Witches & Poisonous Herbs: A History of Bella Donna, Fly Agaric & More

Witches and Poisonous Herbs: Bella Donna, Fly Agaric, and More

History tell us witches and poisons go together like peas and carrots. Our few written accounts of the Witch Trials in the Dark Ages and Early Modern Period give us a glimpse into the lives of people accused of diabolical magic. Often this included the use of potions, brews and things that would poison people witches did not like. But others claim these poisons were actually used by witches to induce a trance-like state of consciousness. In this context, witches practiced something ancient…stemming from shamanic tradition. Let’s dive into the history of witches and poisonous herbs.

Traditional Poisonous Herbs: The Solanaceae Family

According to history and folklore, witches particularly loved using poisonous herbs from the solanaceae family: belladonna (deadly nightshade), mandrake, and datura. These three in particular are doused in folklore and have aided the witch in her wiles for centuries. The solanaceae family of poisonous herbs are composed with alkaloids such as atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. These chemical constituents have various effects on the human nervous system including a psychoactive effect.

Atropa bella donna: A Witch's herb historically used in flying ointments.
Atropa Bella Donna

Atropa Belladonna

Atropa Belladonna, also known as deadly nightshade, is a poisonous herb used by witches to create “flying ointments” since at least the ninth century. You may have heard of belladonna in the movie Practical Magic or in the song by Stevie Nicks. Did you know just how deadly Belladonna can be? It will speed up your heart and can be fatal if consumed by mouth. If applied in lower quantities to the skin, it causes hallucinations which is why witches are thought to have used this poisonous herb. By applying these flying ointments to one’s skin, the witch would have visions of “flying” to do her magical bidding. There are also stories of witches using Bella donna berries to poison her enemies.

Mandrake Root: One of the witch's poisonous herbs

The “Screaming” Mandrake Plant

The mandrake plant, scientific name mandragora, is another poisonous herb from the solanaceae family used by witches in flying ointments. The mandrake plant has human-shaped roots (hence the name man-drake), and folklore says when it was pulled from the ground it shrieked. The shriek was so powerful it killed all present, unless one took specific protective measures. It’s featured in the Harry Potter series. In Germany, the mandrake is called alraun and is often kept as a family’s “familiar” in a fancy wooden box.

Datura: The Devil’s Trumpet

Datura, another of the witch’s favorite poisonous

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SUNFLOWER Edited by Chas Bogan

The sun is often employed magically to transform negative energy, and the sunflower is likewise utilized for the task of cleanisng and transformation. The sunflower itself is used to remove toxic chemicals from soil, including arsenic, lead and uranium. Sunflowers are so efficent at this that they have been planted near ponds in Chernobyl, where they extract caesium-137 and strontium-90. The sunflower, especially its bright petals, is used magically to remove jinxes and encourage positive outcomes.

Spiritualism, a religious sect that emphasizes communication with the dead, uses the sunflower as its emblem, saying “As the sunflower turns towards the sun, so spiritualism turns toward the light of truth.” This idea that the head of the sunflower turns as the sun moves across the sky is a misnomer; once the flowerhead is mature it statically faces east, however it’s young buds do shift throughout the day to maximize photosynthesis from the sun’s rays.

Sunflower Flower Sorcery
FLOWER SORCERY

A Spell To Dream True
A Spell To Dream True

The lucid light of day is the sunflower’s domain. When introduced to dreamwork, the sunflower greatly aids in lucid dreaming. It inspires prophetic dreams, and is especaially good revealing the truth about a situation. All this can be achieved by placing twelve sunflower petals in a circle around a single seed beneath your pillow at night.


To Celebrate The Summer Solstice
To Celebrate The Summer Solstice

Depending on the region you live in, harvest time for sunflowers may very, however midsummer harvests are common (around June 20th), therefore associating the sunflower with the midsummer sabbat (known also as Litha or Lithia). This celebration marks the high point of the sun’s influence, and so also the dusk of its declining influence leading to the sacrifice of the Summer King (known in Faery Tradition by various names, such as Crom and Twr). The sunflower is one of the Summer Lord’s emblems, and may be harvested for Litha and placed on an altar to ceremonially embody him. Address him with the following invocation.

Flower of Summer, King of Light
Behold the fullness of your might
From lofty throne must you secede
To be reborn again from seed

Celebrate now in honor of him. It is likely to be a bright, sunny day, so indulge in all the many glories he provides.

On the morning after summer solstice collect his seeds. Save these until the spring, then plant them to see the Flower of Summer rise again.

Disclaimer

Please note: The spells contained on this page are not intended as a substitute for any legal, financial, psychiatric and or medical services.

Sunflower Mythology
SUNFLOWER FOLKLORE

Selections on Sunflower lore from “Folk-lore From Adam’s County Illinois”

READ MORE:  http://feritradition.org/grimoire/garden/sunflower.html

 

 

 

 

 

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The Easiest Herbs to Grow Indoors — And How to Do It By Gabriella Vetere

When you are so used to cooking the same things, meals tend to feel monotonous. One of the best ways to change things up in the kitchen is to add fresh herbs. Not only do they have pungent flavor profiles, but they also usually come with added health benefits. Buying fresh herbs can get expensive, and they also tend to go bad if not used quickly, which is why so many of us use dried herbs. Instead, we are sharing our list of the easiest herbs to grow, their health benefits and how to get started.

First, let’s talk about the environment.

If you want to grow the best indoor garden, you need to ensure that the herbs will get sufficient sunlight. Most people tend to have a windowsill with adequate light in the kitchen, but if you do not, place your garden in any sunny room to grow. The ideal temperature would be 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit, and it would be good to give the room some ventilation daily.

What form should I plant them in?

Many common herbs grown indoors do better rooted from a cutting of an existing plant (except parsley, cilantro and dill). This technique is as easy as snipping a stem from a mature herb plant and putting the cutting in either a plant pot or water. Rooting in water works especially well for soft-stemmed herbs such as basil, mint, lemon balm, oregano and stevia. For woody herbs like rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme, take cuttings from new, green growth; older brown stems do not sprout roots easily.

Now, let’s discuss which herbs are best to grow and what nutritional benefits they provide.

Basil

Start basil from the seed and place the pots in a

 

READ MORE.  https://classpass.com/blog/2018/04/18/easiest-herbs-grow-indoors/

 

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Think You Don’t Need Houseplants? Science Says Different By: Noma Nazish

TWEET THIS
succulent
PIXABAY

Whether it’s a bland living room or boring workspace, potted plants are a safe bet if you want to jazz up interiors on a budget. Interestingly, spending a little green on greens can do wonders for your well-being as well. A significant amount of scientific evidence suggests that being around greenery can stave off stress, elevate mood and improve cognitive function, among other things. ‘Nuff said. Here are five proven reasons you need some houseplants in your life RN:

  • They reduce stress and anxiety. According to a studypublished in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, active interaction with indoor plants (like touching and smelling) can reduce physiological and psychological stress. What’s more, even the potting soil can help you keep a handle on daily stress and anxiety. This is because soil contains microbes dubbed “outdoorphins” (M. vaccae) which work as natural antidepressants. “It boosts your mood by releasing cytokines, which then leads your brain to produce more serotonin. So, just by being around soil, these outdoorphins flood your body and boost your mood,” writes Joey Doherty, a Certified Wellness Counselor. Although a walk in the park would be more effective (due to increased exposure to those microbes), being around houseplants can be beneficial too. “It has also been established that plants confer positive changes in the brain’s electrical activity, muscle tension and heart activity,” notes environmental health expert Danica-Lea Larcombe, in an articlepublished in The Conversation. Place potted lavender or snake plant in your bedroom to de-stress and sleep better.
  • They spruce up the air quality. According to the American Lung Association, indoor air can be even more polluted than the air outdoors. Some of the most common air pollutants include asbestos, mold, radon, formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide. Exposure to these fine particles can cause dry eyes, headaches or even serious ailments like asthma. According to NASA, plants like Peace Lily and English Ivy can filter out most of these toxic fumes. They absorb these pollutants through their roots and leaves. Research also highlights that rooms with houseplants contain up to 60% less airborne molds and bacteria than rooms without any greenery.
  • They act as 

READ MORE:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/nomanazish/2018/02/10/think-you-dont-need-houseplants-science-says-different/#ee7bd673595a

 

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4 Easy Raised Beds You Can Make In Under Two Hours By Susan Patterson

Gardening is much easier with raised beds. They make many traditional gardening chores like deep tilling, weeding and amending the soil redundant. If you have poor soil, if it is too acidic or clayey, if the ground is rocky or uneven, raised beds can come to your rescue.

You can fill the raised beds with good quality compost and soil so the plants get to live in the best of soil conditions. Filled-in beds ensure good soil aeration and drainage. Plants can have excellent root run and they will escape competition from tree roots in the ground.

pH of the soil can be easily adjusted to suit the plants you’re growing. Adjacent beds can have ericaceous plants growing in one and have sweet soil in the next. Troublesome creepy crawlies are less likely to find their way into your raised beds. It is easier to fix protective hoops and supportive structures. When you top dress the beds occasionally, the rains won’t carry it away. You can grow more food in less space because closer planting is possible. Also, crawling plants can hang over the sides of a bed, leaving the space inside for other crops.

Well, the benefits of raised bed gardening are numerous. But what is even more heartening is that it is quite easy to make raised beds. You can make simple structures using locally available materials. The whole family can pitch in and get it done in just an hour or two.

Here are some quick and easy DIY raised beds to get you started.

1. Raised bed with sandbag for sides

To start with the easiest, this raised bed requires just sandbags. Ready-to-use sandbags could be available in many disaster management centers. Sand is usually available from many nurseries and building supply companies in case you want to make your own, but it might be illegal to collect sand from beaches. Garden soil does not work as an alternative.

To make a 4ft x 8ft raised bed, you may need 20 sandbags measuring 1ft x 3ft. A width of 4 ft is ideal for beds since you will be able to plant and harvest crops without stepping into bed. Walking on the bed results in soil compaction, which is something you want to avoid.

Mark the outline of a 4ft x 8ft rectangle on the ground. Place sandbags in a single file on all sides, making sure that the corners have a snug fit. Now, build a second layer and tamp it down.

Line the interior of the bed with cardboard or several layers of newspaper to make a barrier against weeds in the ground. Fill the bed with several layers using high-quality garden soil, grass clippings, crushed leaves, and compost.

If you have recently cut down some trees in the property or have old logs lying around, you can build a raised bed in no time. Sourcing straight logs of 1 ft diameter from a local lumberyard is not a bad idea either. Three 8 ft long logs would be sufficient if you have a chainsaw to cut one of them into two 4 ft long pieces for the shorter sides. You can easily get it done in lumberyards.

Mark 4ft x 8ft rectangle on the ground and place the two long logs 4 ft apart and parallel to each other. Place the shorter logs on the remaining two sides. Move the logs slightly towards one another to complete the bed. Wedge a few rocks in the space between the logs and the ground to keep the logs from shifting as you fill the beds. Alternatively, you can use 2 ft long sections of rebar to give strong support to the logs. Hammer them down close to the logs, 2-3 each to every side, until they are flush with the top of the logs.

3. Raised beds with

 

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