Sunday, December 23, 2012

Basic Magical Herbs: Lesson 6

Welcome to the halfway point! Only 5 more lessons to go, only 15 more herbs until I am finished with the Basic Herbs 101 course on Witch School! Thank you all for joining me on these posts. I hope you are learning as much as I am.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Medicinal Uses: Mild anti-hypertensive, in large quantities can lower blood pressure
The historical (untested) use of Allium schoenoprasum was to expel worms and intestinal parasites, and as a mild antiseptic.
Chinese medicine suggests chives be used for colds, flu, and lung congestion.

Magickal Uses: protection against evil and diseases
This herb quickly gained the reputation of chasing away evil spirits and disease.  For this reason is was planted outside the windows of young children and brought indoors to the kitchen.  It was not uncommon to see Chive bundles hanging from ceilings and tied to bedposts.

Lavender (Lavendula augstifolia)

Medicinal Uses: indigestion, headaches, skin complaints

The essential oil is used for migraines and dizziness, eases toothaches, and used for hysteria. Lavender is antiseptic and useful in salves. The leaf is used against nausea and vomiting. Lavender, rose petals and white wine steeped for two weeks creates an antidepressant.

Because the essential oil is safe in diluted form to use on children, I often use it on the children in my family for sub burns and to help them sleep when anxious. Add a drop to a scarf for them to hold or add a few drops to aloe gel to put on them after a burn.

Magickal Uses: love, protection, purification

Strewn in bonfires at Midsummer, ingredient in love spells, and brings peace and healing into the home.
Used with Sandalwood to make contact with the spirit world.

I've also found lavender used in many bath spells whether for its soothing or aphrodisiac properties. (See more on ritual baths here)
Pictures is a Lavender Bath Spell from The Three Wise Cats. "Use this spell to help ease away the stress and tension of the day. Turn off the lights and turn on some soothing music as you follow the instructions to a calm and relaxing feeling free of stress and tension."
You can purchase this spell on Etsy Here.

A herb used in handfastings as part of the ritual chalice, worn or carried on those participating. Adversely, lavender can be used in protection spells against an abusive spouse.

Lavender Safety Spells
"Allegedly lavender minimizes spousal abuse and cruelty."

Lavender Safety Spell 1
"Add essential oil of lavender and/or lavender hydrosol to your bath."
Lavender Safety Spell 2
"Safety-pin a sprig of lavender within your clothing."

Burning during labor and child birth, and is used by some as part of the herbal blend to preserve placenta. It is also one of the herbs of choice at baby blessings and the oil is gentle enough that it can be used, diluted, on children.

Birth Chamber Aroma Spell
"Diffuse essential oil of lavender through an aroma burner to soothe the mother's fears, welcome the new born, and stimulate emergence. This scent also beckons beneficial fairies."

Yew (Taxus baccata)
Each part of the yew is poisonous except for the skin of the red berry which can be eaten if great care is taken not the break the seed and it spit out whole.

Medicinal Uses: According the Ellen Hopman, Yew is a powerful healer. The Medicinal properties of yew are found in the shoots and bark. The property found in yew, taxol, has been used to treat cancer. It has also been used to treat asthma, bronchitis, epilepsy, indigestion, and rheumatism.

Magickal Uses: Raising the dead, Wands are made from the wood.

Burned to contact spirits of the dead, is the central “world tree” in Celtic ritual, and is a Celtic symbol of stability.

In A Druid’s Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine by Ellen Evert Hopman, the Yew has its own chapter as on of the 5 sacred trees of the Druids.
Yew, called Idad (ITH-ath) was the traditional tree planted at graveyards due to its associations with death and immortality.
The word Ogham of Morainn mic Moin called yew “oldest of trees” because it can live for thousands of years. It is the longest lived tree of the continent of Europe.
Yew is a powerful symbol of death and resurrection because when a “mother tree” dies, she sends up shoots in a circle around her that are technically the same tree.

Slivers of yew wood were burned to purify a place much like sage is used for smudging by the Native Americans.
The Hittites called the yew “eyan” and used it for protection from demons and disease.

Yew was used for dowsing, as the raw material for ritual tools and boxes, and the “yew of resilience” was one of the nine sacred woods used in Celtic ritual fires. It was also used in sacrifices, wreathing a black bull for Hecate, and is also sacred to the fae.

Pictured is a set of Elder Furthark Runes in Yew from GreenWoman Crafts.
"These are beautiful handmade runes. The runes were cut from the same branch of yew; they were sanded and then pyrographed (burnt) with the rune.
The runes are of the Elder Futhark system, and as such include 24 runes. An extra blank rune in case of loss is included.
The Yew tree, is thought by many to be Yggdrasil, the great World Tree of Norse mythology, the yew tree has existed since before the Ice Age. Associated with everlasting life, rebirth and transformation, it is used magically for seeking visions, travelling between worlds and exploring the mysteries of life and death."
You can buy the pictured runes on Etsy Here.

It is said that the druids bath their dead in a bath of yew to bring them back to life. This could be understood literally – perhaps the Druid’s knew of its cancer treating properties – or figuratively as a form of rebirth into the afterlife.

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