Magical Uses: A whole mandrake root,
placed on the mantel in the home, will give
the house protection, fertility, and prosperity. Mandrake is also hung on the head-
board for protection during sleep, carried to attract love, and worn to prevent contraction of illnesses. Where there is mandrake, demons cannot reside, and so the
root is used in exorcism. To “activate” a dried mandrake root (i.e.,
to bring its powers out of hibernation),
place it in some prominent location in the
house and leave it there undisturbed for
three days. Then place it in warm water and leave overnight. Afterwards, the root is
activated and may be used in any magical
practice. The water in which the root has
bathed can be sprinkled at the windows
and doors of the house to protect it, or
onto people to purify them. The mandrake has also long served as a poppet in image magic, but its extreme
scarcity and high cost usually forces the
Magician and Witch to look for substitutes;
ash roots, apples, the root of the briony, the American may-apple and many others
have been used. Money placed beside a mandrake root
(especially silver coins) is said to double,
and the scent of the mandrake causes sleep.
(from Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham)
I am feeling sappy about my old costumes, and how I somehow manage to like (some) of them even today, after making the costumes years ago. Sure, I would make some things differently now, but I’m still pretty ok about how my Flemeth (Dragon Age II) turned out. Hope to get to wear it sometime again.
All of the tarot and oracle cards I’ve bought so far this year. I’m making this post now as I think my collection is as complete as it’s going to get for the time being. I finally got all of the decks on my wishlist and the only remaining ones I’m interested in haven’t been released yet.
This is a list of some of the most confusing plants to identify, with dangerous evil twins (although they may be good for curses). Remember not to eat ANYTHING in the wild unless you’re 100% certain what it is. It’s especially important for us hedge witches who tend to forage vs grow and all kinds of nature witches to know what we’re picking.
Sweet almonds vs. Bitter almonds
The sweet almonds that are bought, sold, and enjoyed in the U.S. and in most countries have only a negligible amount of cyanide in them, but bitter almonds—which are shorter and wider than their sweet cousins—can contain 42 times as much. This high cyanide content means that children can be fatally poisoned by eating just five to ten bitter almonds, and adults by eating around 50. Even a handful of bitter almonds can lead to dizziness or vertigo, weakness, difficulty breathing, and numerous other symptoms in adults
Wild grapes VS. Moonseed
Menispermum canadense, or “Canadian moonseed,” produces fruit so similar in appearance to grapes and other pleasant edibles that it can blend in with the Vitis bunch if you’re not careful. The plant is toxic for humans from root to leaf-tip, and its moonseed berries—which have a single, crescent-shaped seed each, unlike grapes’ round ones—can easily prove fatal when eaten due to their toxic lode of dauricine. Moonseeds also reportedly taste just awful (generally speaking, this is a good sign you should spit something out).
Carrot, parsnips vs hemlock
The above-ground plants of wild carrots (Daucus carota, widely known as Queen Anne’s Lace) and parsnips (Pastinaca sativa) can look a lot like hemlock’s, and the roots below can appear similar, too (especially when they’ve just been pulled out of the ground).
For the record, wild parsnip poses its own threat, too. Especially during flowering season, its sap can cause skin reactions which can range from a simple rash to something very much like a lasting, second-degree burn. So if you do go root-hunting (staying well clear of hemlock, of course), you’ll do well to use gloves and skin-covering clothing whenever possible.
Wild blueberry vs Tutsan
blueberries have a potentially deadly lookalike that’s spread from its native Eurasian zones to New Zealand, Australia, and North America. The black berries of Hypericum androsaemum, a.k.a. tutsan or “sweet amber” bushes, can do a decent blueberry impression but can cause gastrointestinal distress, weakness, raised heart-rate, and other symptoms in both people and animals, and especially in children. In general, eager berry-pickers should do some careful research before foraging in the wild, as a wide variety of berries are moderately to highly toxic, including strychnine tree berries, and holly berries
The wild is an integral part of who we are as children. Without pausing to consider what or where or how, we gather herbs and flowers, old apples and rose hips, shiny pebbles and dead spiders, poems, tears and raindrops, putting each treasured thing into the cauldron of our souls. We stir our bucket of mud as if it were, every one, a bucket of chocolate cake to be mixed for the baking. Little witches, hag children, we dance our wildness, not afraid of not knowing.