dislocations. The juice of the fresh leaf is helpful in jaundice treatment. Holly can be used homeopathically as a substitute for quinine.
Note: Holly berries are poisonous!
Holly Folklore and Superstition
Male, or prickly, holly is lucky to men, as the smooth variegated type, known as the she-holly, is to women. If the First Foot on his rounds brings evergreens with him, it is usually holly that he chooses, but in this case it must be the male kind, for the other variety, being female, would be very ill-omened.
Holly branches must never be burned when green. To do this is extremely unlucky, and may cause a death in the family. It is also unlucky in some places to stamp on a holly berry, or to bring the plant indoors when it is flowering.
A well-known country remedy for chilblains is to thrash them with a holly bush “to let the chilled blood out.” This probably does some good by restoring the arrested circulation, but the choice of holly rather than anything else as a thrashing agent is made for magickal reasons.
According to the Celtic mythology of trees, Mistletoe is the tree of the day after the Winter Solstice (Aprox. December 23). In Druidic lore Mistletoe is an herb of the Winter Solstice and is the special plant for the day after Yule.
- Latin name: Viscum Album
- Celtic name: It is said that Mistletoe is too sacred to have a written word.
- Folk or Common names: Donnerbesen, Birdlime, All Heal, Golden Bough, Devil’s Fuge, Thunderbesom
- Parts Used: Leaves, berries, twigs
- Basic Powers: Protection, Love
Mistletoe is a plant of the sun and also of the planet of Jupiter. It is associated with the element of the air. The colors of Mistletoe are green, gold and white, and its herb is hyssop. The gemstones associated with Mistletoe are Black Quartz, Amber, Pearl and green Obsidian. Mistletoe has the immortal creature the Gryphon-Eagle associated with it and also the plain eagle is its bird association. There are many deities associated with Mistletoe: Loki, Blader, Hercules, Shu, Osirus, and Aeneas are a few of those deities.
Romans, Celtics, and Germans believed that mistletoe is the key to the supernatural. Mistletoe will aid and strengthen all magickal works but is best called upon for healing, protection, and beautiful dreams – dreams which will unlock the secrets of immortality. Mistletoe is a good wood to use for making wands, other ritual tools and magickal rings.
The Berries are used in love incenses, plus a few berries can be added to the ritual cup at a handfasting. Boughs of Mistletoe can be hung for all purpose protection around the house. Sprigs of Mistletoe can be carried as an herb of protection – plus amulets and jewelry can be made out of Mistletoe wood as protective talismans.
Hung over the cradle, Mistletoe will protect the child from being stolen by the fey and Mistletoe that is carried will protect the bearer from werewolves. Mistletoe stood for sex and fertility – hence our tradition of kissing under the mistletoe. It is traditionally hung in the home at Yule, and those who walk under it exchange a kiss of peace.
Pick on Midsummer’s Eve, or when the moon is six days old (six days after the New Moon). Wear as a protective amulet, or to help conceive. The wood is often carved into rings and other magickal objects. A good anti-lightning charm. The herb hung anywhere is an excellent all-purpose protective device. Extinguishes fire. Wear as an amulet to preserve against wounds.
Kissing Under the Mistletoe:
Kissing under the mistletoe seems to be a purely English custom, of which no trace has been found in other countries unless Englishmen have settled there at some time. Strange as it may seem to us now, the English were once much given to kissing. Foreign visitors in the 16th and 17th centuries frequently remarked with surprise on the way in which men and women exchanged kisses without self-consciousness, even slight acquaintances and newly-introduced strangers being thus pleasantly greeted.
The last shadow of this old freedom is now cast by the mistletoe bough at Christmas. If a girl stands under it, she cannot refuse to be kissed by anyone who claims the privilege. At one time, the young men had the right to pluck a berry from the bough for every kiss they took.
It was also thought that if a girl was kissed seven times in one day under the mistletoe, she would be married within a year. A girl who stood under the mistletoe but did not receive a kiss was doomed to remain without a husband for at least one year. A girl who gets married without ever having been kissed under the mistletoe will never have children.
Kissing under the mistletoe is not only for lovers. You should kiss anyone and everyone possible while the mistletoe is hanging. This brings good luck to everyone in the house for a whole year.
Mistletoe, the Golden Bough of classical legend, was a sacred and wonder working plant alike for the Celtic Druids, by whom it was ceremonially cut at the Winter and Summer Solstice festivals. Mistletoe is one of the Druid’s most sacred trees – as Ovid said, “Ad viscum Druidae cantare solebant.” (The Druids are wont to sing to the Mistletoe.).
The Druids gathered their Mistletoe at Midsummer or at the 6th day of the moon. The Druid priests or priestesses would wear white robes while gathering the plant and would use a golden knife to cut the plant from the tree.
The mistletoe was caught in their robes to prevent any from falling to the ground, where it would lose its magickal qualities, and so extreme care was taken not to let the plant touch the ground. Two oxen were often sacrificed for the harvest. The Druids considered that the Mistletoe that grew on Oak trees was the most potent and sacred.
For the Norsemen, it was the holy and terrible plant which slew Baldur the Beautiful when all things in Heaven and Earth had sworn not to harm him. But the mistletoe was forgotten because, rooting on trees and not in the ground, it was not in Heaven or Earth, but only between them. Consequently Loki, the trickster, was able to use it to kill the Dun God when all other things had failed him.
It was also the plant of peace in ancient Scandinavia. A bunch hung outside a house denoted a safe welcome within, and if enemies happened to meet under a tree that bore it, they had to lay down their arms and fight no more on that day.
It is said that if a branch or sprig of the mistletoe was cut with a new dirk on Halloween, after the cutter had walked three times round the oak sunwise, it was sure guard in the day of battle, and a protection at all times against glamour and witchery. A similar sprig laid in the cradle protected the child from being stolen by the fairies and replaced by a changeling.
Being a thunder-plant, its presence in a house protected it from thunder and lightning, as well as from witches and evil spirits. In Britain, it was anciently called All Heal, because it cured many diseases, composed quarrels, and was an antidote to poison. It brought good luck and fertility. For all these reasons it was, and remains, an essential part of Christmas decorations in almost every house, though not in churches.
Its strong pagan associations probably caused it to be banned from churches at Christmas or any other season. This prohibition still prevails in most parishes, and if a sprig or branch is accidentally included in the general greenery, it is usually removed as soon as the clergyman sees it. In one Oxford parish several years ago, permission was given to hang a bunch in the porch, but not inside the church itself.
An exception to this rule in the Middle Ages was at York Minster, where a branch was ceremonially laid on the altar on Christmas Eve and left there throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas. A general pardon and liberty throughout the city was proclaimed for so long as it remained there.
In Worcestershire, where it grows very freely, it is said to be unlucky to cut mistletoe at any time but Christmas. Until very recently (and perhaps still in some households), it was usual to keep the Christmas bunch throughout the year for good luck, and then to replace it by a new one on Christmas Eve.
In some districts, sprigs from such a bunch were given to the cow that calved first after New Year’s Day, to ensure the prosperity of the herd in the following twelve months. In Herefordshire formerly, it was unlucky to bring mistletoe into the house before New Year’s morning. It was not included in the Christmas decorations, but was brought in at the time of the Burning the Bush.
To cut down a mistletoe-bearing tree was once considered to be very unlucky. Many stories are told of misfortunes which fell upon those who did so.
A curious tradition relating to the Hays of Errol, in Perthshire, is connected with this idea. The continued existence and prosperity of that family was bound up with an ancient mistletoe-bearing oak growing near the Falcon Stone. So long as the tree stood and the mistletoe grew on it, they would flourish, but, as we read in the verses traditionally ascribed to Thomas the Rhymer,
… when the root of the aik decays,
And the mistletoe dwines on its withered breast,
The grass sall grow on Errol’s hearthstone,
And the corbie roup in the falcon’s nest.
Oak and mistletoe together have vanished now, and the estate no longer belongs to the Hays. Exactly when the tree was cut down is not now remembered, but local tradition says that it was before the lands were sold, and that it was because of that destruction they were lost to the family.
CAUTION: Mistletoe berries are extremely poisonous and have been known to cause miscarriage.
Mistletoe tea was widely believed to cure the falling sickness or epilepsy, and is still recommended by herbalists for that purpose. The plant was also used in folk-medicine for a variety of other ills, including St Vitus’ Dance, heart troubles and nerve complaints, sores, the bites of venomous creatures, and toothache.
Mistletoe can be used as a stimulant to soothe muscles and to produce a rise in blood pressure. It increases the contraction of the uterus and intestine. Mistletoe has been recommended as an oxytocic in postpartum hemorrhage and menorrhagia. It is also used as a circulatory and uterine stimulant. This plant can induce menstruation. It has shown effective in treating tumors in some animals. It is recommended that due to the toxicity of this plant that ingestion of this herb be avoided.
- Magickal Herbalism
- Encyclopedia of Superstitions
- Element (as juice): water
- Element (as berry): fire
- Ritual uses: Yule or Winter Solstice
- Deities: Marjatta (Finnish Goddess), Mars
- Good for: healing, protection, love, lust, positive energy, courage, passion, action
Oftentimes, the cranberry’s beautiful red color has associated it with the planet Mars, and as a result, its magickal correspondences are similar to that of Mars. Because of this, cranberry can be used for protection, positive energy, courage, passion, determination, goals, and action.
These little brightly colored berries look like little jewels and their bright red goodness carries huge protective energy with them – they are a power punch against negative energy. Consider having Cranberry Sauce as part of a protective meal, or drinking cranberry juice or tea while doing magick for anything associated with Mars.
If color were considered as a way of marking the cranberry’s magickal associations, it would be foolish to not highlight the deep, sensual and erotic red color as corresponding to love and lust magick. If you are cooking a meal for a loved one, consider incorporating cranberry into the meal.
You may also want to sip this tea while performing love magick. Simply add two teaspoons cherry juice to 1-cup hot cranberry tea. Stir it with a cinnamon stick clockwise. There is something incredibly comforting and warming about Cranberry, so to show your love and appreciation for your family and friends, consider adding Cranberry sauce or chutney to a dinner. It will bring a feeling of peace, comfort, warmth, good health and love to those who enjoy it.
Depending on how they are used, cranberries will either bond people together during tough times or create hardships that tear people apart.
- Drink the juice with your partner on the dark moon to keep the relationship free of trouble and going strong.
- Place a circle of cranberries around a brown or black candle and call out the names of two individuals who need to be separated while the candle burns. Continue the ritual until you obtain results.
Vanga stated that cranberries of red color symbolize the love relationship. Ripe and juicy cranberry foretells happiness in love; green berries portend upcoming problems with your loved one. According to Freud, cranberry symbolizes your sexual life.
In some cases, cranberry juice or cranberry wine can be substituted for red wine in rituals. Perhaps you will include a bowl of cranberries next to your pomegranate on your Samhain altar to show thanks to the supernatural powers of the bog, the birthplace of the cranberry.
Cranberries can be a lovely attribute to any Samhain or Yule altar. Dried cranberries can be strung on a piece of twine or cord and made into a small wreath to hang over your doorways for protection; they also make good Yule tree decorations. This not only adds a gorgeous contrast of color, but also invokes the protective and healing power of the red berry.
Cranberries and Bogs
The bog is the home of the cranberry, but was also sacrificial stomping ground of ancient societies in Northern Europe. Consider all of the archaeological findings that have been discovered in bogs from Denmark Scotland, England, Sweden, and Northern Germany: daggers, swords, shields, spears, javelins, drinking vessels, sickles, y-shaped dowsing rods and jewelry have all be recovered from bogs.
Also recovered from a bog was the famous Gundestrup Cauldron, a silver cauldron of Celtic origin, which had mythological narratives on it. Even more shockingly, excellently preserved human bodies, which appear to have been victims of sacrifice, have been discovered in bog. It appears that to ancient society, the watery bog was a place of significant importance, where sacrifices and treasures were willingly deposited.
Some researchers and academics have suggested that the bog deposits were offerings for protection, or rituals to bring fertility to the land and well-being to the land’s inhabitants. One cannot avoid the idea of a spooky, dank bog on a cold dark night either. Perhaps it is the fact that the unstable, marshy territory could lead to hazardous falls and injuries. Legend has it that the murky, watery parts of a bog were bottomless, so to step in one meant imminent doom.
Cranberry Lore and Mythology
Hans Christian Andersen shared many stories of the bog, most of which involved witches, elves and fairies. And in English and Welsh folklore, Will-o-the-wisps are said to be glowing lights that would float above the bog. Some believed that they were benevolent fairy or nature spirits that acted as guides to lost travelers; on the other hand, some saw the Will-’o-the-Wisps as ill spirited fairies, dark elves or spirits connected to the devil.
The cranberry has a special place in the hearts of the Finnish and students and admirers of ancient Lapland mythology. The Kalevala, epic legend of Finland, and reputed inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, is a compiled collection of Finnish oral stories that have been sung by Lapland bards for centuries. In the final passage, or Rune, of The Kalevala, we hear of the tale of a virgin Goddess’ encounter with the cranberry.
- Note: Many translators cannot agree on which berry Marjatta actually enjoys in The Kalevala. Translations include cranberry, bilberry, lingonberry, blackberry and strawberry. The original Finnish word used was “punapuola, ” which is indeed a variety of cranberry, though smaller and sweeter than the one grown in Northern America.
Described as a beautiful maiden, Marjatta is a Goddess who is chaste, yet connected with her Northland home. While roaming the forests, she hears the singing of the cranberry, which begs her to eat him. Because of her maidenhood, she couldn’t pluck the berry, but instead used a charm to have the berry rise from the vine and into her mouth. After she ate the berry, she was impregnated. When her family found out of her pregnancy, they did not believe her story of the cranberry and was shunned.
Similar to the story of Christ’s birth, Marjatta gave birth to her sun in a stable in a forest. The heroic god of The Kalevala, Väinämöinen, is summoned to decide the destiny of the baby. When it is told that the child’s father is a cranberry, Väinämöinen sentences the baby to banishment in the forest and seals his death. However, when the baby pleads for his life by pointing out Väinämöinen’s unfair judgement, he is saved. Väinämöinen also recognizes that the son of the cranberry would grow to be his successor: a royal king and mighty ruler.
Some of the American history and lore of cranberries is fascinating as well. Native Americans were very familiar with the cranberry, and used it graciously as food, medicine, and dye. They used the berry to flavor meats, in a poultice to heal wounds and lower inflammation, and as a dye to make deep burgundy rugs. When Dutch and German settlers came to America, they named the berry “Crane Berry.” This name was inspired by the berry’s pink spring blossoms, which were said to resemble the head and bill of a Sandhill Crane.
Although there is no record that cranberries were eaten at the first Thanksgiving, they are often associated with this holiday and symbolize the “earth’s abundance.” It would have been interesting had these berries been shared at the first thanksgiving, however, because in Victorian flower language, the cranberry blossom signifies that the receiver extend kindness to the giver. The cranberry is also seen as a democratic. In England wealthy people pair it with delectable Venison, but poorer people are also able to enjoy it.
Some Thoughts About Cranberry Magick
The tale of Marjatta reminds us of the nutritional value of the cranberry- so fertile and powerful is the cranberry, that it is the vehicle for immaculate conception. Since it is tied to immaculate conception, and the birth of a child who will replace the old King, it can be linked to rejuvenation, reincarnation, and the themes of Yule and Christmas.
Cranberry also has clear links to fertility magick in this context. Spell work aside, the nutritional benefits of the cranberry are worthy enough to be incorporated into a routine diet, as it will aid in overall health and well being.
Finally, it is important to not forget the magick of the bog, the motherland of cranberry. Here, we see cranberry’s tie to the supernatural, mystical, and ancient. In a place where humans and precious objects were sacrificed, there was much value put on the mystical powers of the bog. It is a place where the protection of people and armies, the fertility of land and nature, and the well being of those who visit it, could be determined and sought after through ritual and sacrifice.
Perhaps you will include a bowl of cranberries next to your pomegranate on your Samhain altar to show thanks to the supernatural powers of the bog. Or simply, while cooking cranberries during the colder season or enjoying its fragrance in oil or a candle, you can reflect on the mystical, protective, and fertile powers of the deep red berry.
Dreaming About Cranberries:
When you see or eat cranberries in a dream, it’s generally a sign of good health and a long and happy life. Cranberries can also represent warmth and togetherness which you might be craving right now, given the time of year.
Alternatively, you may be feeling content at present because you have just enough of this in your waking life. Perhaps you are a particularly warm person towards others and you have felt some of that back of late.
If you were drinking cranberry juice in your dream, it’s possible you have too much stress in your waking life and need to dial things back to help you to manage your stress levels better.
Cranberry juice might be an indicator of poor health too. Perhaps you need to rid your body of some toxin that you’re in the habit of feeding it. On the other hand, the dream could be telling you to let go of a thought or feeling that’s doing you no good. You need to flush the negativity and the bad out of yourself before you can carry on as normal.
If you were picking cranberries in your dream- perhaps you recognize the effort you need to put into something before you are rewarded for all your hard work. You know that there are more choices available to you if you do; consequently- you are a hard worker. If this isn’t apparent to you- it might be time to put more energy into your means of income to gain a sense of pride in what you do.
If the berries were spoiled then maybe you recognize that you’ve missed an opportunity in the recent past. With that said, another one might come along- so don’t lose faith.