Thursday, 23 June 2016

Mugwort by Unity

Mugwort by Unity
Artemisia vulgaris

Other names : Artemisia, Witch herb, Old man, Old uncle Harry, Artemis herb, Muggons, Sailors tobacco, Apple - pie, Mugger, Smotherwort, Felon herb, St. John's plant, Mother's wort, Maiden wort.

Planetry ruler : Venus, moon
Sign : Cancer
Element : Earth
Associated deities : Artemis, Diana, Chandra, Hecate.

Magical properties : Strength, Psychic powers, Protection, Dreams, Healing, Astral travel, Feminine energy, Clearing, Divination.

Mugwort is a tall aromatic perennial herb. It is native to Europe and most temperate regions of the Northern hemisphere. The lance shaped leaves are green on top and silver underneath, and it is found growing wild on waste ground, roadsides and hedgerows. It spreads like crazy and if planted in the garden would be best in a large container. The leaves can be collected anytime and the flower buds are best picked just before opening.

Folk Lore :

Mugwort has been used for centuries, it was first mentioned by Pliny who recommended it for 'womens troubles', Hippocrates and Discorides also recommended it for the same purpose.

It has been called 'the Mother of Herbs' in several cultures.

The 13th century Physicians of Myddfai in Wales used it as an insecticide to keep flies away. It was also an important Anglo-Saxon sacred herb,' The Leech Book of Bald' from 10th century Wessex mentions it as the 'eldest of worts/ thou has might for three/ and against thirty'.

Mugwort is used in Chinese medicine as a house protector and in the practise of moxibustion, an integral part of accupuncture where a cone of dried mugwort leaves is placed on the skin and burned to stimulate an accupuncture point.

It is a symbolic plant on the Isle of Man and sprigs of it are worn on Manx national day, 5th July. This is St. Johns day in the old Julian calender. On St Johns eve mugwort is collected and made into wreaths to be worn by cattle and men. Fires of hedge and gorse are lit and the cattle are forced to walk past them, while men and boys jump over the flames to protect the cattle and people from evil spirits for the coming year.

It was also worn by young girls as garlands at Midsummer, while dancing round the bonfires. They were later cast into the fire, again for protection.

The folk name 'St John's plant', comes from the legend that St John wore a girdle of mugwort on Midsummers day for protection, although this may come from an earlier pagan custom.

Mugwort was once used as an ingredient in beer, before hops were discovered. It was also used by sailors at sea as a tobacco substitue when their tobacco ran out, hence the folk name 'Sailors tobacco'.

An 11th century herbal recommended that mugwort root could be hung over the door as a protective charm.

Magical uses :

Mugwort is protective to travellers and is said to protect against lightening, wild beasts, sunburn and poison.

Place a sprig of mugwort in your shoe to prevent tiredness when your going to be on your feet all day, it worked for Roman soldiers on long marches.

Mugwort is one of the sacred feminine herbs that can be used to honour the Goddess in ritual, particulary Artemis, Greek goddess of the moon and patron of women. It works very well with feminine energy and issues.

It is a good addition to incense for divination or to celebrate Midsummer.

As a herb of divination and psychic powers an infusion of mugwort can be used to cleanse crystal balls, scrying mirrors and crystals before use.

Place it under your pillow or in a dream pillow to aid prophetic dreams and deep sleep and to protect from nightmares.

Burn it on your Midsummer bonfires to bring protection for the coming year.

Mugwort makes a good alternative to white sage in home-made smudge sticks for clearing and cleansing.

According to various sources, mugwort can be carried for protection, to increase lust and fertility, to prevent backache and to cure disease and madness !

I've not included any remedies using Mugwort as it should never be taken during pregnancy or by people with asthma, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, diabetes. Some people do drink mugwort tea though to improve their psychic powers before divination work and for astral travel. Please be careful though, I've not tried it myself.


Sources :
Herbcraft - Anna Franklin and Susan Lavender
Kitchen Witch world of magical plants and herbs
Hedgerow medicine - Julie Bruton- Seal and Matthew Seal

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