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Heather by Heather!

Calluna vulgaris (common names heather, ling, Scot's heather, Heath, Froach, Ling, Scotch heather).  Celtic name Ura.

A beautiful haze of purple, pink and white occurs over open areas and moorland during late summer and into autumn, when the spiky heather flowers bloom. 

Calluna is related to but separate from the genus of Erica, which flower in winter and spring, and are more widely cultivated for gardens.  It is the dominant plant in most heath land and moorland, as well as acidic pine and oak woodland. Being tolerant of grazing and the fact that it regenerates following occasional burning, it is often managed in nature reserves and grouse moors by sheep or cattle grazing, and also by light burning.

Heather is an important food source for sheep and deer, which graze the tips of the plants when snow covers low-growing vegetation. Willow grouse and red grouse feed on the young shoots and seeds of this plant. Both adult and larva of the heather beetle feed on it, and can sometimes cause extensive damage to the plants. The larvae of a number of butterfly/moth species also feed on the plant, it being a particular favourite of the small emperor moth.

In the past, heather was used to dye wool yellow and to tan leather.

In the Middle Ages, heather was an ingredient in gruit, a mixture of herbs used in the brewing of heather-beer before the use of hops.

As heather dries well, the branches can be woven into wreathes, baskets, mats, and are traditionally used to make brooms/besoms.

Apparently, the plants roots used to be made into musical pipes

Heather honey is a highly valued product in moorland and heath land areas, with many beehives being moved there in late summer. Heather honey has a characteristic strong taste, with an unusual texture, being a jelly until stirred, when it becomes a syrup like other honey, but then sets again to a jelly. This makes the extraction of the honey from the comb difficult, so it is often sold as comb honey.

White heather is regarded in Scotland as being lucky, a tradition brought from Balmoral to England by Queen Victoria and sprigs of it are often sold as a charm and worked into bridal bouquets.

Calluna vulgaris herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea for treatment of disorders of the kidneys and urinary tract.

Magical Properties

Deity: Hestia, Vesta, Isis, Mercury, Nechtan, Boann, Osiris, Aphrodite

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Venus, Sun

Element: Water

Powers: For maturity, consummation, luck, love, strength, communicating with ancestors, shadow-work, self-discovery, resolving conflict, healing, protection, rain and water magic.

Crystals associated with heather are amethyst, peridot, and ametrine.

Keeping heather in your house or garden will attract friendly spirits and will bring peace to the household. Carrying heather will attract positive energies, general good luck and protect against rape and other violent assaults, making it useful for travelling sachets.

Burning heather together with fern is used helps magic designed to bring rain. The two plants can also be bundled together and used to sprinkle water on the ground for the same purpose.

The plants are believed to be the home of Heather Pixies. These faeries are attracted specifically to the moors and to the Heather which covers them. They are not averse to human contact, but they don’t seek them out. They are known to be pranksters!


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