Plant Magic: Wisdom from the Green World

Whether you live in a city or the countryside, the magic of plants can be found everywhere and sometimes where you least expect it. Be open and explore the magic that surrounds you.

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St. John’s Wort: Magical Faery Horses

St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is also known as Penny-John, rosin rose, and hexenkraut “witches’ herb.” It’s a small, shrubby plant with bright yellow star-shaped flowers. The flowers and buds ooze a red liquid when squeezed or bruised.
        In Ireland, St. John’s wort ranked as one of the seven magical herbs that nothing natural or supernatural could injure. Throughout Europe, it was used to drive away evil spirits and demons. In Scotland, St. John’s wort was used as a charm to ward off witches, enchantment, and second sight. However, to gain second sight, the juice of St. John’s wort, dill, and vervain were combined in an ointment and applied to the eyelids for three days. Although the plant was used as an amulet against faeries, it was also believed to be a plant protected by them.
According to legend, faeries held a great feast on Midsummer’s Eve during which they danced around St. John’s wort plants and splashed them with cowslip wine. The reason for this practice is unknown.
Like ragwort, faery horses were said to use St. John’s wort as a daytime disguise. Stepping on the plant after sunset reputedly caused the horse to rear up and gallop off with the unsuspecting human on its back. At dawn a person would be left far from home with a sprig of leaves in their hands.
Grow St. John’s wort at the front of your house or hang a sprig of leaves on your front door to repel negativity and to invite abundance into your home. Of course, it will also be an invitation for faeries.


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The author of over a dozen books, Sandra is an explorer of history, myth, and magic. Her writing has been featured in SageWoman, The Magical Times, The Portal, and Circle magazines, Utne Reader and Magical Buffet websites, and various Llewellyn almanacs. Although she is a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, she travels a solitary Goddess-centered path through the Druidic woods. She has lived in New York City, Europe, England, and now Maine where she lives in an 1850s farmhouse surrounded by meadows and woods.  


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