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The Nine Sacred Herbs

back to the Book Of Shadows

the Anglo-Saxtons believed that disease was spread by toxins blowing in the wind. Songs, salt, water, and herbs were trusted means of protection from the flying venom. The Lacnunga, a 10th century herbal, names nine sacred plants and a chant in their praise.

These nine attack against nine venoms. A worm came creeping and tore asunder man. Then took Woden nine magick twigs and smote the serpant That he in nine pieces dispersed. Now these nine herbs have power, Against nine magick outcasts, Againts nine venoms,against nine flying things, Againdt the loathed things that over land rove.

Mugwart- Artemisia vulgaris- guards against the unseen power of evil. The dried leaves stuffed in a pillow brings sweet dreams, lend vigor when steeped in bath water, and prevent fatigue on a long journey.

Plantian-Plantago major- in the Saxon waybroad in old herbals, for it thrives beside roadways. Fresh leaves draw out infections, halt bleeding in minor wounds, and ease discomfort from burns and stings.

Watercress- Nasturium offcinalis- supplioes a generous amount of Vitamin C. It’s juice added to water is a tonic to erase listlessness.

Betony- Stachys betonica- appears as the fourth herb in later versions of the Nine Herbs Charm. Atterlothe of the original listing defies translation. Betony, however, serves well as a substitute, for it was anciently regarded as a cure for all ills of the body and the soul.

Camomile- Anthemis nobilis- never fails to lift the spirits with its sweet scent. Maythen, as it was known to the Saxons, is the “plants’ physician,” as it revives ailing plants when set near them. Humans enjoy it’s benefits as well.

Nettle – Urtica Dioca – serves many useful purposes. The leaves staunch bleeding and soothe burns. Its seed stimulate appetie. Nettle juice is an excellent hair lotion.

Crab Apple – Pyrus malus –has long been associated with health and renewal. The original wild apple from which all varieties derive is said to promote deep sleep and increase energy.

Chervil – Anthriscus cerefolium – may posses a powerful brain stimulant. It was once the sovereign remedy to restore the will to live. Thyme,Thymus serpyllum , occurs in other lists of the Nine Sacred Herbs, and is said to cheer melancholy.

Fennel – Foeniculum vulgare – conveys longevity, gives strength and curage while its pleasant aroma discourages evil spirits. Fennel is the diet promotes good eyesight and fights obesity.