Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why an Apple?




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"Cut an apple through and through, 
then contemplate what's twixt the two!"
                                                 - Old Saying

So why an apple? 
What's so special or sacred about apples? 
Why not an orange?
Or banana?

There are many reasons witches hold apples as sacred. 


When you cut an heirloom apple in two, you will see a pentacle. A pentacle is a pentagram enclosed in a circle. A Pentagram is a 5-pointed star.  What makes a pentagram so magical? Well, there's more than I can cover here. But for now, here are a few things for you to think about...


Penta = FIVE


Let's begin with the prefix, "Penta."  It means "five." And 5 is a very special number!

The numeral "5" contains within it all the other numbers, and thus contains within it Kether. Those studying Qabalah will understand this statement.  
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To illustrate this, consider the following:

0 x 5 = 0               1 x 5 = 5

2 x 5 = 10 = 1       3 x 5 = 15 = 6
4 x 5 = 20 = 2       5 x 5 = 25 = 7
6 x 5 = 30 = 3       7 x 5 = 35 = 8
8 x 5 = 40 = 4       9 x 5 = 45 = 9
10 x 5 = 50 = 5      11 x 5 = 55 = 10

It's US and More!

The Pentagram represents man, as illustrated by Leonardo daVinci.  Enclosed in a circle, a human being can touch all the points of the circle with raised head and outstretched arms and legs. It is sometimes called the Star of the Microcosm. Ancient and modern occult philosophers have regarded man as a microcosm or little world in himself, containing the potential of all that is in the cosmos outside of him.
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The five points of the star can represent many things, including the five mundane senses of the human -- sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste -- the gateways by which impressions of the outer world reach us. We have five fingers/toes on each limb extremity. There are five initiations in our lives -- birth, youth, maturity, old age, and death. To the Jews it represented the five books of the Pentateuch.
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Early examples of the pentagram occur in the relics of Babylon and among many other ancient cultures. The earliest known use of the pentagram dates to about 3500 BC at Ur of the Chaldees. The symbol was found here on potsherds. In later periods of Mesopotamian art, the pentagram was used in royal inscriptions as a symbol of imperial power.

The followers of Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician and world traveler, called the pentagram the pentalpha, being geometrically composed of five letter A’s. The Pythagoreans considered it an emblem of perfection.

To the Gnostics, the pentagram was the Blazing Star and, like the crescent moon, was a symbol relating to the magic and mystery of the nighttime sky.

Before the Inquisition, there were no associations of evil to the pentagram. Instead, the pentagram implied Truth. The Emperor Constantine I used the pentagram in his seal and amulet.  To the Christians, it is the 5 wounds of Christ that makes it sacred, and I've seen this symbol in the windows of many churches in Europe.



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In some traditions, tracing a path around the pentagram, the elements are placed in order of density -- Spirit, Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. With the single point upwards the spirit ruling over matter is signified. For this reason the pentagram is customarily drawn with one point up.  The element placement on the pentagram is not of importance to you now as a primary student. We will delve into it in your next year's studies. 

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In some traditions, with two of its points upwards, the emphasis is on the carnal nature of humanity and this pentagram is frequently regarded as a negative symbol. Satanists have adopted the inverted pentagram as one of their symbols and as a result, it has unfortunately become associated and equated with Satanism by the general population. 


Some occultists regard the reversed pentagram as the face of the Goat of Mendes; the two upward points representing the goat’s horns. Actually, no known graphic illustration associating the pentagram with evil appears until the nineteenth century. Alphonse Louis Constant (aka Eliphaz Levi Zahed), a defrocked French Catholic priest, illustrates the upright pentagram of microcosmic man beside an inverted pentagram with the goat’s head of Baphomet inside. It was this illustration which led to the idea of different orientations of the pentagram being “good” and “evil.”

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The circle around the pentacle contains and protects. The circle symbolizes eternity and infinity, the cycles of life and of nature. The pentacle implies spiritual containment of the magic circle and the personal, individual nature of the witch’s path.



There is much, much more to learn about the Pentagram, but that is a topic of great depth. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the pentacle and the sacred number 5.  I suggest you do your own research and brainstorm each.

What else can you see in the center of the Apple???
Note:  There are no wrong answers  :)

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Here is something I see... do you know what this is?

So what else?
What else is there about an apple?
Well... an apple is...

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The color red is an important clue. What does red symbolize to you?  Here are some ideas:

The color red is linked to the most primitive physical, emotional, and financial needs of survival and self-preservation.  It is the color of blood and fire.

Red is associated with love, passion, desire, heat, longing, lust, sexuality, sensitivity, romance, joy, strength, leadership, courage, vigor, willpower, rage, anger, danger, malice, wrath, stress, action, vibrance, radiance, and determination.

Red is assertive, daring, determined, energetic, powerful, enthusiastic, impulsive, exciting, and aggressive.  It represents power and courage, which is why it is often used in national flags, on shields, and in achievement patches.

Red represents physical energy, lust, passion, and desire. It symbolizes action, confidence, and courage.

Studies show that the color red can create physical effects such as elevated blood pressure, enhanced libido, increased respiratory rates, enhanced metabolism, increased enthusiasm, higher levels of energy, and increased confidence.

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Red gemstones are believed to increase enthusiasm and interest, boost energy, create confidence, and offer protection from fears and anxieties.

An Apple is HEALTHY!

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away!"

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The first printed mention of this saying can be found in the February 1866 issue of the publication "Notes and Queries." The publication printed the proverb like this: "Eat an apple on going to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread." Nearly 150 years later, variations of this adage are still quoted. Here are some of the apple's components and their effect on our health:
  • Pectin -- Pectin is a form of soluble fiber that forms a jelly-like substance.  Pectin lowers both blood pressure and glucose levels. It can also lower the levels of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol in the body. Pectin, like other forms of fiber, helps maintain the health of the digestive system.   It forms a protective coating in the intestines and soothes inflamed tissues. Thus, apples can be used to treat both diarrhoea and constipation. 
  • Boron -- A nutrient found in abundance in apples, boron supports strong bones and a healthy brain.
  • Quercetin -- A flavonoid, this nutrient shows promise for reducing the risk of various cancers, including cancers in the lungs and breast. It may also reduce free radical damage. Free radicals develop when atoms in the body's cells have unpaired electrons, which can lead to damage to different parts of the cell, including DNA. Quercetin may neutralize free radical damage, which has been implicated in a variety of age-related health problems, including Alzheimer's disease.
  • Vitamin C -- Vitamin C boosts immunity, which helps maintain overall health.
  • Phytonutrients -- Apples are rich in a variety of phytonutrients, including vitamins A and E and beta carotene. These compounds fight damage from free radicals and can have a profound affect on health, including reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and asthma.
Apples also act as a toothbrush, cleaning teeth and killing bacteria in the mouth, which may reduce the risk of tooth decay. They're also low in calorie density. 

Apples are a healing food, easy for the body to digest and able to correct over-acidity of the stomach. They are also highly recommended for balancing blood sugar levels, as they prevent those dangerous spikes and lows. 



Apples are cooling and anti-inflammatory. They are wonderfully refreshing and thirst quenching during convalescence, especially when suffering from feverish conditions, coughs and colds. 



Apple tea increases uric acid elimination and is helpful as a supportive remedy in the treatment of arthritic and rheumatic conditions as well as rheumatoid kidney and liver disease. An apple diet is recommended for gout, constipation, bladder and kidney disease. An apple at bed time improves the quality of sleep and helps to control night sweats.


Bees love the nectar rich apple blossoms in spring. The petals can be infused as a tea to treat feverish conditions, especially those that affect the upper respiratory tract. Apple blossom tea also soothes and calms the nerves.

Apples cider vinegar is very rich in calcium and can help to improve calcium deficiency related problems such as loss of concentration and memory, weak muscle tone, poor circulation, badly healing wounds, general itchiness, aching joints and lack of appetite. Apple cider vinegar detoxifies by supporting the eliminative function of the kidneys. It is a helpful supportive aid for arthritis, gout, rheumatism and skin conditions. It is also beneficial for sinusitis, high blood pressure, migraine, chronic exhaustion and night sweats. To take, dilute one tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 6-8 oz of water. This may be sweetened with honey.


Healthwise, the apple truly is magical!

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An Apple is ROUND!

It's round, like the Circle of Life that encloses all beings.


Witches almost always work in a Circle or Sphere, built with 5 elements.


What are some other things you know about Circles?

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Apples in MYTH and FOLKLORELong known affectionately as the Silver Bough, the apple tree holds a special place within myth and folklore as a tree of great worth and repute.


It is probably the most mythical of all trees!  Legends featuring the apple are a part of many different cultures, ranging from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the Norse and the Celts.The apple is often to be found as a symbol of the Otherworld, of fey wisdom and intuition, and is usually associated with love, beauty and the Goddess.

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The apple is a fruit of Venus/Aphrodite. 
This is because the number 5 
is related to Taurus, 
which is ruled by Venus.


Apples are sacred in many pantheons. I'll let you do your own research on the apple in myth and folklore.  It's too large a topic to blog!

Then there are the SEEDS...
I'll let you work on that one! What is their color, number, shape, size?

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The Apple as Crone.
A mature apple tree looks like a grandmother. 
 It is small in stature and has writhing limbs and grey, crinkly bark.


In the Craft, Grandmothers, or Crones, are highly respected for their experience, wisdom, and knowlege. Just one more reason the apple is held in high regard. What else do you know about Crones?

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Photo by Mollie Kellogg
Just the Beginning...

This is just a beginning to show you how to brainstorm a symbol such as the apple.  To know more, expand each of these suggestions and see how far you can go with them.  You will find out things about apples that you never knew existed. And you will learn why they are the sacred fruit of the Witch.



Blessed Be!

A Fall Walk in the Hoyt Arboretum






Today, Aldebaran and I took a walk in the Hoyt Arboretum in Portland.

It was a beautiful sunny day and there weren't many people on the trails. We saw some interesting plants. It's a good time for Fall wildcrafting! Here is a list of what we saw today on the trail.
MULLEIN



Mullein is one of the easiest and most useful herbs to identify. It's an excellent beginner's herb. Also known as "cowboy toilet paper," mullein is soft, velvet like, and can grow very tall.

Let me repeat this, because there are a couple of plants that are similar to mullein in LOOKS. However, mullein is soft and velvet like to the touch. The leaves are fat and succulent, and feel like fat furry tongues.

This plant produces a rosette of leaves in the first year and the second year it sends up a single unbranched stem. The tall pole-like stem ends in a dense spike of bright yellow flowers. It is a very common plant that spreads by seed, but rarely becomes invasive. The common name, mullein, comes from the German and means "king's candle" because of its scepter-like growth.

Depending on the summer weather, it may or may not produce an abundance of flowers.

Habitat: Mullein can be found growing in open fields, waste places, disturbed areas, railway embankments and similar dry sunny localities.

Edible parts: Leaves and flowers. Although the leaves and flowers are edible, enjoying a cup of tea made from these parts is generally preferable. Leaves and flowers can be used in a salad.

More on medicinal and practical uses for mullein in another blog post.

California Fever Bush (Garrya fremontii)



Known as a cure for chills and fever, this is a good plant to have in your repertoire. For a lot of good information on Garrya fremontii, go to the following link:

More Information on Garrya fremontii



Oregon Grape



Oregon grape and its cousin goldenseal act very similarly. But since Oregon grape is easy to grow and is not threatened with extinction, more and more herbal practitioners are switching from goldenseal to Oregon grape to treat a range of conditions. Here's how this alternative medicine works:

Healing Properties

Oregon grape root has a distinctly bitter taste due to the presence of alkaloids, including berberine, the most notable. Though initially disagreeable to people not familiar with bitter herbs, these substances have a beneficial effect on the digestive tract. They stimulate the flow of bile, which loosens the stools and helps prevent and sometimes relieves constipation, diverticulosis, gallbladder disease, and hemorrhoids. They may also help people with constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Oregon grape also has antibiotic and anticancer properties that are receiving more and more attention by researchers and clinicians. Berberine and other alkaloids have been shown to kill a wide range of microbes and have been effective in human studies for speeding recovery from giardia, candida, viral diarrhea, and cholera.

Studies in China show that an alkaloid it contains, called berbamine, helps protect the bone marrow and promotes its recovery from chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer. Combined with its bitter digestive-strengthening properties, Oregon grape has an interesting and distinctive combination of properties.

Preparation and Dosage. Oregon grape root is taken either as a tea or tincture. To make tea, simmer 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried, coarsely chopped root in 1 cup of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain out the leftover root (or eat it, if you prefer), and sip the remaining liquid just before eating each substantial meal.

A tincture is an alcohol extract of the root. Mix 1/2 to 1 teaspoon in 2 to 4 ounces of water and sip before each meal. The amount of alcohol in tinctures at this dose is very low and presents no significant problem.

Keep dried Oregon grape root away from light and heat. Do not keep longer than one year. Tincture will keep indefinitely if stored away from light and heat.
Horsetail



When I was a child, we picked horsetail when we were camping and used it to scrub out our cooking pots. It is also a great medicinal herb. Here is a link with some very good information:

Horsetail Properties and Medicinal Uses
Pine (Pinus pinaster)



The bark on this pine was beautiful in the sunlight today.

Pinus pinaster is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 7 m (23ft) at a fast rate.

It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in April. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile.

Pine bark extract, also known as Pycnogenol, is derived from the Pinus pinaster plant and contains potent antioxidants called proanthocyanidins, which are responsible for most of its effects. Research suggests that supplementing with pine bark extract can provide an abundance of benefits that enhance overall health.

Here is a page on Pine bark extract: Pycnogenol


Magical Mullein


Verbascum thapsus (Great or Common Mullein) is a species of native to Europe, northern Africa, and Asia. It was introduced into the Americas and Australia and is an excellent plant for a beginning wildcrafter to study. For one thing, there is a LOT of mullein, so there are no fears of harvesting it away.  Second, it is quite easy to identify.

Identifying Mullein:

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Seedlings:  Cotyledons are spatula-shaped.  First true leaves have many soft hairs and are oval in outline with only slightly wavy margins.  Subsequent leaves are also densely hairy and have more wavy margins.

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Leaves:  Leaves initially develop as a basal rosette during the first year of growth and then occur alternately along the flowering stem during the second year of growth.  All leaves are covered in hairs, to the point that leaves are most often described as being 'woolly'.  Rosette leaves are oblong in outline, ranging from 6 to18 inches in length.  Leaves become progressively smaller up the flowering stem.

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Stems: Erect, unbranched, occurring during the second year of growth.  Stems may reach as much as 6 feet in height and are also densely hairy.Roots:  A taproot and a fibrous root system.

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Flowers:  Many flowers occur in a dense spike at the end of the flowering stem.  These spikes may reach as much as 20 inches in length.  Flowers are yellow in color, approximately 1 inch in diameter, and consist of five petals.Fruit:  An oval capsule, approximately 6 mm in diameter.

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Identifying Characteristics:   The rosette growth habit, large 'woolly' leaves and stems, and flowering stems with many yellow flowers are all characteristics that help in the identification of common mullein.  

Harvesting and Drying

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The first year, the mullein plant grows a fairly large rosette consisting of large, light green, soft, flannel-like leaves.

The second year it grows a long straight stalk that is usually four to six feet tall with small yellow flowers towards its top.

Mullein leaves are best harvested in the summer of the second year as the plant is growing its stalk. Bundle and hang the leaves upside down to dry.

Harvest the buds and flowers when in bloom (Usually between July and September) and use them fresh or dried.

Roots can be gathered before the stalk grows, sliced and dried.

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The dried parts can be stored in jars in a cool place. 

The leaves can be left fairly whole, or crumbled.

Sowing Mullein

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Mullein can be grown from its tiny ripe seeds. 
Sow it in the fall. 
It likes dry, rocky waste soil and is drought tolerant.

However, even though it is found in dry, barren areas, mullein will also thrive in moist soil. It is easy to grow and thrives in gardens.

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The seeds are very tiny, as this photo shows. 
You can harvest the seed in the winter and sow it early in the spring.

MEDICINAL USES:

The large leaves can be harvested and hung up in the shade to dry, then smoked to relieve chest congestion. You can add it to a smoking combination and smoke in a pipe or roll it in paper. In a pinch, you can burn it in a pie plate and inhale the smoke. It breaks up congestion in the chest so it can be coughed up. A tea from the dried leaves works the same way, but not as quickly.

Mullein is best known as a respiratory tonic. Native Americans used the leaves of the mullein plant to ease respiratory discomfort. Mullein tea is also an effective way of treating conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and allergies. It is also effective in treating sore throats and coughs.

The leaves and flowers activate lymph circulation in the neck and chest and can be useful for mumps, glandular swellings and earaches. Mullein tones and soothes the mucous membranes, reduces inflammation and encourages healthy fluid production in the lungs. By encouraging mucus production, Mullein protects the membranes from absorbing allergens and encourages expectoration.

It is anti-spasmodic and antibiotic. Use it for hay fever, emphysema, colds, flu, hoarseness, bronchitis, whooping cough and asthma. Mullein leaves can be used with Uva Ursi and a little Licorice as a smoking mixture to relax spasmodic coughing during chest infections and asthma. It's preferred to use smoking mixtures only for smokers.

Mullein's anti-bacterial properties make it effective in treating infections. It has even been used to treat tuberculosis as it inhibits mycobacterium, the bacteria which causes the disease.  Last year, in an article listed in PubMed titled "What's in a Name? Can Mullein Weed Beat TB where Modern Drugs are Failing" authors Eibhlin McCarthy and Jim M. O'Mahony of the Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland reported:

"Extracts of the mullein leaf have also been shown in laboratory studies to possess antitumor, antiviral, antifungal, and - most interestingly for the purpose of this paper - antibacterial properties."

The authors also observed that mullein had been shown in trials to significantly improve ear pain. It rivals a popular pharmaceutical in controlling Klebsiella pneumoniae, and it is reported that many of mullein's historical uses have proven to be true.

Mullein also has anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties. A mullein poultice soothes skin irritations, such as rashes, boils, and even chilblains. A poultice can also be used for bruises and to relieve arthritic and rheumatic conditions. The herb's anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties make mullein compresses an ideal treatment for hemorrhoids and cold sores.

Mullein relieves digestive disorders, such as diarrhea and stomach pains. Its anti-spasmodic properties relieve stomach cramps. Mullein oil derived from the plant's flowers can be used to treat swollen glands and earaches.

In addition, mullein:

*has a calming effect and can be used as a sleep aid.
*relieves migraine pain.
*supports proper functioning of the thyroid gland.

Mullein has no serious recorded side effects. However, taking it in excess can result in stomach upset, and it is also prudent to lightly scrub the thin hairs off the plant leaves as they can result in irritation in some people.

Making Tea

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Boil 1 tablespoon of dried leaves or root (or for a sweeter tea, the fresh or dried flowers) in 1 cup of water for 5-10 minutes, then strain through a coffee filter to remove the hairs, if using the leaves. 


You can drink the tea, hot or cold.
Any excess tea can be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

Mullein Tincture

Prepared as a tincture, Mullein flowers act to resolve swellings and ease the accompanying pain. A combination of Red Root and Mullein flowers has been used to treat an abscess in the ear canal, and the pain and swelling were quickly resolved.  The flower tincture used internally is also of aid in treating swellings, and acts as a local anesthetic.The use of Mullein flower tincture to relieve swellings is also due to its lymphatic actions, and among the various parts that can be used, may offer the most pain relieving qualities.

Mullein Oil

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An infused oil of Mullein flowers is perhaps one of the first remedies to think of in treating an ear infection, easing pain and speeding recovery time. The oil is simple to prepare, and I'll post a recipe as promised.
Mullein flower oil is often combined with infused Garlic oil (which is antibacterial and antiviral), and there are few remedies as effective for ear infections.  It can be used to treat ear mites in animals. 

Mullein Root

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Mullein Root is an incredibly useful remedy. In addition to its effects on the lymphatic system, it is an excellent remedy for treating urinary incontinence and loss of urinary control due to a swollen prostate because it tones and strengthens the trigone sphincter at the base of the bladder. Northern California herbalist Christa Sinadinos elaborates: "Mullein root is valuable as a bladder tonifying agent for the treatment of urinary incontinence (loss of urine with out warning.) It strengthens and improves the tone the trigone muscle (a triangular area at the base of the bladder) and significantly enhances bladder function. It has soothing diuretic properties; it increases the volume of urination, while decreasing the frequency of urination.  Mullein root also has mild astringent properties which reduce inflammation in the mucosa of the bladder.  It does not irritate or over stimulate bladder or kidney function.  Mullein root can be used as a long term tonic for individuals with urinary incontinence, recurring bladder infections, interstitial cystitis, and benign prostatic hypertrophy."  Mullein Root has been shown to be exceptional for Bell's Palsy and is useful in other cases of facial nerve pain, along with other useful herbs for facial neuralgia like Saint John's Wort and Jamaican Dogwood.


Jim McDonald, herbalist, says, "I also use Mullein root quite frequently to facilitate "proper alignment". It may be that there are broken bones I need to be sure line up, or it could be a spinal misalignment.  These are applications I picked up from Matthew Wood, though he uses Mullein leaves, saying, “It has a moistening, lubricating effect on the synovial membranes… so that it is hydrating to the spine and joints. It is often indicated in back injuries. People think they are untreatable and incurable, but an increase the synovial fluids will make the spine more pliable and comfortable. The vertebra will slip back into place more readily, pain and inflammation will decrease and the condition will get better."

He continues, "I can personally attest to Mullein’s usefulness in treating spinal injuries, as I’ve used it for years.  The first time I ever used it, I woke up with my back out.  I couldn't stand up straight, and while my mouth was saying, "Ow, ow, ow..." within me I kept hearing "Mullein root, Mullein root, Mullein root...".  I drove out to a field where I knew it grew, and searched for it under the snow (Mullein's fuzzy leaves insulate it and it usually overwinters).  I found some, and as I was digging it up I "heard" Mullein root stores up energy the entire first year of its life to put forth its strong, straight yet flexible flower stalk; and using it gives us access to that stored energy.  I chopped up a root, made tea, took a sip then a breath and was completely better.

A year or so after that (in which time I'd used the root a few more times, always to more or less immediate results), I suffered the rather dreadful "slipped disc" while, when changing a tire on the side of a dirt road my jack slipped and I jumped back away from the falling car with a heavy tire in my arms.  Along with chiropractic, I used the rather agonizing experience to figure out how best to treat this condition.  I ended up blending together a formula with Solomon’s Seal, Mullein Root, Horsetail and Goldenseal to excellent results (I daresay…).  This was created not so much as a pain reliever, but to restore strength and integrity to the disc itself.  To address the attendant muscle spasms (which were the worst part, in terms of outright agony), I used a combination of Black Cohosh and Arnica tinctures, taken in frequent small doses to help ease the sensitivity & reactivity of the muscles.  The results were excellent.  I could literally feel the disc growing stronger and the muscles relearning how to be relaxed.  Even now, after a few years, if I overdo it and feel even a twinge of sensitivity in the disc, a few doses usually completely removes the discomfort.  It's truly kick ass stuff."


The root can be prepared either as an infusion or taken in small doses as a tincture. It can be used fresh or dried.

Mullein Garlic Oil

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Ingredients:  
Mullein
Garlic
Virgin Olive Oil
Glass Bottle with Dropper


Instructions: 

You can increase the antibiotic potency by combining the mullein flowers with crushed garlic cloves in a 1 to 1 ratio.

Crush the garlic with the back of a knife.  Keep the skin on the garlic after crushing. 

Using fresh mullein flowers, infuse the garlic and mullein flowers in organic olive oil with plenty of oil to completely cover the mixture. 

Cover the jar with cheesecloth to allow water to evaporate and set a sunny location for 3 days. 


It is important not to use a quick, high heat method for this oil, as high temps with destroy the properties. 


Strain the oil after 3 days, and let set overnight to allow the garlic juice and any remaining water to settle to the bottom of the jar. 


Strain again, then bottle in clean, dark bottles, and store in a cool, dry place. 


This oil will keep for about 1 year. 


Use only a few drops, 3 times daily for ear infections.

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Spiritual or Energetic Uses:

Mullein is one of the best spiritual allies when there is a need for energetic alignment.  When a person's energy is scattered all over the place, and they need to focus and direct their energies, mullein can be a great help. A few drops of oil or tincture rubbed into pulse points during the day is sufficient.

Various Native Americans used mullein to return people to their right mind. The Hopi mixed the leaves with osnomodium to be used as a smoke by crazy people and those who had been betwitched. The Navajo wrapped the leaves in a corn husk to be smoked to help a mind return if it was lost, and the Potowatami smudged unconcscious people with the leaves to help them return to consciousness. 


Mullein is useful in centering the spirit and add it to the pipe smoked as an aid to astral work.

The planetary correspondences of mullein are not certain.  From the Alchemy Works website:


Many disagree about the planetary correspondence of this magick herb. Agrippa said it belonged to Mercury. The leaves do have a high concentration of aluminum, a Mercury metal, and in the past this herb was given to affect the mind, for instance, to bring back people who were unconscious or who were mentally ill. Culpeper thought it was a Saturn herb, on account of its medicinal actions. As a biennial, it is also a slow herb (slowness is a Saturnian quality),  taking a year to produce a rosette of leaves and only flowering in the second year. The seeds likewise show a Saturnian slowness in their long viability - up to 35 years. It also has a Saturnian love for borders, growing along roads, train tracks, or on the edge of woodlands, and for areas that are rejected for agricultural purposes ("waste lands"). Some argue that it is a Fire herb, because its dry leaves make an excellent tinder and it gets one its common names, hag's taper, from the practice of dipping the stalks in fat to make a quickie torch (by the way, the "hag" in "hag's taper" was originally the word "hedge"). Finally, the leaves contain iron and the fuzz that covers them is a softer version of prickliness, so this can also be viewed as a Mars herb. Indeed, it has played a part in various Mars-ruled activities, such as hunting: Navajo hunters rubbed a tea of mullein leaf on themselves and their horses for strength.
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Magical Uses
Pliny the Elder describes mullein in his Naturalis Historia and it is linked to witches and witchcraft.  In ancient Greece, Ulysses defended himself from Circe's magic with mullein. In the old days in France, people would pass sprigs of mullein through a fire on Midsummer.  Cattle were passed through mullein smoke in order to protect them from sickness caused by sorcery. Putting mullein under the butter churn could bring back butter that had been witched away. European travellers carried mullein or stuffed it into their shoes to protect them from attacks by wild animals (and also to make walking more comfortable). Dream pillows can be stuffed with mullein to protect against nightmares. Mullein can be mixed with dill, salt, and fennel and sprinkled around haunted areas to repel malicious spirits or ghosts. In Hoodoo and Santeria, mullein is sometimes used as a substitution for graveyard dirt in some recipes.

Mullein can be used to see manifestations of spirits, to see into the otherworld, and to commune with the spirits and deities who dwell there.  It is used for divination and dream work or a combination of the two (prophetic dreaming). Mullein protects you in your sleep helping to combat both evil spirits and nightmares. As it helps one to fall asleep when ingested, Mullein makes an excellent tea to encourage prophetic dreams and as an aid in lucid dreaming or astral travel while asleep.

Dreamer’s Tea
2 parts Mullein flowers
1 part Poppy flowers
1 part Mugwort
2 parts Spearmint

As an OUTDOOR incense for manifesting spirits. Noted by Cornelius Agrippa in his work, The Philosophy of Natural Magic.  This should ONLY BE USED OUTDOORS due to its poisonous ingredients.

“Also, it is said, that fume made of the root of the reedy herb sagapen, with the juice of hemlock and henbane, and the herb tapsus barbatus, red sanders, and black poppy, makes spirits and strange shapes appear; and if smallage be added to them, the fume chaseth away spirits from any place and destroys their visions.” 
Agrippa

Agrippa’s Spirit Suffumigation
Asofoetida or Galbanum resin
Hemlock juice (substitute with anise, angelica leaf,)
Henbane, dried leaves
Mullein, dried leaves
Red Sandalwood powder
Black Poppy Seeds

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Mullein Torches
The dried stems can be dipped into wax or suet to make torches.  Greeks fashioned mullein fibers into lamp wicks or used the dried leaves, and Romans dipped the whole head of the plant into tallow and carried this natural torch in funeral possessions 

More Information:
Mullein Torches

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Mullein as Piscicide.

Mullein seeds contain several compounds (saponins, glycosides, coumarin, rotenone) that cause breathing problems in fish, and have been widely used as piscicide for fishing. Historically plants with piscicidal properties have been used to bring fish to the surface of the water and make them easier to catch. In the US, rotenone's use is restricted if the fish are to be taken for food. Most plant-based piscicides do not harm mammals; instead they damage the gills of fish.

Mullein also was brought to the United States as a useful piscicide (fish poison). The seeds containing most of the active ingredients.  Aristotle recorded this use in his Historia Animalium. Stream fishermen throughout Europe and Asia, particularly in Germany and Britain, used mullein seeds as a piscicide for centuries - even though Frederick II (1194-1250), King of Germany, outlawed fish poisoning as early as 1212 A.D.

Appalachian settlers, who viewed conventional fishing as less manly than hunting, occasionally used mullein as an indirect way to supplement their diet. One old North Carolina resident had this to say about his German forefathers, who immigrated in the 1720s: "They'd heard 'bout the new land 'cross the waters 'n decided to bring thangs that'd help 'em git a start. Stinging fish was one easy way of gittin' food at first, so feltwort seeds were brung 'long".

Using a piscicide is illegal in most states and should only be used in case of emergency.  

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Fire Making
The dried stalk can also be dried as a spindle for making fire either by hand or bow drill.  Here are a couple of blog telling how this is done. You can find more on the internet:

Using Mullein To Make Fire

Mullein Bow Drill

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Dying with Mullein
Both leaves and flowers are used. The leaves mixed with copper make a lovely green.  The flowers provide dyes of bright yellow or green, and have been used for hair dye. In ancient Rome, women used mullein flowers to give their hair yellow highlights.  
The internet is loaded with articles about dying with wild plants.

Folk Names:
Aaron's rod, Adam's flannel, beggar's blanket, beggar's flannel, beggar's stalk, big taper, blanket herb, blanket leaf, bullock's lungwort, candlewick plant, clot, clown's lungwort, cow's lungwort, cuddy's lungs, devil's-tobacco, duffle, feltwort, flannel leaf, flannel plant, fluffweed, graveyeard candles, great mullein, hag's taper, hare's beard, hedge-taper, ice leaf, Jacob's staff, Jupiter's staff, lungwort, lus mor [great herb], miner's candle, mullein, mullein dock, old man's flannel, Our Lady's flannel, Quaker rouge, rag paper, shepherd's club, shepherd's staff, St. Peter's staff, torches, torchwort, velvet dock, velvet plant, white man's-footsteps, wild ice leaf, witch's candles, witch's taper, woolen, and wooly mullein.
Explore on Your Own!

So now you know a bit more about Mullein.  

Grab a bag, a blade, and go explore! 
Harvest some mullein. 
Make some mullein oil and tincture.
Dry some leaves and roots for future use. 
Learn!  

This plant is a wonderful place to start.


Blessed Be!
Rowan of Oakmist