The magic of blackberry by Sue Perryman
Other Names: Bramble, Blegs, Scald-head, Bumble-kite, Blackbrides, Black-boyds, Bummel-berries, Black-bowours, Black spice, Bummel-kites, Doctor's medicine, Gatter berry, Mushes, Thimbleberry, High blackberry, cloud berry, Dewberry, Gout berry.
Planetry ruler - Venus
Element - Water
Associated Deities: Brighid, Brigantia, Harvest Goddesses, Faeries
Magical Properties: Prosperity, protection, fertility, faerie magic
Blackberries always evoke happy memories of foraging trips I took as a child with my family, and after a recent successful blackberry picking session I decided to research the plant for a blog.
The blackberry plant really needs no introduction, the berries make delicious jams, preserves, pies, wine and cordial that make the scratches worthwhile :)
The sprawling rapidly growing blackberry shrub is a common sight on waste land and in hedges and woodland and is found in the countryside and towns. Cultivated thornless plants are also available for gardens.
The leaves and berries are both packed with vitamins and minerals, the young green shoots and leaves that appear in Spring are a traditional European tonic. Blackberry flowers appear from May onwards, they have 5 white or pale pink petals. The berries start off green then turn red and finally ripen to black, when picking, check the heel ( the place where the berry connects to the plant) if it's ripe it will be pale green or white, if it's dark or purple they are over ripe and best left for the birds.
History and Lore:
Our ancestors used blackberries and leaves to treat a variety of medical complaints. The ancient Greeks made a drink from them to treat gout, and the Roman's used them to treat inflammation of the mouth and bowel.
The Blackberry was sacred to the Celts and to this day it is believed to be a Faerie plant, surrounded by folklore.
It is said to be unsafe to eat blackberries after Michaelmas day (October 11th) depending on where you live, it isaid the devil either spits or unrinates on the blackberries on this day, leaving them inedible.
A cat born on Michaelmas day, in some areas is called a 'Blackberry cat', and is believed to be mischievious all its life.
Dreaming of blackberries can mean loss or sorrow, while dreaming of being pricked by a blackberry thorn warns that your enemies are conspiring against you.
Crawling backwards and forwards 3 times, or passing a child through a blackberry arch is said to cure everything from whooping cough, rheumatism and skin complaints.
To heal scalds, dip nine blackberry leaves in spring water and lay them on the wound while repeating the following chant 3 times for each leaf.
" Three ladies come from the east one with fire, two with frost out with fire, in with frost."
In the past, blackberries were believed to protect from evil, if they were gathered at the right moon phase.
The crushed leaves can act as a styptic, and placed on wounds will help to stop bleeding, a perfect remedy for the scratches acquired while blackberry picking!
Blackberries and leaves are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants, the leaves can be used fresh or dried to make a tea to treat diarrhoea, or to soothe a sore throat, colds, mouth ulcers or gum disease. The berries can also be boiled and sieved to make a delicious tea to treat diarrhoea.
Bramble leaf tea
Pick the leaves in Spring or Summer when they are fresh and green. They can be used fresh or dried for use in the winter.
Put a few fresh leaves or a tsp of crumbled dried leaves in a teapot. Pour on a mugful of boiling water and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain, sweeten if necessary and drink.
The 5 petalled pink or white flowers are associated with the goddess. The berries, which turn from green to red and then black can be used to represent the triple goddess, both can be used as offerings or altar decorations.
Blackberry wine makes a lovely ritual drink for the autumn equinox, the berries and leaves also can be used to decorate your altar at this time.
Blackberries can be used in prosperity magic, but if you want to add their energy to a medicine pouch, witch bottle or incense, use the dried leaves instead to prevent ending up with a soggy mouldy mush.
Herbcraft - Anna Franklin and Susan Lavender Cunningham's encyclopedia of magical herbs - Scott Cunningham A Kitchen Witch's world of Magical Food - Rachel Patterson Hedgerow medicine - Julie Bruton-Seal & Matthew Seal Hatfields Herbal - Gabrielle Hatfield