Protection

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  • 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.

Magickal usage:

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
World Winter-night
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.

Herbal usage:

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.

Sources:

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.

Magickal usage:

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.

Magical History:

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.

Herbal usage:

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.

Sources:

  • Magickal Herbalism
  • Encyclopedia of Superstitions
  • Dutchie.org

  • 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.

Sources:

Magick is an act of transformation, and ice possesses a strong Magickal power since it is in the process of changing.

Ice Magick is a branch of water Magick that utilizes water in the form of ice to assist and enhance spellwork, and provide another form of energy to manifest a specific, desired result. Ice Magick is similar to water Magick. However with ice Magick, the power of the spell is increased because of the act of freezing the water. When water shape shifts from a constantly moving force to a Solid, its power is the most potent.

Despite being a solid form of water, ice still is fundamentally water, and thus keeps many of the same basic correspondences. However, ice is not associated with all of the same properties as water; it’s mainly used for binding spells and spells that have to do with transformation. Ice is harsh. Ice is cold as stone, and not conductive to life in general. Thus, it’s Magickal properties manifest similarly. The dangerous and unforgiving nature of ice makes it a powerful tool in curses, hexes, protections, bindings, and banishing.

Ice can be used to perform any kind of Magick that induces a change in the spell caster’s inner state, so it can be used to help reveal personal secrets, remember forgotten memories, dispel depression and release stress.

Ice is affiliated with west and is an energy associated with the divine feminine; especially those goddesses who hold dominion over winter such as Skadi and Cailleach in the Norse and Celtic traditions.

Ice Magick is very powerful. It is a neutral, natural force that can be used for positive or negative means. It is therefore important, as it is with any spell, that the caster makes sure of his or her intentions before attempting it.

Remember how beautiful ice can be, as it sends off prisms of light, but also remember that it is very easy to slip on ice. Ice should not be feared any more than wind, rain and storm. The spell caster should approach ice Magick with
respect and reverence.

Collecting Ice For Magick

Water used in ice Magick should always be collected from a natural source when possible. Collect icicles or small chunks of ice from outside and bring them inside. They can be stored in your freezer until you’re ready to use them.

If you don’t have ice where you are, make ice cubes out of clean spring water and add them to your spell or Magickal working. Fill a jar with water from a lake, pond, or stream, collect rain water, or collect snow to melt. If none of the above are possible, moon water made from tap water can be used as a substitute.

Also, if safe and possible, try practicing your ice Magick outside in the snow, or cold winter air. In my personal experience, being outside and experiencing winter while performing ice Magick significantly deepens my connection to the spellwork and enhances the energy behind it.

Ice can be melted to make water for use in Magick and spells or added to the altar during a spell.

How Ice Is Used in Magick

The ice you collect or make is used in the following ways:

  • Freezing water – binding, protection
    (if possible, always freeze the water outside in the moonlight, if below freezing and possible, otherwise a freezer will work)
  • Melting ice – letting go, shedding bad habits
  • Shattering ice – banishing, breaking a bond

Sigil Crafting With Ice

Ice Magick can be utilized to charge and cast sigils.  Here’s how:

  • If casting a sigil to protect yourself:

Place the sigil in the water and freeze it (either outside or in your freezer). As the ice protects the sigil, so are you protected.

  • If casting a sigil to help break a bad habit or situation:

Place the sigil at the bottom of a container then place a large piece of ice or a collection of ice cubes on top of it (freeze the water prior to the spell). As the ice melts, so does your habit or situation melt away.

  • If casting a sigil to break the bond between yourself and a toxic person:

Freeze the sigil in water like you would for a protection or binding, then shatter the ice with as much power as you can muster. As the ice shatters, so does the bond shatter.

  • If casting a sigil to manifest something in you life:

Place the sigil at the bottom of a container and bury it in snow. As the snow melts and seeps into the sigil, so will what you are manifesting seep into your life.

  • To cast a protection sigil:

You can also draw protection sigils in the frost with a warm finger on your house and car windows evoking the energy of the ice to bring frosty protection.

Putting Someone On Ice

Putting a dangerous situation, or person”on ice” is a serious form of protection. Though it will not harm anyone, it will prevent them from interfering in your life or causing you harm.

Write the name of the person or short description of the situation on a small piece of paper. Fold the paper up and place it in an ice cube tray, small plastic container, or freezer bag. Fill it with water and place it in the freezer. Do not remove or thaw it until the danger has passed.

Once the danger has passed, the ice cube can be floated down a river (away from you and your home) or buried in a graveyard.

Making Mojo Ice Cubes

Instead of placing the ingredients you would use in a mojo bag, place them in water in an ice tray or small container (if using crystals, make sure the crystal will not be harmed by the water or ice before submerging). If desired, follow the table for assistance in manifesting the desired result

  • Melt – for letting go.
  • Shatter – for banishing {though I wouldn’t recommend shattering if crystals are being used}
  • Leave frozen – for binding and protection.
Ice Cubes for Love

Ice cubes can also be used for love spells. Freeze water with drops of almond, orange, and lemon extract, and add the cubes to a drink. Serve to a reluctant or shy partner.

Put Problems On Hold

Have a problem you want to stall until your ready to deal with it?

Write the name of your problem on a small piece of paper, fold and place the paper in a small container of water (melted snow or spring water). Place the container in your freezer or outside at night (if the temperature will be below freezing all night and all day.)

Keep the paper frozen in the ice until you’re ready to deal with it. Thaw the ice when you are ready to handle and take action.

Icy Divination

The two main practices of ice Magick for divination are utilizing natural ice outdoors or freezing water in a bowl or cauldron.

  • Natural Ice:

Find a naturally occurring piece of clear ice, the most common being an icicle, and stare deeply into it while clearing your mind. You may see shapes, images, or simply understand concepts regarding what you’re asking or searching for. Remember, dress warmly when venturing outside, and not just for safety in this case. It can be really tricky to relax and concentrate if you are shivering.

  • Bowl or cauldron:

Fill a bowl (preferably black or dark colored) or cauldron with water and freeze. Scry into the frozen surface as you similarly would with liquid water. Answers may come in images, ideas, or sudden epiphanies. This method can also be used to help communicate with the ice and winter deities.

Scrying Ice:

Symbolically, the surface of a body of water represents the veil between this world and the otherworld. So, when water is frozen, the door to the otherworld is closed. But as ice melts during a ritual, the door re-opens and we can look inside.

The surface of melting ice is shiny, and like any reflective surface, is well suited for scrying. One way to do this is to sit in a dark room with a yellow candle burning off to the side, so that the light of the flame flickers on the melting ice.

Ice scrying requires patience — messages will be revealed slowly, as the ice melts. Ice scrying is especially suited for looking into the past, since the frozen water symbolically represents a frozen moment in time. Looking into past lives is possible, as is looking back and trying to remember a forgotten memory. The melting ice represents the releasing of memories from the subconscious mind.

An Ice Altar

Using a bird bath and filling it with water the night before it is going to freeze and/or snow, is a great way to create a temporary shrine to the Cailleach, to lay out sigils in stone or sticks, or even to simply create an altar where you perform your magic outdoors during the winter months.

Winter Blessing Water

You will need

  • Snow
  • Icicle
  • Silver ring or quartz crystal

Select your sacred vessel or bowl to gather the snow in. Bring it inside and place on your altar. Select an icicle from outdoors and place it in the center of the bowl. If you have a sacred symbol that you use to charge your magic with, use the icicle to draw it into the snow. Add a piece of silver or quartz crystal and set it out under the light of the Full moon. Bottle it and use!

Note: If you live in a tropical area, with no access to snow or icicles, Sea Water or Spring Water can be substituted for snow, and an ice cube can take the place of the icicle.

Ice Magick Basics

Ice spells have two phases, the freezing of the water, and the melting of the ice. In some spells, the caster writes a problem on a piece of paper, immerses the paper in water, and freezes the water to put an end to the problem. Those kinds of spells only use one of the two phases of ice Magick.

It is important to remember, however, that problems that are frozen must eventually come back; everything that is frozen must melt. I have found that it is more practical, and more powerful, to use both phases, freezing and melting, in spells.

The freezing of the ice begins the spell, because the caster is already thinking of the spell, and planning the ritual, when the ice is frozen. The process begins as the water solidifies, and the power is released during the ritual as the ice melts. For this reason, I find it most useful to freeze “special” ice for spells.

Also, most ice trays are made of plastic. Holding the frozen water in non-natural plastic is not as effective; Magick is natural, and should ideally involve natural substances. Metal bowls can be used, but the easiest method is to use cardboard coated with wax (so that the cardboard doesn’t stick to the ice). Small paper drinking cups that are coated with wax are ideal, as are frozen juice containers that have been emptied of their contents and washed.

A piece of ice naturally begins to melt when it is left at room temperature, so it works like the burning of a candle in candle Magick, changing itself during the spell, thus releasing its energy to the goal at hand.

It is extremely powerful to encircle a candle with ice and perform a spell. The ice melts and the candle burns — two elements that work in a cooperative way can produce powerful results. Spells that use fire and ice are wonderful for obtaining balance, since they employ the complimentary elements of fire and water.

Also try putting ice in a bathtub while visualizing. This technique is especially suited for spells involving physical
transformation.

Herbs and oils can also be used to enhance ice Magick. An infusion of one or more herbs can be frozen, or essential oils can be added to the water before freezing. When water is frozen, it combines with the element of air, so herbs and oils that are associated with either element can be used. Herbs that work best are ones that, when growing in the natural world, can endure cold and snow, or require cold weather to germinate.

Below is a list of some herbs and oils that work well for ice Magick:

  • Aspen – Communication
  • Pine – Happiness, Exorcism
  • Rose – Love, Healing, Psychic Power, Luck
  • Spearmint – Memory
  • Spikenard – Happiness
  • Willow – Love, Healing, Divination
  • Yarrow – Psychic Power, Love, Courage, Exorcism

Precautions:

By using ice Magick, you will not become immune to ice and cold. Please, please take proper precautions when going out in below freezing weather. Wear snow gear when going out in the snow, especially if trying to utilize the energy of a snowstorm. Use gloves when handling snow and ice outside. Remember the element you are dealing with. Ice is incredibly dangerous. Do not risk life and limb to use ice Magick.

Stay indoors during a blizzard, have proper gear and supplies if hiking in the snow, and by the Gods please do not risk gathering water from under a frozen lake or river. Falling in could kill you. Remember the very first thing I said about ice: it’s harsh, cold, dangerous, and unforgiving. It’s just as dangerous for an ice witch as it is for everyone else.

Sources:

In the hoodoo tradition, the reference to Bats or Bull bats refer to the following:

  • Leatherwing Bats ~ night-flying insectivorous mammals.
  • Bullbats ~ night-flying insectivourous birds, aka Goatsuckers, Nighthawks, or Whippoorwills.

Important Note:

Bats are under devastating ecological pressure from human beings who destroy their habitats, so no reputable spiritual supply house will carry Bat body parts, but Devil Pods (Bat Nuts) can be substituted. Bat’s Blood ink, used in pact-making, was once truly the blood of a Bat, but since the 1920’s, it has been a mere brand name for red ink scented with herbal essences. A recipe for Bat’s Blood Ink can be found here: Magickal Apothecary.

Old time gambling charms:

A bat heart, a whole dried bat, a bat wing, the wing-feathers of a Bullbat, or a drop of Bat blood kept in a vial of perfume are all considered lucky for gambling, especially when wrapped in red flannel or red silk and tied to the upper arm, or carried in a mojo in the arm-pit.

Omens and Signs:

The Bullbat is said by some to portend death if it flies into a house, but folks of European descent say that of all birds, not just Bullbats. Omens and signs associated with bats can be found here: Bat Symbolism, Mythology, and Lore. For information on Bats as an Animal Totem or Spirit Helper can be found here: The Bat.

The Four Bats of Happiness:

In China, the Bat is lucky because the Chinese word for Bat (“Fu”) sounds like the word for “Happiness.” Fortunate is the family that plays host to the four bats of long life, health, children, and wealth. Bat Nuts symbolize happy Bats in China.

Bat Wing Magick:

Bat wing is also the nickname for holly leaves, a plant of good fortune, doubly enhanced by its resemblance to the flying mammal’s wings. And even if the spell calls for an actual bat wing, holly leaves can be effectively substituted.

  • Here is how to make a lucky conjure bag using “bat wings.”

Place a pair of bat wings (holly leaves) in a red conjure bag together with a High John the Conqueror root and a matched pair of lodestones. Sprinkle with lily pollen, if possible, and/or magnetic sand periodically for enhanced power.

Ancient Uses:

In both ancient Greece and Rome, it was thought that sleep could be prevented either by placing the engraved figure of a bat under the pillow, or by tying the head of a bat in a black bag and keeping it near to the left arm.  In Hesse, he who wears the heart of a bat bound to his arm with red thread will always be lucky at cards.

Many other beliefs suggest that bats have the power to make people invisible. In Trinidad there is an old belief that if you drank the blood of a bat, you would become invisible. Tyrolean gypsies have a similar belief, claiming that carrying the left eye of a bat will accomplish the feat. In Oklahoma carrying the right eye of a bat pierced with a brass pin will have the same effect, while in Brazil a person carrying the hearts of a bat, a frog, and a black hen will become invisible.

Bat magic can also be an antidote to sleepiness. In both ancient Greece and Rome, it was believed that you could prevent sleep either if you placed the engraved figure of a bat under your pillow, or if you tied the head of a bat in a black bag and laid it near your left arm. In many parts of Europe, a practice said to ensure not only wakefulness, but also to protect livestock and prevent misfortune is to nail live bats head down above doorways. Not for the faint of heart, this practice was reported as recently as 1922 in Sussex, England and may indeed continue today.

Canadian Indians relate that bat “medicine” can also bring about the opposite effect of staying awake; traditions claim that placing the head or dried intestines of a bat in an infant’s cradle will cause the baby to sleep all day. In a similar vein, Mescalero Apaches believe that the skin of a bat attached to the head of a cradle will protect a baby from becoming frightened.

Bats have also been said to induce love or desire. In Roman antiquity, Pliny maintained that a man could stimulate a woman’s desire by placing a clot of bat blood under her pillow. In Texas, one lovesick suitor was told to place a bat on an anthill until all its flesh was removed, wear its “wishbone” around his neck, pulverize the remaining bones, mix them with vodka, and give the drink to his beloved. A similar love potion from Europe recommends mixing dried, powdered bat in the woman’s beer.

Bat hearts or bones are often carried as good luck charms. Variations on a belief that apparently began in Germany, and have been repeated in the United States, predict that bats bring good luck at cards or lotteries. The prescription is to wrap a bat’s heart in a silk handkerchief or red ribbon and keep it in a wallet or pocket, or tie it to the hand used for dealing cards. Some also believe that tying a silk string around a bat’s heart will bring money.

Another superstition from Germany relates that bullets from a gun swabbed with a bat’s heart will always hit their target. According to the Egyptian Secrets, attributed to Albertus Magnus in the 13th century, mixing lead shot with the heart or liver of a bat will have the same result. Some American Ozark pioneers had another variation of this belief: they carried the dried, powdered hearts of bats to protect them from being shot and to keep wounded men from bleeding to death.

Sources:

The Devil Pod, also known as Bat Nut, is the seed pod of Trapa bicornis, an aquatic Asian plant. Glossy and black, it averages 2 1/2 – 3 inches from tip to tip, and when dried and oiled, its surface texture is similar to that of a chestnut or buckeye.

However, depending on the way it is viewed, this naturally sculpted botanical oddity looks like nothing so much as a leering goat-horned devil, an enraged bull demon, a flying bat, or an alien chupacabra! The illusion of an evil face appears on both sides of the pod, and the two faces are usually quite different in visage.

Also known as:

  • Buffalo nut
  • Bull nut
  • Chinese horn nut
  • Goat head
  • Ling nut

In China, the Bat is a lucky animal, because the name “Bat” (Fu) sounds just like the word for happiness (Fu), so to the Chinese, who know this plant as the Ling Nut, the image it shows is of a Bat and it is considered a lucky food to eat, and an extremely lucky curio to possess.

Although the seed inside the pod is edible when cooked, the Bat Nut’s rarity in the United States and its bizarre shape have led to its use as an offering on altars to some of the darker gods. While it is not native to Africa, Europe, or South America, it would not be out of place on a modern altar dedicated to chthonic tricksters such as Eshu-Ellegua-Legba of West Africa, Hades-Pluto of the ancient Mediterranean, or Maximon of Guatemala.

In the South, folks have long used the Devil pod to ward off evil, and for that purpose they place it above a doorway, facing outward as an apotropaic charm, much in the manner of a Roman Janus or Tibetan door demon. Likewise, it makes a splendid inclusion in mojo bags of the types commonly known as “Jinx Breaker,” “Keep Away Enemies,” or “Run Devil Run.”

Some people also like to carry a Devil Pod in a red flannel bag and anoint it with Uncrossing or Cast Off Evil Oil when they are surrounded by enemies.

Devil Pod is an edible, nutritious food if steamed or roasted like a Chestnut while it is still fresh from the water.

Bats are under devastating ecological pressure from human beings. Bat Nuts are a good and effective substitute for any kind of magick that calls for the use of Bats.

Sources:

  • Planetary Association: Mars
  • Gender: Masculine
  • Element: Fire
  • Deity: Isis
  • Basic Powers: Protection, Purification, Exorcism, Healing.

The ancient Egyptians worshiped onions as gods and always planted them in their gardens. Whether your gods are in your garden or the veggie bin of your kitchen, they have many magical uses.  Use this many-layered food to peel away problems in life and to dispel anger. The onion is also a love food and is said to increase male virility.

  • Red onions promote lust when added to dishes.
  • White onions clear away obstacles when peeled to the core.
  • Use purple onions for power and seduction.
  • Yellow onions dispel anger between friends.

Carve the names of quarreling parties into a yellow onion and keep until it forms roots. At this time, the two friends or family members will begin to recall the positive roots of their relationship and let go of their anger toward each other. Do not get rid of the onion until apologies have been made and accepted. You may then offer the onion to the earth in thanks.

Cut an onion in half and put it under your sink to absorb any negativity in your home or nastiness sent your way and replace every week or two — you’ll be surprised how much it absorbs and how quickly it shrivels. Prick a whole fresh onion with black headed pins and place on a window sill to protect from the evil eye and magical attack. Or, simply braid together onions from your garden and hang them in your kitchen or over your pantry door to protect your home.

Folk healers use onions just like garlic cloves – cut them in half and rub on the afflicted area and then discard. The onion becomes as a scapegoat for the illness. Also, like garlic, onion skins are never thrown out, but burned to attract and keep money. The skins can also be burned for protection and banishing and, when finely ground, can be added to incense blends.

In Hungary, onion skins are burned during childbirth to protect the mother and baby who are believed to be most susceptible to the evil eye and evil spirits at this time. In European folk magic, knives and swords are consecrated by running the blades over the juices of a freshly halved onion – why not use an onion to bless and cleanse your ritual knives before and after use?

Onions are used in the practice of hoodoo/rootwork/conjure and other forms of folk magic in a variety of ways.

  • Red Onions

Red onions are powerful, but some folks say that you have to steal one from a grocery store to get the best use of it.

When cutting red onions, take the skin and turn on the stove top. Burn the onion skins in the flames. Folks burn red onion peelings because they are lucky for the home; because they draw in business to a bar, restaurant, or boarding house; because they keep the law away; and because they help in love affairs.

For the last-named purpose, you can call your lover’s name and say, “Hold him tight to me; make him come under my command,” three times as the red onion peels burn.

Red onion skins can also be used without burning them. They can be added to incense, oils, powders, and even mojo bags.

For peace in the home, bore a hole in a red onion, fill it with sugar, tie a shoe lace around it, and hide it above the door where folks will walk under it.

  • Yellow & White Onions

An old folk remedy for curing baldness is to rub a cut onion on the head. Yellow and white onions are also used to repel and banish a person.

More Onion Magick

If you want to see your future marriage partner in your dreams, all you need do is place an onion under your pillow. If you are trying to determine between two marriage prospects, you should write their names on two onions, place them on a windowsill, and see which one sprouts first.

Onions are very protective. A half onion is kept in the kitchen to absorb diseases and ill-luck. It should be replaced every few days. The onion’s pungent odor is believed to ward off evil spirits. It also provides general protection.

Rub a cut onion on the door frame and on the ground or floor in a line while stating your desire that whatever it is you are trying to repel cannot enter.

If there is someone in your house and you want them gone for good, take an onion, a name-paper for the person and/or a personal effect from the person. Use a knife to make a slit in the onion. Stuff the name-paper and/or personal effect into the onion. Roll the onion out the house and into the street. If the person is known to sit in a specific chair in the house the you can put it there and then slap it to the floor and kick it out the door and into the street. Cussing the person while you do it will make the work stronger.

Another method of banishing someone is to take a cut onion and rub it on the bottom of their shoes, from the heel going to the toes, while telling them to get the hell out of your house.

If your husband is too demanding for sex, take a cut onion and make one pass down your coochie. He will leave you alone that night.

Onions can be used to break up couples. A hollow is made in a large onion and name-papers or personal effects from the couple are placed into the onion, along with items such as black cat hair, black dog hair, and/or red pepper. The onion is then rolled under the home (if the home is up off of the ground), hidden under the porch, or buried near the front of the house where the couple will walk over it. As the onion rots the couple will begin to fight and will separate.

Carrying an onion around with you is said to be good for your health, and ensures that you do not catch a cold. During the plague, onions were frequently hung up in rooms to help preserve good health. Even today, some people will place an onion in the room of someone who is sick, believing that it will help drive the illness away.

Onion Weather Forcasting:

Onion’s skin very thin,
Mild winter coming in.

Onion’s skin thick and tough,
Coming winter cold and rough.

Onion Tips and Tricks:

Keeping a piece of raw potato in your mouth wile cutting onions will stop your eyes from weeping. Holding a matchstick between your teeth also works.

Sources

This information was collected from a variety of sources including the following:

  • Ruler: Mars
  • Type: Spice
  • Magickal Form: ground, whole

Heat producing and fiery chili pepper makes a great lust ingredient. Add to coconut and chocolate to turn up the flames of desire. Place a circle of red peppercorns around a photograph of your lover to keep others away from him or her. Pepper is also used for war and separation spells. Sprinkle white pepper in the corners of a room to overcome anger and dissension. Black pepper and pepper corns can hurt others or give protection. Black pepper mixed with salt and sulfur gets rid of someone you don’t want around. Cayenne pepper makes a good boundary, and can be used to seal a sacred circle protecting those inside the circle from negative or harmful energies.

Many legumes have seeds, called peas or beans, that are lucky. There are also pasture and tree legumes whose leaves and seeds are carried for luck. There is quite a lot of magick and lore surrounding these little packages of energy.

  • Ruler: Mercury
  • Type: Vegetable, seed
  • Magickal form: dried, raw, cooked

Use beans to appease the spirits of the dead. Throw some around the outside of the home if a ghost or poltergeist is bothering you. Beans inspire creativity and communication and can be carried raw in a pouch or cooked and eaten for inspiration.

Here is a list of the different types of beans and their specific properties:

  • Black turtle beans help to jump hurdles and make important decisions.
  • Butter beans reduce stress.
  • Canary beans bring happiness and success in the arts.
  • Cow or black-eyed peas bring luck and increase psychic vision.
  • Cranberry (October) beans attract new opportunities.
  • Fava beans bring power, and make wishes come true.
  • Garbanzos (chickpeas) help beat the competition.
  • Great northern beans bring discovery and insight; they also help to protect plans and keep them secret.
  • Green baby lima beans bring new income.
  • Green split peas are for money or health.
  • Green pigeon beans represent resourcefulness and money.
  • Large lima beans allow expansion and financial growth.
  • Lentils bring peace and financial security.
  • Navy beans increase strength and determination.
  • Oval white beans protect assets.
  • Pink beans bring confidence and romance.
  • Pinto beans open channels and create action and movement.
  • Red kidney beans represent wisdom, love, and healing.
  • Roman beans bring power and precision.
  • Small red beans provide energy and lust.
  • Speckled lima beans create networking opportunities.
  • Tonka beans help in romance, often found in love-drawing mojo hands.
  • Whole green beans attract money.
  • Yellow split peas bring luck and fame.

Two legumes are widely utilized in rituals to cause wishes to come true. The Fava bean is for general good luck wishes, and the Tonka bean is for love-drawing wishes.

Sea Beans

Exotic to the eye, drift seeds, or “sea–beans” are actually seeds from common trees and vines that grow in the tropics. The beans fall from the parent plant, into streams and rivers, to drift with the ocean’s currents until being washed onto a shore thousands of miles from where they once grew. Floating in the sea by the thousands, only the hardiest endure long voyages on ocean currents which may finally bring them to rest on foreign shores. Sea–beans are known as symbols of good luck and longevity.

Sea beans can include the following:

  • Sea Hearts

Heart shaped beans such as Entada gigas found on northern Atlantic shores, and Entada phaseoloides and rheedii from the southern Pacific. Sea Hearts are produced in huge, hanging bean pods, up to six feet long. Sometimes they are found with imprints and lacerations, caused by the teeth of fish and mammals during their voyage. They are impervious to salt water, even after floating in the ocean for several years.

These beans have been fashioned into all sorts of trinkets and useful objects. Sailors carried sea hearts as good luck charms to protect them from sickness and to ward off the evil eye. Seeds were sometimes cut in half, the contents removed and the woody seed coats hinged together. Hollowed out seeds were commonly used in Norway and Northern Europe for snuff boxes, match boxes and lockets.

It is said that a sea heart (also known as fava de Colom) inspired Christopher Columbus to set out in search of lands to the west.

  • Sea Purses

Purse shaped beans such as Dioclea sp. found on Atlantic beaches, and the elusive Australian Dioclea hexandra. Coveted by collectors, Sea Purses and Saddle Beans (Dioclea sp.) are one of the rarest and most colorful of all sea beans found on any beach. Distinct color variations range from butterscotch to solid black.

It was originally grown in Asia, but has drifted to islands in the Caribbean and Central and South America, reproducing there. They are found growing on the Hawaiian Islands where they may have also drifted or, like so many other species, introduced by people.

  • Hamburger Beans

Such as Mucuna sloaneii, urens, and elliptica along with a few south Pacific natives, Mucuna gigantea and membranacea, so called because they look a lot like this popular sandwich.

Seeds from the Mucuna vine are called Hamburger Beans or True Sea-Beans in the United States. In Mexico, they are known as Ojo de Venado or Deer’s Eye. There are hundreds of varieties growing in tropical regions around the globe. They can be brown, red or brindle shades of red and brown.

These beans are members of the pea and bean family that contain toxic, hallucinogenic or medicinal alkaloids and therefore figure in good luck charms.

In the case of the Mucuna bean, the mature beans are considered both aphrodisiac and very protective in Mexico and Central America against the evil eye. Nowadays they are carried for good luck.

  • Vine Seeds

Every collector’s favorite, the Mary’s Bean (Merremia discoidesperma) is a rare find among drift material anywhere in the world and highly prized by drift seed collectors. Named after the Virgin Mary, it is also called the crucifixion bean because of a cross etched on one side of the seed, leading to it being used as a talisman and many superstitions and legends are connected with it.

A woman in labor was assured an easy delivery if she clenched a Mary’s bean in her hand, and the seeds were handed down from mother to daughter as treasured keepsakes. In northern Europe the Mary’s bean was a special find to pious beach-combers. The seed had obviously survived the ocean and they felt it would extend its protection to anyone lucky enough to own one.

In addition to its unique appearance, it holds the record for the longest recorded drift: 15,000 miles., along with some Caribbean Little Marbles and Florida native Bay Beans.

Bay beans (Canavalia rosea) are one of the most common and plentiful of all sea-beans growing abundantly in dunes worldwide. The vines and their pods grow low along the sand and are easy to spot on the berm with long flower-studded runners. These vines protect the dunes by stabilizing the sand along with other plants. The coloration of the beans vary from mottled and swirly browns to different shades of beige.

Little Marbles (Oxyrhynchus trinervius), also known as Black Pearls, are plentiful in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. The parent plant is an aggressive climber in the right conditions. A rare find on North American beaches, as they are not good floaters and few get very far from their parent plant.

  • Shrub Seeds

Shrubs that produce these beans are some of the most resilient plants found. They came from parents growing in inhospitable conditions such as drainage ditches, along barbed-wire fencing and embedded in hard-pack soil with drainage that would kill anything else.

Recurved spines growing on their branches protect the precious seeds from animals that probably shouldn’t be eating them. They include Coral Beans (Erythrina sp) and Grey Nickars (Caesalpinia bonduc) and the less aggressive Brown Nickar (Caesalpinia major).

Grey nickars (aka Sea Pearls) found on east coast beaches of Florida may have washed in from the Gulf Stream or are from plants growing locally. The name nicker comes from an old English word meaning marble. Nickernuts are used for playing pieces in board games the world over.

Far less common than Grey Nickarbeans, and a bit larger, the Brown Nickar comes from similar plants, but have the color of light milk chocolate.

  • Tree Seeds

All trees produce seeds, but not all are considered beans, much less sea-beans. More often the seed pods have flotation abilities, though short as they are since salt water starts to break them down as soon as they get wet.

Guanacaste (Enterolobium cyclocarpum), one of the most beautiful beans of the New World tropics comes from a huge canopy tree. It is a fast growing species and one of the largest trees found in Central America.

The word Guanacaste, which is also the name of the Costa Rican province of Guanacaste, is of Nahuatl origin and means “ear tree.” The coiled, leathery pods resemble the shape of a human ear. Guanacaste seeds have a distinctive brown “eye” and make some of the most striking seed jewelry.

Makha-Mong (Afzelia xylocarpa). This tree grows in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Burma in deciduous forests. In Southeast Asia, the seeds are harvested for medicinal purposes. The seed pulp can be used to make cigarettes, and the bark and seed are used for herbal medicine.

Laurelwood (Calophyllum calaba), also known as santa-maría or false-mamey, this medium-sized tropical evergreen tree is frequently used for reforestation, as a shade tree or a protective hedge. The seeds are perfectly round and coloring runs from light beige to dark brown. At certain times of the year, they can be plentiful on beaches, looking like small ping-pong balls. Polishing brings out their natural coloring.

Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia). In the Caribbean, the pods from these trees are used for fuel and called “woman’s tongue” for the rattling noise they make when the wind blows them. The empty pods are classified as sea-beans but only have a maximum flotation of about a month. The seeds are gathered from pods and fashioned into jewelry around the world.

Large brown beans

Some large brown beans are tropical species that accidentally get distributed worldwide because their pods float. Swept downstream, they make their way to the ocean before the pods fall apart, and when these “Sea Beans” wash up in Northern climes, they are carried as lucky pocket pieces.

Other large brown beans are cultivated as fodder. Their seeds are often mildly toxic, containing DMT compounds or L-dopa, but some find use in local medicine as vermifuges. Most are carried as amulets.

One exception to the “large brown beans are toxic” rule is the greenish-brown Fava bean, which is cultivated for use as a food despite the fact that some people are highly allergic to it. Fava beans are also known as Mojo Beans, or African Wishing Beans and are widely believed to have the power to make wishes come true.

Some large brown beans are drilled through and hung on a cord, often for protection.

Large brown beans are often treated in the same way as other large brown botanical curios like Buckeye, nutmeg, and High John the Conqueror – that is, they are oiled and carried in the pocket as a lucky piece or combined with other curios in a Mojo bag. Sea beans are handled in this way, and in addition to general good luck and gambling luck, being seaborne seeds, they are also said to protect from death by drowning.

Large poisonous brown beans carried as lucky pieces include the following:

  • Entada Gigas: Sea heart, Sea bean
  • Entada phaseoloides: Matchbox bean
  • Mucuna pruriens, Mucuna spp: Cowhage, Cow-itch, Horse-eye nut, Nipay, Ojo de Llama, Ojo de Vaca, Ojo de Venado, Pica-Pica

Small Wild Red Beans and Peas

Many sub-tropical or tropical red beans or red peas are toxic and psychedelic, containing DMT or LSD-like substances. Some are fatal if eaten; others produce a visionary trance or altered state of consciousness. Although local shamans may prepare these dangerous seeds for ingestion, their most common magickal use is in amulets.

One exception to the “red beans are toxic” rule is the kidney bean or red bean well known as food. Like its white, brown, black, and spotted relatives in the Phaseolus genus, it plays an important role in edible bean ceremonies.

Small poisonous red beans crafted into amulets include the following:

  • Abrus precatorius: Abrus a Chapelet, Colorine, Crab’s Eye, Jequerite, Jequirity Bean, Lady Bug Bean, Ojo de Cangrejo, Peronilla, Precatory Pea, Rosary Bean
  • Adenanthera pavonina: Circassian seed, Jumbie, Jumble Bean
  • Erythina spp: Coral Tree, Frijol de Arbol, Gallito
  • Ormosia coccinea: Barakaro, Huayruru, Kokriki, Panacoco, Peonia, Wo-ka
  • Ormosia macrocalyx: Alcornoque, Chocho Grande, Huayruru, Tento
  • Ormosia nobilis: Huayuru Hembra, Mulungu, Tento

Bean Lore

Beans, like many other plants with strong-smelling flowers, are traditionally associated with death and ghosts, and have been so from early pagan times down to our own day.

In ancient Rome, edible beans were distributed and eaten at funerals. Until about the beginning of the 19th century, a similar custom was observed at some, though not all, north-country English burials. When it finally lapsed, a memory of it was preserved in the children’s couplet:

God save your soul,
Beans and all.

During the Roman festival of the dead, held in May, black beans were used in ceremonies intended to placate and ward off ghosts, and in early Greek ritual, the scapegoat who annually died for the people was chosen by means of a black bean drawn in a lottery.

In his Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme (1686) Aubrey mentions a charm used in his boyhood to avert evil spirits, which consisted in saying very quickly, three times in one breath:

Three blew beans in a blew bladder,
Rattle, bladder, rattle.

A very widespread country belief that persisted at least as late as the end of the last century, and perhaps later, was that the souls of the dead dwelt in the flowers of the broad bean. These flowers were still thought to be ill-omened in many districts. Old colliers in northern and midland England say that accidents in the pit occur more frequently when they are in bloom than at any other time.

Cases of lunacy are also thought to be more likely then, for the scent of the flowers is supposed to induce mental disorder, bad dreams, and terrifying visions. A Leicestershire tradition says that if any one sleeps all night in a beanfield, he will suffer from appalling nightmares, and will probably go mad afterwards.

Another very common superstition is that if in a row of beans, one should come up white, it is a death omen for someone in the grower’s family.

A well-known charm for curing warts is to rub them with the white inner lining of a bean pod, and then throw the pod away, or bury it in a secure place. As it rots, so will the wart disappear. This charm has been tried with success in Oxfordshire within the last ten years.

In Ireland, poultices made from the flowers were sometimes used to reduce hard swellings. A former use for the plant, half medical in origin and half magickal, was to make women beautiful. The pods steeped in wine and vinegar, or the distilled water of the flowers, improved the complexion, and so, according to Bulleyne’s Booke of Simples (1562) did a lotion made from bean-meal mixed with cold milk.

In Leap year, broad beans are said to grow the wrong way up. Various dates are given in different districts (in England) as the only fortunate days for setting beans (and peas) but these seem to spring less from superstition than from agricultural custom and the knowledge of local weather conditions. In the northern counties gardeners should:

Sow peas and beans on David and Chad,
Whether the weather be good or bad,

David and Chad refers to March 1st and 2nd, the festival days of St David and St Chad. Farther south, beans are set “when elm leaves are as big as a farthing,” or on certain dates in early May, often connected with local fairs. A limit to the variety of these days seems to be set by a well known rhyme which says:

Be it weal or be it woe,
Beans should blow before May go.

Edible Bean Ceremonies and Celebrations

Edible beans have had religious and magickal associations for millennia. The ancient Egyptians held the red kidney bean sacred, and thus taboo as food. The high priest of the Jews was forbidden to eat beans on the Day of Atonement. Beans were thrown to the spirits of the dead during the ancient Roman feast of Lemuria in May.

Bean soup is eaten to commemorate the dead on All Souls Day in Austria and is also a feature of Jewish mourning feasts. Bean cakes are eaten in Taiwan at the August full moon ceremony. New Year’s luckiness is associated with red kidney beans in many parts of the world including Europe, where the beans are eaten, and in Japan, where priests clap their hands and throw uncooked beans upon temple goers.

Sources:

  • Ruler: Sun
  • Type: Mineral
  • Magickal form: Resin, gemstone, essential oil

While often considered a gemstone, the glowing, warm amber is not actually a stone, but a fossilized resin from ancient evergreen trees. The oldest amber discovered on Earth is about 320 million years old. Imagine the incredibly powerful energy this amber contains!

Before man knew where amber came from, there were many ingenious theories as to its origins. Lynx urine, said some; others believed that it was chunks of the rays of the Sun, set hard in the sea and then washed upon the shore.

Like jet, amber burns easily, and it was for this reason that in Germany it was called Bernstein, meaning “burn stone.” The scent given off by burning amber was believed to drive away evil spirits.

Magickal Uses

The most obvious quality of amber is its old, old, (very old!) energy. With it comes the accumulated wisdom of the earth and its natural kingdom. You can often see little insects trapped in the amber while it started as a tree resin; this gives the amber stone quite powerful magical properties.

Amber is used as prayer beads in Christian and Muslim practice, is also known as the ‘Witch’s Stone’ and is used in Wiccan practice. It is worn for general good luck, financial stability and toward off danger from witchcraft.

Amber beads are perceived as bolstering health, however, not just any amber beads will do. Amber beads carved into the shapes of genitals, whether very literally or just vaguely reminiscent, allegedly provide protection, especially regarding health. Wear or carry as needed.

Due to its strong connection to nature and the earth, Amber is a great stone for grounding our higher energies. Amber can add stability to your life.

  • Amber is known to calm energies, attract love, inspire change and improve wisdom.
  • Wear or carry amber for protection and success.
  • A piece of amber that contains a beetle or fly trapped within its center is said to bring fame.
  • It has been used as a symbol for the renewal of marriage vows and to assure promises.
  • Amber has been said to bring good luck to warriors.

Amber is an Aura cleanser. It glitters like dew drops in the bright sun light. It assists in bringing our higher vibrations in order, dispersing negative energy and clears the surrounding environment. Amber is the stone, which brings about altruism and great wisdom.

Amber allows the body to heal itself by absorbing and transmuting negative energy into positive energy. It emits a sunny and bright soothing energy which helps to calm nerves and to enliven the disposition.

Amber has uplifting energies, and is especially helpful when you are felling weighed down with responsibilities, it is good for people with suicidal tendencies and those who easily get depressed. Helps you find humour and joy. Creates a balance between daily life and spiritual expansion.

Utilise Amber when you are feeling powerless or out of control, to remind you of your inner strength and past achievements. It brings balance and patience and encourages decision-making, promotes a positive mental state and creative self-expression. Its flexibility dissolves opposition.

Amber stimulates memory thus making it a good stone for studying. Amber is used for past life work, divination and scrying. It aligns mental and emotional bodies via its deep orange and yellow colour.

Amber is highly recommended for those who often have to meet challenging situations and at times frustrating atmosphere. It is good for those involved in political life and those wishing to have governmental patronage. Good for those interested in nobler types of deeds and social and humanitarian causes.

Amber is a powerful healer and cleanser that draws die-ease from the body and promotes tissue revitalization. It imbues the body with vitality and has the power to draw dis- ease out of the body. By absorbing pain and negative energy, Amber allows the body to balance and heal itself. Amber alleviates stress.

Add the resin to prosperity formulas and wear the oil for protection or to empower your magickal path. Men may wear amber essential oil to attract lovers.

It cleanses the environment in which it rests and is an excellent mineral for use in purifying birthing and re-birthing rooms. It also acts to purify ones body, mind, and spirit when worn, carried, or used as an elixir.

Cleansing:

Amber should be cleansed after being used for healing to dispense the negative energy it has absorbed. It tends to become cloudy when used for treating negative energy. Cleanse this stone by running it under warm water or charge it over night in a bowl of tumbled hematite. Be careful as this stone will become brittle in sunlight if left out for a long period. It should be kept away from heat or sun.

Properties and Colors:

The color depends on source and impurities. A deep tawny yellow is the predominant color, but it also comes in blue, violet, brown or even black. Amber that is green is colored artificially. Yellow and brown are the most common colors, other colors are extremely rare.

Because amber was once a liquid, sometimes small insects or bits of organic matter can be seen embedded within it.

The fossilized resin ranges from transparent to opaque. Transparency depends on gas bubbles. It is a lighter gem stone and softer than pearl. It becomes electrically charged when rubbed; indeed, the word “electric” comes from the Latin word electrum, which means amber.

Uses in History:

Amber has a rich history and has been used since prehistoric times for jewelry, religious objects, healing, also as amulets and mascots. The Baltic amber, the “gold of the North” is among the earliest-used gem materials.

Amber has a long history of being used in sacred incense and worn as a healing stone by Asian and American Indian cultures for centuries. This organic gem can date between 1 and 360 million years. Archaeologists have found amber artifacts dating back to such cultures as Assyrian, Egyptian, Phoenician and the Greek and Roman periods. It is known by the Persians as the “attractor of straw”, by the Greeks as “sun gold” and derived from the Arab name “al-anbar”.

The Greeks believed that amber was the petrification of sunrays; some even felt that it was petrified tears. They prized amber for the magical properties that electricity exhibited when rubbed. The term electricity is derived from the Greek word, elektron, which is also the Greek word for amber.

In the Far East, amber is the symbol of courage; Amber was considered the “soul of the tiger” in Asian cultures and regarded as the stone of courage. Pieces of amber were carried for protection during long travels, as well as used to treat jaundice.

Egyptians placed a piece of amber in the casket of a loved one to ensure the body would forever remain whole.

It is a sacred stone to both the Native American and Eastern Indians. It has also been used in the fire ceremonies of ancient tribal leaders. It was burned, beginning in medieval days, as a fumigant and as an incense to clear the environment of negativity.

In ancient times it was used as a penicillin-type remedy, ground and ingested or soaked (as in an elixir) and subsequently drunk.

Uses In Healing:

Amber will help relieve a tension headache, place on or around the head. It is excellent at detoxification and protection from radiation, especially x-rays, sun, computers, airport, planes and other people’s energies.

Make an elixir with this stone for wound healing and to apply to all pain issues. It is an excellent natural antibiotic.

Wear amber around your throat to heal asthma and prevent attacks. Minimize and ward off chills by wearing tightly beaded amber necklaces. Amber is believed to absorb body heat and retain it, thus magickally creating a balancing effect.

When used at the solar plexus, Amber will enhance intellectual clarity about your future path. It can stimulate the navel chakra and help in grounding energies into the body.

Amber as jewelry, it can be grounding and stabilizing. Wear for prolonged periods, especially on the wrist or throat, or place as appropriate. If treating babies or children, it is beneficial for the mother to wear the stone first.

It resonates with the throat, treating goiters and other throat problems. It treats the stomach, spleen, kidneys, bladder, liver, and gallbladder, alleviates joint problems and strengthens the mucus membranes. Amber is known to stimulate metabolism and treat skin disorders. It is also a good stone for treating asthma and allergic reactions.

Feng Shui:

Amber is used in the Center/Health position to encourage good health and create balance and calm. Use it in the Northeast area for self cultivation and wisdom, in the Southwest area for partners, love and relationships (use in pairs) and for dispersing negative energy in any room. Use it in any room to also attract change into your space.

Associated Deities:

Amber is thought to be the tears of the Goddess Freya that fell into the sea. It is used to honor her. Additionally amber is used in devotions to Elektra, Greek Goddess of the Sea, Jurate, the Lithuanian Goddess of the Sea, Nehalennia, the Gaulish Goddess of Sea Travelers, Oshun, the African Goddess of Love, Intimacy, Beauty, and Diplomacy, and Amberella, the Lithuanian Goddess of the Oceans.

Honor the Goddess Electra with amber. We get our beautiful amber from the sea. Interestingly, when you rub amber with a soft cloth you will produce static electricity – honoring Electra as you do. Wear an amber necklace or pendant when you are feeling a bit “stormy.” Use it when you need to make things better but you have to use a bit of force to get the job done. Electra will help you.

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“Magic is only unexplained science. Science is explained magic. When I study science, I study magic. When I study magic, I study science.” ― C. JoyBell C.
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