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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Magical Midsummer’s Day & Saint John’s Wort

Under the category of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” the feast of Saint John was a Christian substitute for the celebrations that were centered on this time of year. The counterparts to Saint John’s Day and summer solstice are Christmas and the winter solstice. In essence, Jesus and Saint John took the place of the oak and holly kings. Midsummer’s Day is part of the celebrations that occur around the times of the summer solstice. Falling midway between planting and harvest, it marks the middle of the growing season. One form of love divination was to pluck a flower of Saint John’s wort on Midsummer’s Eve. If it was still fresh and not wilted in the morning, one’s marriage prospects were good.


Saint John’s wort is recognizable for its bright yellow, star-shaped flowers that grow in clusters at the ends of branches. They have a light, lemon-like scent. You may find several types of Saint John’s wort at garden centers, but Hypericum perforatum is the one that is used medicinally. The folk name “rosin rose” comes from a characteristic of the flowers and buds, which ooze a red liquid that resembles rosin when they are squeezed or bruised. This plant has a long history in medicine and magic that dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans.


Traditionally, a sprig of Saint John’s wort was hung above a doorway to protect a house from evil as well as lightning. Its folk name “chase-devil” comes from the belief that it could ward-off evil and prevents attacks from demons. During the Middle Ages, monks used this plant for exorcisms. It is thought that the attribute of chasing away evil spirits or demons from a person may have come from the plant’s ability to alleviate depression. Saint John’s wort is effective for dealing with anxiety, nervous tension, stress, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It is not an instant cure and usually takes 2 to 3 weeks for its effect to become apparent.


Topically, an infusion of the flowers reduces the inflammation of eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis. It can relieve insect bites and soothe burns and bruises.


Saint John’s Wort Soothing Red Oil

¾ cup fresh flowers, leaves, and buds, coarsely chopped

1 pint oil

Place the herbs in a clear glass jar and slowly pour in the oil. Gently swirl the contents to mix. Keep the jar where it will stay at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks. The oil will turn a rich, deep red color. Strain and bottle.


For magical purposes, grow Saint John’s wort near your front door or hang a sprig over it to repel negativity and invite abundance into your home. Burn dried leaves in a fireplace or cauldron and let its pungent smoke purify your house and/or ritual area. Burning the leaves also prevents enchantments. Use the flowers in love charms and spells to aid fertility.

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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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