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Vervain by Sue Perryman


Verbena officinalis

Other names: Herb of Grace, Herba veneris, Herbe sacrée, Enchanter's plant, Holy herb, Herb of the Cross, Juno's Tears, Pigeon grass, Pigeonwood, Simpler's joy, Verbena.

Ruling Planet: Venus Sign: Gemini Element: Earth Gender: Feminine Associated Deities: Cerridwen, Mars, Venus, Aradia, Isis, Jupiter, Thor, Juno, Aphrodite. Magical Properties: Protection, love, purification, peace, sleep, healing, prosperity, inspiration.

I've been busy planning what I want to grow in my small garden this year, and after finding out how useful it is I think it will make a fantastic addition to my magical plants and herbs.

Vervain grows wild in meadows, hedgerows and roadsides in Europe, US and the Far East. It is a perennial herb that has pale green serrated leaves and spikes of small lilac flowers. Blue vervain is the American variety.

The name Vervain is thought to come from the Celtic 'ferfaen' from fer-meaning 'to drive away' and faen - meaning 'stone', because of its reputation of being able to purge bladder stones from the body.

Vervain has been considered a sacred and healing plant since ancient times and by many cultures. It was often referred to as 'Druid's Herb' and was revered by the Roman's, Egyptians and Greek's who used it as an altar herb.

Pliny wrote that Vervain was one of four herbs used by the Ancient Druids and that they harvested it at the dark of the moon with Sirius rising. It had to be cut with a sickle and raised aloft in the left hand, after which prayers and an offering of honey were given to the earth.

Modern Druids believe Vervain can stimulate the flow of Awen (Inspiration) as it is mentioned in the poem ' The Chair of Taliesin' as being one of the ingredients in Cerridwen's cauldron. An infusion can be drunk as a tea or added to a pre-ritual bath.

The Anglo-Saxons used Vervain as an ingredient in their Holy Salve as they considered it to be a powerful protector against the demons of disease.

Vervain is said to have been the plant that was used to staunch the wounds of Jesus after he was brought down from the Cross, although Gerard considered it an herb of the Devil and it was often associated with witches and enchantment! Once considered a cure-all, Vervain was believed to cure everything from freckles, wounds, migraines, the plague and even bestow immortality!

In 1837 the British Pharmacopoeia advised that tying a Vervain root onto a white silk ribbon and wearing as a necklace would protect against infection and evil influences.

Vervain was believed to have lock opening qualities, it was said that if you made a small cut on your hand and pressed a fragment of Vervain leaf on it, allowing it to heal, that keys would turn, and bolts would slide at the slightest touch!

An herb of love, washing your hands in an infusion of Vervain is said to engender love in the one you touch. A sprig picked by a bride and added to her bouquet ensures her husband's fidelity and eternal devotion.

Add Vervain to incense blends or homemade smudge sticks to bring protection and purification to your home and altar. An infusion of Vervain can be sprinkled around your property to ward off negativity, it can also be used to consecrate your magical tools. Add dried Vervain to small pouches or bottles and place around the home to bring peace and prosperity. Keep some beside your bed or under your pillow to keep away nightmares and bring peaceful dreams. A small sprig of Vervain hung out of reach on a baby's cradle will encourage the child to grow up with a happy disposition and a love or learning. Drink Vervain tea before practising divination to heighten the consciousness and intensify clairvoyant powers. Bury a small amount of the herb in your garden to encourage strong and healthy plants.

Vervain Tea

Pour 1/2 pint of boiling water onto 2 tsp dried Vervain. Infuse for 10-15 minutes, strain and drink. Add honey for sweetness if preferred.

Divination Incense

2 parts Dried Vervain leaves1-part Dried Rowan berries.1-part Cinnamon

Sources:A Kitchen Witches world of magical plants and herbs - RachelPatterson

The Druid Plant Oracle: Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm

A Druids herbal for the sacred year - Ellen Evert Hopman

Discovering the Folklore of Plants - Margaret Baker

Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs - Scott Cunningham

Herbcraft - Anna Franklin and Susan Lavender

image - wikipedia

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