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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in plantmagic
Buttercups: Truth, Lunacy and Faeries

Remember the childhood game of holding a buttercup under someone’s chin to see if they liked butter? The yellow reflection or shine meant they did. In earlier times, this little trick was used to tell whether or not someone was telling the truth. It was also said to determine if someone was jealous or in love with the person holding the flower.

In parts of England, the meadow buttercup (Ranunculusacris) was nicknamed crazies because of the belief that their odor could cause madness. To the contrary, in some areas buttercup flowers were worn in a bag around the neck to cure lunacy.

Even though cows avoid buttercups because of the acrid taste, there was a long-held belief that cows eating buttercups caused the butter to be yellow. On Midsummer’s Eve, garlands were placed on cows to bless the milk. In Ireland, pulling up the buttercups from someone’s field would reputedly make their cows give less milk.

According to legend, faeries drink dew from small buttercups and use the larger flowers for washing their hands and faces. Buttercups were traditionally placed on doorsteps and windowsills on May Eve to protect against faery mischief.

In addition to divination and love, buttercups are associated with abundance, prosperity, and success. Instead of causing madness, the flowers are helpful when coping with unsettled emotions. Also use the flowers in spells to manifest your dreams. Grow buttercups in your garden to invite faeries.

 

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Bloodroot: A Not-So-Scary Plant

The genus name was derived from the Latin sanguis, meaning “blood,” which refers to the reddish-brown or red-orange juice that oozes from the rhizome/root when cut. Bloodroot was used by a number of Native American tribes as a dye for cloth and baskets. It was also an ingredient in war paint. This sweet little woodland plant was also used as a love charm.

The root was used medicinally for a range of ailments. European settlers adopted its therapeutic use and bloodroot continued to be listed as an official botanical drug in the United States until the early twentieth century. Although it is no longer considered safe for herbal medicine, bloodroot is often used an ornamental garden plant. The plant has a threatened or endangered species status in some areas; check vendor sources when purchasing bloodroot.

Magically, bloodroot can be used to release attachments, sprinkle crumbled, dried leaves in a meadow or wooded area. Burn a dried leaf to bolster courage or to add strength to spells. Place a flower or leaf on your altar to aid in divination. For esbat and women’s rituals, place three flowers on your altar or prepare a candle with flower essence. Place a few pieces of dried root in a sachet and carry it with you to attract love or under your bed to enhance lovemaking. If you find bloodroot in the wild, work with its energy and leave an offering.  

 

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Is it Wolf’s Bane? Leopard’s Bane? No Just Arnica

Poor Arnica (Arnica montana) has been misidentified for centuries. During the Middle Ages in German-speaking areas of Europe, it had the folk name wohlverleih, meaning “bestowing wellbeing.” Unfortunately, the name was misunderstood and arnica was called wolfsleiche, which meant “wolf’s corpse.” German mystic and herbalist Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) added to the confusion by calling it Wolfesgelegena.

Its folk name leopard’s bane is another case of misidentification. Arnica looks very similar to great leopard’s bane (Doronicum pardalianches), which was believed to have the poisonous power to bring down a leopard. While arnica does not have the power to dispatch a great cat, Hildegard noted that it was an aphrodisiac and used in love magic.

In addition to love spells, Arnica has other magical qualities. Place a sprig of leaves on your altar to increase and enhance your psychic abilities during divination sessions. Use the seeds for a protection spell. Sprinkle them at the corners of your property as you visualize energy rising and creating a dome of safety. Raising energy inside your home with arnica helps settle restless spirits.

 

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Winter Fairy’s Fire

Because the brilliant, fire-colored flowers of the flowering quince stand in stark contrast to the winter landscape, stories indicated that some type of faery magic must have been involved. Appearing in late winter, the blazing flowers reputedly melted away the snow into drops of crystals and drove away clouds in the sky. At night the blossoms put out a call to every type of elf and faery to come dance and hasten the end of winter.

Although the flowering quince (Chaenomeles japonica) is grown for its beauty the fruit is edible, but not straight off the tree. Since ancient times, the quince was a fertility symbol and often given to new brides. The Romans dedicated the tree to Venus. The fruit became an integral part of marriage ceremonies with the bride and groom partaking of honeyed quince. Eating the fruit was symbolic of consummating the marriage.As part of a hand-fasting ceremony, exchange gifts of quince to symbolize love and harmony in the marriage.

Quince is also a tree of protection. Carry several dried seeds in a pouch for protective energy as well as to attract luck. To remove any form of negativity from your life, burn a small twig or several dried leaves. As for faeries, cut a branch in late winter when the buds appear and put it in water to bloom indoors to attract them to your home.

 

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Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) and sweet goldenrod (S. odora) brighten the autumn roadsides, fields, and meadows. The genus name comes from the Latin solida, meaning “whole,” and ago, “to make” suggesting that goldenrod has been used for a range of medicinal purposes. According to folklore, goldenrod points toward hidden treasure or marks hidden springs. It was also believed that carrying a piece of goldenrod would aid in finding treasure. Blooming at the same time as ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), goldenrod took the rap for causing hay fever until studies showed that its pollen is too heavy to be airborne. Use dried flowers in a sachet for spells to attract wealth and prosperity. Place several sprigs of flowers and leaves on your altar to aid in divination. Cut long stems of flower plumes and place these wherever you need to lift and boost energy. Goldenrod is associated with the element air. Its astrological influence comes from Venus.

 

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Planet and Plant Magic with Jupiter

Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system is a prominent luminary in the evening sky in the northern hemisphere. Planetary energy can be used to enhance magical work especially when combined with the energy of plants. Draw Jupiter’s astrological symbol on a small piece of paper to combine with any part of a plant you use. Carry a clove with you to enhance success. When seeking justice use an acorn or oak leaf in a spell to raise energy. Oak will also help with strength and authority. Use myrrh during meditation to deepen your spirituality. To sharpen your intuition, burn a couple of pine needles. Attract money and prosperity by tucking a sprig of sage into the drawer or cabinet where you keep financial papers. Combine Jupiter’s symbol with a little anise for luck.

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Light Up Your Summer Magic

To paraphrase the wizard Gandalf: the smallest of things can hold a great deal of power and that includes insects. Symbolism, energy, and visualization provide the means to call on their power. Also known as a lightning bug, the firefly is one of the good bugs and a gardener’s friend. The flickering bioluminescence of adult fireflies can turn any backyard into a magical display of twinkling lights. Like many people, I have fond childhood memories of catching and releasing them. Quite naturally, the firefly can aid us anytime we seek illumination and inspiration. Representing hope, it can also help when we need guidance. For spell work, include the firefly when you need to remove negativity or any metaphorical darkness in your life. As an activator, this bug adds power to spells. We can also call on it to get our own energy moving to help us achieve our goals. In addition, the firefly can give our creative expression a big boost.

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