Month of the Ivy

Ivy - by Vulkan

Ivy – by Vulkan

Dates:
September 30 – October 27

Latin Name: 
Hedera

Celtic Name:
Gort

Folk Names:
Bindwood, lovestone

Hedera helix (English Ivy) - Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thome; Flora von Deutschland, 1885

Hedera helix (English Ivy) – Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thome; Flora von Deutschland, 1885

Parts Used:
Berries, leaves

Medicinal Uses:
A drachm of the flowers which has been decocted in wine is said to keep dysentery in check.

The yellow berries are said to be good for those who spit up blood, as well as against jaundice.

According to Culpepper, ivy for nerves and sinews should be used externally, never internally.

The tender twigs used to make a salve will aid in healing sunburn.

1280x800_ivy-1508873

Associations:
Dionysus, Kissos, Zeus, Jupiter, Sun, blue, yellow serpentine, resurrection, positive strength of the ego, sacred to Osiris and Saturn.

Magical Uses:
It is carried by women (especially brides) for good luck. It’s also used in charms for fidelity and love.

Wherever you grow it, or wherever it grows naturally, it guards and protects the area from negativity and disaster. However, if the ivy should die and fall off (be especially wary if it is your house), it is said that misfortune is sure to come your way.

Because ivy naturally spirals as it grows longer, it is connected with cycles, resurrection, rebirth. It also seeks light and food sources through many obstacles, associating it with strength.

It has many magical uses such as the general protection, healing, exorcism, and cooperation.

On New Year’s Eve, if you place a leaf in water, and it is still fresh on Twelfth Night (January 5th), the coming year would unfold favourably for you. For the Yuletide season, holly and ivy together make for traditional and beautiful decorations.

Crowns made of holly and ivy are worn by a couple who are handfasting. A crown of just ivy was worn by poets as it is thought that ivy brings divine inspiration. The Greeks in Corinth would also make victory crowns of ivy for those who won at the games held in the city.

Oregano

From wikipedia.org

From wikipedia.org

Latin Name: Organum vulgare

Common/Folk Names: Kekik (Turkish), wild marjoram, winter marjoram, Mediterranean oregano, Mexican oregano, mountain mint, wintersweet

 

From FoodUniversity.com

From FoodUniversity.com

Medicinal Uses:
It has been shown to be most likely effective for riding oneself of intestinal parasites.

Oregano has proven to be high in antioxidants, and in tests, it has shown antimicrobial activity against certain strains of listeria.

In traditional Austrian medicine, oregano consumed as a tea or used topically as an ointment  is used to treat respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and nervous system disorders. This hearkens back to Hippocrates’ use of oregano as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments, along with use as an antiseptic.

From homegarden-journal.com

From homegarden-journal.com

Magical Uses:

Ruled by the planet Venus, the element of Air, and associated with Aphrodite.

Work with it for luck, happiness, tranquility, health, and protection. It can aid you in letting go of a loved one, or deepen existing love.

A crown of oregano worn during handfastings will bring happiness to the partnership. If also worn on the head whilst sleeping, it is said it will aid in psychic dreaming.

Because of oregano’s ability to bring joy, work with it to celebrate joyful occasions, or to bring more joy into your life. Wreaths or bundles of oregano can be left upon the recently deceased’s grave to ensure they find joy in the next part of their journey.

Of course, with all culinary herbs, use it in your food to impart the joy and happiness of oregano to your friends and family. Being easily recognizable as an important ingredient in Greek and Italian cuisine, it conjures up images of large family dinners, all are laughing and telling stories to each other, enjoying each other’s company. Keep these images in mind as you stir that pot of spiced tomato sauce, or as you mix together that olive oil, lemon juice, and oregano dressing.

PBP – Heather

 

Image from grow.ars-informatica.ca

Image from grow.ars-informatica.ca

 

Latin Name:
Calluna Vulgaris

Common Names:
Heather, Heath, Scot’s Heather, Scotch Heather, Froach, Ling

Parts Used:
Flowering shoots

Image from Wikimedia

Image from Wikimedia

Medicinal Properties:
Heather has been used for insomnia, migraines, stomach pain, skin problems, and coughs, and problems that are connected to menstruation. It is considered a mild diuretic, and has antiseptic qualities.
Its use strengthens the heart and raises blood pressure slightly, and has been used to treat heart palpitations.
Used fresh or dry, you can make a heather tea to access its benefits by simmering 4 teaspoons to a cup of water. The dose is a half of a cup per day if drunk.
The flowering shoots can also be added to a bath to tone muscles and sooth rheumatic issues.

Magickal Associations:
The planet Venus, Water, garnet, red, white, Red Grouse, Uroica, Venus, Aphrodite, Erycina, Cybele, Isis, wild passions and their consequences

Magickal Properties:
An flower of the Goddess, it is sacred to Isis. Heather is carried for protection against violent crimes, especially of rape (white heather provides the strongest protection), and for general good luck.

White heather is often used in cases where one is presented with overly passionate, and ultimately unwanted suitors.
Red heather, in turn, aids to stir up the passions, or to begin or end an affair.
Purple is often used for spiritual development.

Sleeping on a pillow stuffed with heather can bring about foretelling dreams of good fortune.

Burning heather and fern together outdoors brings rain.

It is a flower that can open portals between this and the world of the Fae. The Fae of this flower are also especially attracted to people who are shy. It can also be used to conjure the spirits of the dead.

Lastly, it is helpful for those who shape shift, as well as protects against shifters who would cause you harm.

Image from guim.co.uk

Image from guim.co.uk

Month of the Reed

Day Dreaming - David Williams

Day Dreaming – David Williams

Latin Name:  ulmus americana (American Elm); ulmus procera (European Elm) ; ulmus fulva (Slippery Elm)

Celtic Name: Negetal (pronounced: nyettle)

Common Names: Water Elder, Whitten, Rose Petal, Elm, Piss-Elm (because of its nasty smell if green branches are burned)

Dates: October 28 – November 24 American_elm_1a Parts Used: Bark, leaves, wood

Medicinal Uses: Elm has many medicinal uses. Slippery elm bark can be powdered and made into a milk for babies who can’t tolerate cow’s milk. It is made into a tea to help ward off insomnia and upset tummies. It can be used for enemas. It also makes good poultice material for burns, wounds, ulcers, and poison ivy. A tincture can be made of the inner bark and used as an astringent. elmcom08-l Magickal Uses: Being that this tree falls in the time of year associated with Samhain, and the beginning of the dark half of the year, it is associated with the mysteries of death. The hidden roots to all of life can be divined during this time, and we all know what a powerful time Samhain is for divinations. It is associated with custodianship and the role of saviour. Pwyll, the Celtic ruler of the Otherworld was given “The Stone” , one of the four treasures given him to guard. The Stone represents the right of kings and queens to divine power. Hence the Elm being a symbol of Royalty. This is a good month to use music made from flutes or reeded instruments (bagpipes, clarinets, oboes) in your magick. As the Elm is known as the “Elf-friend”, it is a good tree to find, a grove if possible, to sit under and sing. It is thought the wood elves will lose their shyness around dawn and will join in the singing. Small twigs of the Elm can be worn around a child’s neck to produce great skill in speechcraft later in life. It is also connected to the female primordial powers, and is therefore very protective (another good reason for the children to wear it). Twigs can be crafted into small charms to be worn or carried for protection. It holds properties of boldness, fidelity, and regeneration, and is an excellent token of luck to friends who are leaving. When working with Elm in spellwork, the wood provides stability to the spell, helping ensure no crazy fluctuations of energy creating havoc (would probably be a good tree to work with if you are only beginning to practice magick).

Month of the Ash

Latin Name
Fraxinus

Celtic Name
Nion

Common Names
Ash, Common Ash, Guardian Tree, Unicorn Tree

Dates
February 18 – March 17

Constituents
The bark contains amygdalin, has a bitter taste, but no odour. Is astringent.

Before the fruits are ripe, they contain tartaric acid, and after ripening, two sugars: sorbin and sorbit. The latter sugar occurs after fermentation. They also contain parasorbic acid.

The seeds are 22% oil, which is claimed to have killed a child by prussic acid poisoning.

Medicinal Usage
To ease diarrhoea, a decoction of the bark is taken. The same decoction can be used for leucorrhoea (white discharge that signals infection in the vagina) by injecting it into the vaginal canal.
To make use of the astringent quality of the berries, a gargle can be made to help sore throats and inflamed tonsils.
An infusion of Ash berries aids with heamorrhoids and strangury (painful urination that comes out in drops caused by spasms in the urethra or bladder).
Lastly, they are used to be rid of scurvy.

ashmo076-l

Associations
Odin, Yggdrasil, World Tree, divination, Lugh, masculine, Fire, Sun, Bel, Lir, Manannan

Magical Uses
Wands made of Ash are good for general use, and in particular, healing and magics of the Sun.

For luck and fortune, carry a leaf in your pocket. However, although it is a lucky and protective tree, one can find themselves incurring the wrath of the tree if one causes harm a tree.

To be rid of skin conditions such as warts, carry a pin on you (a safety pin would be, well, safe), for three days, then on the third day, the pin is driven into the bark of an Ash tree, where the tree would then gain a knob, and you would be left with healthy skin.

Babes in the British Isles would be fed a spoonful of Ash sap before leaving mother’s bed for the first time as it was thought to prevent childhood illness, disease, and death.
The berries of the tree would also be placed in the cribs of babes to ward of Fae Folk from taking the child as a changeling.

In Northern Britain, young maidens would place the leaves of an Ash tree under their pillows to receive prophetic dreams about the men they would marry.

As it is seen as the World Tree by the Druids, staves would be made of the branches of the tree, so as to have a portable World Tree wherever they may be.

 

Norse Runes – Thurisaz

Thurisaz (pronounced: “thoor-eez-aahs”)

Translation:
Thor, or his hammer, Mjölnir, Thurses (giants), monster, devil or thorn

Meaning:
Magical power, warnings, temptation, chaos, masculine aggressiveness, eroticism, baneful to women, conflicts, disputes, the need to fight against close-mindedness.
When this rune turns up in a casting, it warns of a time when you will be tempted to make a deal with the devil; to gain by dishonest means. There is temptation to be dishonest or disloyal.
It can also mean a battle of wills internally with your unconscious self, being unwilling to expand your consciousness, accept new ideas or ways of thought, or could also mean battles with anger and lust.
There is much willingness to accept illusion for the real thing, to be bound by it, sometimes by fear. It is a time when you must fight to employ wisdom and your conscious mind and win this battle. Though Thurisaz is seen as a thorn, it can be seen as a symbolic weapon, giving you the ability to slash and tear, or build a protective hedge of thorns. With the ability to protect and fight for oneself, the weapon can aid in breaking down  the difficult fear and doubt, like rocky earth, to make way for more a more fertile field able to provide new seeds  what they need to grow well.
You must believe in your own ability to fight now, to be strong and wise, to not give in to your doubting, fearful unconscious.

Merkstave:
When Thurisaz appears upside-down, the aggression/temptation/conflict isn’t major, the fight is soon to be won.

Convers:
A sideways Thurisaz shows that some source of conflict is masking as something good. Be wary.

Magical Purposes:
Thurisaz is generally not a rune employed in magics as it allows for great power, but also great chaotic destructiveness. Women, especially, shouldn’t employ the rune as the aggressiveness is of a masculine variety.

Associations:
Thor, Mjölnir, bright red, fire, masculine, Sapphire, 3, Blackthorn, Houseleek, Mars.

Mugwort

Latin Name:
Artemesia vulgaris

Common and Folk Names:
 Artemis, Artemesia, Common Mugwort, Felon Herb, Muggons, Naughty Man, Old Man, Old Uncle Henry, Sailor’s Tobacco, St. John’s Plant, Witch Herb.

Parts Used:
Leaves, roots.

Herbal Uses:
Mugwort can be used to help promote appetite as it aids in the production of bile. It is also used as a mild purgative. It is most often used as an emmenagogue (to stimulate menstruation) in teas and baths to help regulate menstruation. Also used in a bath, it aids with tired or sore legs and rheumatoid arthritis.
Mugwort was also used to aid in palsies, hysteria and epilepsy, and is quite useful in bringing fevers down.

Magical Uses:
Mugwort has long been used in divination, as a wash for crystal balls and scrying mirrors, placed under or around the crystal ball to aid in psychic work. A tea of mugwort is also drunk before divining. It is also burned with wormwood or sandalwood during any divination. Pillows made with mugwort and slept upon will bring prophetic dreams; leaves placed next to the bed is said to help achieve astral projection.
Mugwort is carried for luck, fertility, protection against malicious spirits and wild animals and fatigue (place leaves in each shoe to gain strength and stamina during long journeys on foot).

 

 

Month of the Rowan



Celtic Name
LuisLatin Name
Sorbus Aucuparia

Dates
January 21 – February 17

Parts Used
Berries, bark

Medicinal Qualities
The  bark of the Rowan, as well as most other tree’s bark, has astringent and tannic properties. The bark would be used in a decoction as a blood cleanser, to treat diarrhea, nausea and upset stomach.

The berries are high in vitamin C, and were used to fight scurvy. The berries were made into jams and jellies; teas for diarrhea, hemorrhoids and urinary tract conditions as the berries have diuretic properties; a gargle of the fresh berry juice aids with inflamed mucous membranes

*Please note that before consuming the berries, they must be cooked as they contain parasorbic acid, a cancer causing compound.

Magical Properties
Associated with masculinity, Mars, fire, Imbolc, Brighid.

Used in protection spells, especially against fire and lightning. It was hung around dog’s necks for increased speed, hung in homes to protect against charms of fire, and protection against fires. The Rowan also has the powers to protect humans and animals alike against baneful spirits. It is also used in healing of the body. Equal armed crosses of Rowan are carried for protection against harm and wands placed above doorways for luck and good fortune.
The trees were planted in churchyards to watch over the dead. Because of the five pointed star you see when you slice a berry in half, it is believed that the tree has the ability to protect against witchery, trickery and enchantment. The tree is also said to bring about more strength through courage.

The Month of Birch

Dates:
December 24 – January 20

Celtic Name:
Beth

Latin Name:
Betula alba

Parts Used:
Bark, leaves

Herbal Uses:
The resinous substance secreted by young shoots and leaves have acidic properties and when combined with alkalies, create a tonic laxative.
To aid with dropsy, gout and rheumatism, make an infusion (Birch Tea). This tea is also valuable in dissolving kidney stones.
And infusion made with the bark can be employed to treating and the ridding of putrefaction. A decoction (boiled in water) will aid skin eruptions and dropsy by bathing the area with the birch bark water.

Magical Uses:
Birch is associated with purification, protection and exorcism, and represents renewal, rebirth and beginnings as it is the first tree after Winter to come into leaf.

To ward off the evil eye, tie a red ribbon on the branch of one of these lovely trees. To exorcise people and animals by gently striking them with the twigs of this tree. The wood was once used to make cradles as the wood would protect the young one within as well as boughs hung over the child to keep them from being enchanted by the Little People.

Birch will also protect against lightening. The branches were marked with ogham and carried for protection in small pouches as well as given to newlyweds for fertility. In Wales, the Birch is a tree of love, and wreaths are made out of the branches and twigs as tokens of love. When beginning a new project or journey, call upon the powers of the Birch as it is also a tree of new beginnings and new view points. Birch rods are used in protection spells and carried to protect from malicious magics (crossing/hexing) or even mundane situations/people.

The Month of Hazel

Dates:
August 5 – September 1

Celtic Name:
Coll

Latin Name:
corylus avellana

Parts Used:
Nuts, leaves, wood, branches

Herbal Usages:
Can be used in the draining and restoring elasticity of lungs. The nuts are a good source of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, fatty acids and protein. The nuts can be powdered and added to mead or honeyed water to help with a cough.

Associations:
Masculine; air; Mercury; Wednesday; Hermes/Mercury; Thor; Fionn; Artemis/Diana; Lazdona; the crane; brown; band-red agate; wisdom; springs and wells; salmon.

Magic(k)al Workings:
One of the nine traditional woods burned in the Belfire by the Druids at Beltaine, burned for wisdom. Known in ancient times as the “Tree of Wisdom”.
Spirit contact, manifestation, protection, prosperity, wisdom, dreams, divination, dowsing, knowledge, marriage, inspiration, wrath, fertility, intelligence, reconciliation, poetic inspiration, anti-lightning charm.
A couple of twigs bound with gold or red thread to form a solar cross is carried for protection and good luck. The mistletoe that grows on Hazel protects you from being bewitched. Sleep under a hazel tree and you will have vivid dreams.

Hazel is sacred to the Fey. A wand made of the wood can be used to call the Fey. Druids used the wands to find ley lines. Forked branches can be used to find water or buried treasure.

Twigs, nuts and branches should be gathered after sunset on Samhain for that is when the magic(k)al power of the tree is at its peak. However, you mustn’t cut Hazel with a knife, but a flint.