Wednesday What Herb Is This – Wormwood

September 10, 2008 at 6:06 pm (Cleansing, Death, Divination, Herb, Magic, pagan, Samhain, Wednesday, Witch, Wormwood)

Wormwood

***Caution!! Wormwood and its related variety known as mugwort, are not only toxic in large doses, but will cause fetal abnormalities!!!! Under no circumstances use either of these herbs if you even suspect pregnancy, or are breast feeding!!

***Warning: the oil is pure poison and should only be used externally! Never take this herb for more than a few weeks.

Wormwood is also known as Absinthe, Green Ginger, Old Woman, Crown For A King.The Common Wormwood grows on roadsides and waste places, and is found over the greater part of Europe and Siberia, having been formerly much cultivated for its qualities. In Britain, it appears to be truly indigenous near the sea and locally in many other parts of England and Scotland, from Forfar southwards. In Ireland it is a doubtful native. It has become naturalized in the United States.

This herb has been known to be in use since 1500 B.C.E.. Dioscorides’ Greek Herbal, written in the first century C.E., calls for its use as a remedy against intoxication. The ancient Egyptians used it for headaches. Wormwood tea is used as a liver remedy to dispel the symptoms of jaundice and to remove depression and melancholy. According to the Ancients, wormwood counteracted the effects of poisoning by hemlock, toadstools and the biting of the seadragon. The plant was of some importance among the Mexicans, who celebrated their great festival of the Goddess of Salt by a ceremonial dance of women, who wore on their heads garlands of wormwood. The ancient Egyptians used it as a vermifuge (to kill internal worms), as did many later cultures, and the name "wormwood" may refer to this property of ridding the body of worms. For protection, Wormwood can be burned in incense or used in potions. French Witches of the Middle Ages rubbed babies with Wormwood juice in order that "they never be too cold or hot for as long as they lived." Early American colonists stored this herb with their clothing to protect the material from moth larvae. To rid the place of fleas; or books of book lice, powder some wormwood seeds and "dust" the area where they are found.

Wormwood has the potentially addictive substance Thujone in it. (The "kicker" in the liqueur Absinthe.) Thujone acts powerfully on the nerve centers, causes delirium, hallucinations,  and in some cases, insanity. The mystique of Absinthe as a drink is helped by the fact that the liqueur has been banned in many countries since the early part of this century. What many don’t know is that Absinthe was hardly the first alcoholic beverage which utilized wormwood – much earlier, wormwood was used in the production of wine and beer. Before hops were introduced in some areas of Europe, wormwood was used to bitter beer. The chemical Thujone which is found in Wormwood appears to be porphyrinogenic, which means that it increases the production of heme in the body. It is possible that this property could make the symptoms of porphyria, which is commonly (and incorrectly, I might add) known as the "vampire disease", much worse. There is speculation now that the artist VanGogh, a notorious Absinthe addict, was also a porphyric, and the two in combination led to his insanity and untimely demise…. Remember that thing about van Gogh’s ear?

*Wormwood is magically associated with the planet Mars and the element of Air. Wormwood is said to be dedicated to Diana in some old witches Grimoires. The genus is named Artemisia from Artemis, the Greek name for Diana. Wormwood is also associated with Isis and the Goddess of Salt. Wormwood is an ingredient in many of the old Flying Ointments. Absinthe has been used in some Magical ceremonies in the past. Wormwood is a classic herb for the Samhain season. In October the wheel of the year stops for a magical 3 day interlude before the feast of Samhain, which ushers in the death and rebirth of the seasonal wheel of the year. At Samhain we place gifts of food on our altars, and out-of-doors, extending hospitality to the disembodied ancestors who are surely among us. We light dark candles and call our dear departed, especially those most recently dead. Wormwood, when added to herbal incense, is an aid in opening the psychic centers. When these centers are open and receptive, we may better communicate with those who have "passed over". Its been written that wormwood and sandalwood (an herb of purification and high spiritual energy) burned together near a gravesite will summon the spirit of the departed. Wormwood is a banishing herb, used to rid a person or an area of anger and negativity.

On Samhain strew it in your ritual fire as a protection against malevolent spirits. Burn it as incense to improve psychic abilities, or wear sachets for this purpose. The tea may be used to enhance prophecy and divination. It may also be carried for protection from the evil eye, and is said to protect vehicles from accidents due to dangerous roads when carried within. Used to remove anger, stop war or inhibit violent acts. Wormwood is burned to gain protection from wandering spirits. Used in divinatory and clairvoyance incenses, initiation rites and tests of courage. It is said to enable the dead to be released from this plane so they my find peace. Wormwood can be used for Magic relating to psychic powers, protection, love, banishing, and calling spirits. Witches have long burned Wormwood to raise spirits. An ancient spell calls for Wormwood to be pounded with the gall of a white bull; then with suitable ritual, a bit is placed into your eyes "to take away all impediments to sight, of both of the mundane and fabulous…" (Don’t try this please). It can be used in divination and clairvoyance incenses. Wormwood can be used in love spells. An Old Love Charm says, ‘On St. Luke’s Day, take marigold flowers, a sprig of Marjoram, Thyme, and a little Wormwood; dry them before a fire, rub them to powder; then sift it through a fine piece of lawn, and simmer it over a slow fire, adding a small quantity of virgin honey, and vinegar. Anoint yourself with this when you go to bed, saying the following lines three times, and you will dream of your partner "that is to be":

"St. Luke, St. Luke, be kind to me,
In dreams let me my true-love see." ‘

In another love spell done to divine the face of your future lover, take dried Marjoram, Thyme, and Wormwood, grind them to a powder and cook them gently with honey and vinegar to make a paste. Anoint your third eye center with the mix and ask three times that a vision of your lover’s face be granted to you in your sleep. Wear the mixture to bed.

Sources:

Alternative Nature Online Herbal
A Witch’s Herbal part of The Celtic Connection
Full Moon Magic Herbs

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1 Comment

  1. Wednesday What Herb is This – Wild Thyme « A Witch In Time…Wandering The Path of Life said,

    […] heart when working hard to achieve one’s goals. Gather Thyme with marigolds, marjoram and wormwood for love divination on Saint Luke’s Day. Attracts loyalty, affection, and the good opinion of […]

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