Most modern herb lore in Asatru and Heathenry is based on that of classical sources taken from Greek and Roman beliefs in herbs. This makes things difficult as often the herbs common to Northern Europe and thus North America (having been brought over by colonists and immigrants) cannot be found in the most comprehensive of herbals. The ancient Northern Europeans for example held the leek and its cousins, garlic and onion to be very powerful plants while Roman herbalists preferred to use more dangerous plants such as the mandrake. The entries which follow have been gleaned from what remains of Northern European folklore. They are geared to a more magical slant, and where medicinal uses are given they are merely for curosity value and should not be trusted. By all means both a reliable herbal and a reliable plant guide should be consulted before attempting to use any of these plants. The entries are divided alphabetically for your convenience. Finally, the ancient Heathens may have held different beliefs about these herbs. What folklore remains was recorded in the Middle Ages and later unfortunately with the exception of the few Anglo-Saxon charms that survived.


Aconite/Wolvesbane/Monkshod/Wolf's Bane

Wolvesbane has no practical uses as it is deadly posion, and should not be touched with the hands or burned in recels. Its posion was once used to posion arrow heads, and for other rather deadly purposes. Sometimes, it was used in love potions, but probabally not as an aphrodistiac, but to induce paralysis, or numb the cognitive senses. Its victims usually went mad or died. Do not use it under any conditions! Another name for this wort is Tyr's helm, linking it to Tiw (Tyr), and unforgiving justice. A second name auld wife's hood could link it to Holde or the Norns. According to a medieval source, wolvesbane was one of the nine plants used in Midsummer garlands, but somehow this is doubtful. There are truly no practical uses for it in modern Asatru.

Agrimony/Sticklewort/Cockleburr Agrimonia euporia

Also called burrdock, it is known for its burrs or fruits. These "fruits" are known for their ability to cling to clothes, tennis shoes, and just about anything else (the plant by the way, inspired the creator of velcro with its burrs). It is used to heal sores and pimples in poultice form and the leaves can be ground up and used in a tonic to purify the blood. According to English folklore, Burrdock kept near allowed one to see evil witches on their nightly rides. A word of warning, this plant when green is extremely poisonous to pigs, so it is best to keep our swine friends away from it. Good runes to use with burrdock may be Laguz, Dagaz, and Sowilo.

Angelica/Masterwort/Kex Anglica archangelica

Masterwort was used as a ward against witchcraft and its Latin name may indicate a link to the god Hama (Heimdal) as Christianity commonly associated him with the archangel Michael. The name may also suggest a link to the Waelcyrgie though. Masterwort can be candied and eaten, while the seeds can be used in pastries. The stems are said to make good preserves while the leaves, seeds, and roots were used against insomnia, jaundice and the common cold. Some have even tried it as a tobacco substitute. A good rune to use with masterwort may be Elh-secg

Alder Alnus glutinosa

This tree is linked throughout folklore to rebirth and strength. Some even believe Embla, the first woman according to the Eddas was made from an Alder and not an Elm. Its wood has been used in love charms, while its bark and leaves was used in dyes. Combined with copper it can be made into a red dye for wools. Alder has been linked by some to the rune Is, but just as ice must eventually thaw, there is always a chance for rebirth. A better rune to use with alder may be Daeg.

Apple Pyrus malus

One of the most important fruits of Northern Europe, the apple was deliberately breed from the rather smallish crabapple to the fruit we know today. It is has perhaps more mentions throughout Germanic folklore and mythology than any other plant. Idunna's apples gave the gods eternal youth, while Frea (Frey) had his man servant offer apples to Gerd for her hand in marriage. Buckets of what could be apples appear on the altars dedicated to the cult of mothers, and therefore may be linked to such goddesses as Fr*ge (Frigg) and Holde as well. In the Middle Ages, apples were used in love charms, and as talismans against various evils. They were used in magical tests of fidelity as well. At Yule time apples saved from the fall were eaten and the apple trees wassailed so that they would produce a good crop of apples that year. Apples work well with Jera, Lagu, Giefu, Ing, and Beorc depending on what you wish to do. No other fruit is as of much use to Asatru adherants and Heathens as the apple.

Ash Fraxinus excelsior

According to the Eddas, the first man was made from an ash, and some say Yggdrasil is an ash (see rowan and yew as well). As such it is a symbol of mankind and anything dealing with man. Ash combined with elm makes a very potent love charm, while folklore gives it warding powers against black magic, as well as indicates its possible use with "limb runes." These runes were carved on the limb of a tree in order to transfer worts from a man to the tree (the tree being stronger and more capable of dealing with the worts.) The ash is hallowed to Woden (Odin) and Eostre. The twenty-sixth rune of the Anglo-Frisian futhork is named for the ash, and its verse in the "Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem" speaks of its steadfastness in the face of attacks by many men. This may be a veiled Heathen reference to atrocities like that committed by Charlemagne when he ordered the Irminsul, symbol of Heathen Saxon independence cut down. Like the ash, Heathenry or Asatru was dear to man, and held its own despite attacks by many. Ash was also the favored wood for spear and arrows due to its strength and straightness. Good runes to use with ash may be Ur, Os, Wynn, Mann, and Giefu.

Barley Hordeum distichon

Long before hops were used to brew beer, barley formed the main ingredient, and is one of the oldest cultivated crops in the world. It even has a couple of mentions in Germanic folklore and myth. Byggvir, Frea's (Frey)'s valet is believed by some scholars to be a personification of Barley much as John Barleycorn was in the later Middle Ages. The hero Sceaf mentioned in some parts of the lore fell asleep as a child on a sheaf of barley, and floated across the sea on it to the kingdom he came to rule. Similar stories were told of Skjoldr as well as Scyld in Beowulf. Grimm believed these tales to be related to the legends of the Swan Knights, and interpreted them as the dead hero returning to help his homeland and folk. Thus barley may be a symbol of rebirth, or perhaps of birth period. Good runes to use with barley may be Ing, Beorc, and Thorn.

Beech Fagus sylvatica

In the Heathen Era, thin strips of this tree's bark were used to carve the runes into. The word book (AS bece) comes from beech (AS boc). The same is true for several other Germanic languages. Rune lots for divination may have also been made from this nut bearing tree's branches. Folklore has it that snakes fear this tree, and that it can ward off lightning. The leaves were often chewed for chapped lips, and in a decoction, they were used to treat cold sores. Beechmast (nuts) were feed to deer up until recent times in England. Peorth, Giefu, and Elh-secg are all good runes to use with beech.

Betony Betonica officinallis

An Anglo-Saxon herbal said betony was good for body and soul. In folklore it is said to shield against visions and dreams, get rid of worms, and aid in childbirth. As a tea or mixed with wine many have used it to ease headaches and toothaches. Old folk wisdom claims wounded harts ate it for healing. A good rune to use with betony may be Ing.

Birch Betula alba

Along with the oak, ash, and elm, birch was among the most important of trees to the ancient Germanic Heathens. It was considered hallowed to Thunor (Thor) and various goddesses such as Holda. Folklore holds that it can ward off the evil eye and along with besom, its branches were used to beat evil wights out of lunatics. It has been used not only as a symbol of spring, birth, and new life, but also of death and rebirth. These attributes should not be seen as contradictory, but as symbolic of the cycle of life as seen in such birth/death goddesses as Holda. Like beech, birch can be used for chapped lips and cold sores, and its oil is said to be good for skin afflictions. Among the many uses of its wood, was the construction of the Norwegian lure, which is similar to the Swiss alphorn, and used to signal sunset. Some scholars believe A.S. beorgan "to protect" was derived from the birch's name. A good rune to use with birch is its name sake, Beorc.

Blackberry/Bramble Genus:Rubus

Bramble or the vines of the blackberry has been attributed with various magical abilities since some of the earliest recordings of Heathenry. Passing through blackberry brambles was said to reduce swelling, get rid of warts, and rid one of unwanted wights. It was even said to be effective against evil witches. To dream of getting cut when going through a blackberry bramble, meant an unknown foe is trying to hurt you, but if you make it through unscathed, you will win the struggle. Blackberries contain tannic acid and therefore make a good natural dye (giving anywhere from a violet to deep purple coloring). The berries are a good source of vitamin C and can be used to fight the common cold, and their juice was once drank for dysentery. Thorn and Cén are perhaps good runes to use with bramble.

Box Buxus sempervirens


In Germany, twigs of box were thrown into graves, after the coffin was lowered during the Middle Ages, and it often decorated fireplaces on Waelburges as well. To dream of box, was said to foretell a long life. Some have used its bark in tonic as a wormer. Éoh or Beorc are good runes to use with box.

Broom/Besom Cytissus scosrius


Broom is the grass that produces the straws for the common house cleaning tool. Broom was used in house decorations at W‘lburges, and along with birch formed part of the "Besoms" or switches used to beat away unwanted wights. If broom plants have a lot of blooms it is said to foretell a good harvest, although it is bad luck to use a broom made of broom to sweep when the plant is in bloom. Cén is a good rune to use with broom.

Caraway/Cummin Carum carvi


The common cooking herb caraway has alot of folklore built around it. It was said to prevent lovers from straying, serve well in attracting a lover, and to aid in the capture of thieves by "holding them in custody." According to Grimm, a wood wife after being given caraway bread ran into the forest screaming, "They've baked me caraway bread, it will bring that house great trouble." Whether this was because caraway is poisonous to wood wives, or they just hate its taste is not known. Caraway is said to be good for stomach cramps and to help digestion.

Chamoline/Maythen/Stime Anthemis noblis


This herb shares its Latin name with Baldersbrow, a situation which has often caused confusion between the two. Many believe Anthemis noblis to be the "Maythen" of "The Nine Worts Galdor," although it is not native to the Saxon homelands, but an import. In many parts of Europe, it is made into a tea, and used to stop or ease vomiting. Brewed in vinegar, the Germans once used it as a mouthwash. It makes a good pathway plant, and helps prevent erosion caused by the trampling of human feet. Wynn may be a good rune to use with maythen.

Chamoline/Baldersbrow Matricaria chamomilla


Often confused with Maythen (Anthemis noblis), because of the same Latin name, this wort was considered hallowed to the hero Balder. Its properties are similar to those of maythen, adding to the confusion, and it too can be used as a tea for the upset stomach. An extract of it is said to make an excellent shampoo for blondes or light red heads. Both chamolines can be used in recels or perfume, and baldersbrow is good at reducing swelling and itching such as that cause by poison ivy when used as an oil or in a poultice (the chamoline lotion one buys in stores contains baldersbrow). Perhaps this is why baldersbrow was once used in steam bathes to clear stuffy heads as well. It could well be that Matricaria chamomilla and not Anthemis noblis is the "maythen," mentioned in "The Nine Worts Galdor." The Anglo-Saxons were well acquainted with Matricaria chamomilla on the continent, and did not encounter Anthemis noblis until they had settled England. Considering the healing powers of both, either is a likely candidate.

Carrot/Queen Anne's Lace Dacus carota

The wild and tame carrot are two varieties of the same plant, the difference being in the color and taste of the root. The yellow root of the wild carrot is stronger in odour and taste. Both can give one the equired amounts of carotin which is believed to improve eyesight and prevent night blindness. Carrot juice was once dissolved in oil to treat burns and frostbite, and the juice was said to fight worms. Magically, the carrot was considered a bain to the most evil of wights, and was often used to repel them. On a lighter note, and taking modern traditions in mind, one might want to leave a carrot out in the yard for the Easter bunny, to protect him from wights that might interfere with his giving out of Easter eggs,and to give him a snack on his rounds. Laugu, Sigel, and Daeg may be good runes to use with carrots.

Cherry Genus: Prunus

Related to the rose, cherry trees share much of the same properties as a symbol of love and fertility. The blossoms may be used in perfume or incense, and a syrup made from the juice of the fruit has been used as flavoring for years. Cherry trees were wassailed along with apple trees during Yule tide in England during the Middle Ages in order that there be a good harvest. Giefu and Eh are good runes to use with cherry.

Clover/Bloodwort White: Trifolium alba Red: Trifolium prastense

Both common varieties of clover have much folklore associated with them. Any kind of clover, but especially white clover was attributed with bringing wealth, happiness, and good luck. Clover was also thought to give one second sight and to scare off most evil wights. Farmers once believed, and many still do, that clover was a sign of fertile soil. Clover can be used in love divination, incense, and in treating ailments of the skin. Clover tea was once used as a cough remedy. féoh, Sigel, and Wynn are good runes to use with clover.

Cowslip/Freya's Key Primula officinalis


This flower is said to provide Freo (Freya), and her followers the key to Folkwang, and therefore hallowed to her. The nightingale is said to be fond of this flower also, although that it is also said the nightingale prefers the rose and hops as well. Cowslip has much in common with its goddess, and is a flower of lover and sexual energies. Unlike the rose, which symbolizes undying love, the cowslip is the first fling of passion, the lust of young love. Cén, Wynn and Ing are good runes to use with cowslip.

Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara

Coltsfoot is not mentioned throughout the folklore, but its names, horsehoof, horsefoot, foalswort, and coltsfoot all link it to the horse, an animal hallowed and holy to the Germanic Heathens. This link may deem it hallowed and holy to Woden (Odhinn) or Frea (Frey) as well as the horse was hallowed to those two gods. While Coltsfoot is not mentioned in folklore often, it has been thought to have medecinal uses over the years. The leaves have been used in cough syrups, and have been crushed to treat sores.In World War II, coltsfoot was used as a substitute for tobacco, and it does make for very aromatic recels. Eh may be a useful rune with coltsfoot.

Dandelion/Cankerwort/Swine-Snort Tarax a cum officinale

Thought of as a troublesome weed by many, the dandelion has seen numerous uses throughout time. dandelions gathered on W`lburges was thought to keep evil witches away, and was thought to be hallowed to the goddess Sunne (Sunna), perhaps because of its bright yellow bloom. Dandelion tea was once thought to remove kidney stones and was also used as a laxative. The leaves can be used in salads or cooked with greens, while a wine can also be made from the blooms. Sigel and D‘g are good runes to use with dandelion.

Daisy, English Bellis Perenis


The Daisy has long been used in love divination with the "She loves me, she loves me not" formula and were used to decorate graves in the Middle Ages as a symbol of rebirth. The English daisy, along with its namesake, the ox-eye daisy were once used extensively in Midsummer decorations. The English daisy is hallowed to Sunne as its flower only opens when she shines. Good runes to use with the Daisy are Giefu, Eh, Sigel, and D‘g.

Daisy, ox-eye Chrysanthemum leucanthemum

Also called the moon daisy, the ox-eye daisy is hallowed to Thunor (Thor), and like all plants hallowed to the thunder god is said to keep away lightning. Like the English daisy it can be used for love divination. The leaves of the ox-eye were once used on bruises while the dried blossoms were once boiled and used as a lotion for chapped hands. A good tune to use with the ox-eye daisy is Thorn.

Elder/Hylan tree/Ellhorn Sambucus nigra


The elder was one of the holiest trees in the eyes of the ancient Germanic Heathens. In various parts of England and Denmark, to cut down an Elder, one had to ask permission of Lady Ellhorn or Hylde-Moer (whom some believe to be the German goddess Holde herself). To fail to ask permission and offer another tree or gift in return was to incur the wrath of the Huldru-folk or the Elle (people of the elder). In fact, the normally loving goddess Holda as Lady Ellhorn was said to kill babies whose cribs were made of its wood. Any follower of Asatru or Heathen needs to make sure to make an offering to the tree before taking any branch. However, if taken properly, the elder could lend its powers to all sorts of uses. The elder has been attributed with revealing evil wights, bringing ghosts or little folk into a house (if the elder branch or leaf is brought inside), and warding against all kinds of fiends. Even its berries were thought powerful for a circle of them was thought to a quite powerful warding circle. Elder tea was once thought good for headaches and the juice of the berries was used to treat toothaches. The leaves were once used to treat burns. The berries can also be made into wine or jams, while the dried leaves were once soaked in vinegar to flavor it. féoh, Thorn, and Eolh-secg are good runes to use with the elder.

Elfdock/Elecampane/Horse Heal Inula helenium

Elfdock is one of the Elvenkind's favorite plant and it is said if one wishes to gain their favor, they should leave the roots by a patch of elfdock. However, the plant also works against the Elves, because folklore also holds that one can overcome Elven magic by stabbing the root of the plant with a knife. According to some sources, elfdock can be a guide to wisdom and magic lore if used properly. The roots were formerly used to heal skin disorders, and in mead or beer to give it a pleasant odour. Good runes to use with Elfdock might be Os, Wynn, Eh, and Sigel.

Elm/Elven Ulmus campestris

Embla, the first woman was made from an Elm, and given the three gifts of wod, divine breath, and form by Woden, Willa, and Wéoh (Odin, Villi, and Vé). Therefore the elm symbolizes the feminine principal in life. It is said to be a favorite tree of Elves and they are said to gather beneath its limbs often. The elm was also said to ward against lightning, and to be a storehouse of ancient wisdom. It makes a powerful love charm when combined with ash. The leaves of the elm were once used in poultices to reduce swelling, and on open wounds to help heal them. Wynn, Giefu, and Géar are good runes to use with elm.

Fir

Fir boughs are common Yule tide decoration, and it is favored among many for the Yule tree. Its wood also often found use as the Yule log, although usually it was beat out by beech or oak for this use. The fir is an evergreen and is strongly linked to the idea of immortality. One of the Anglo-Roman altars at Hadrians Wall has a representation of a fir tree. This altar was dedicated to the Mothers' cult, and may show a link between the Mothers and the Anglo-Saxon Modraniht (Yule eve) mentioned by Bede. It was once believed in Germany, that if one had the gout, they could get rid of it by going to a fir tree after sunset and saying a charm on three Fridays in a row.

Flax/Dis Linum usitatissimum

Flax was considered hallowed to the German goddess Holda, whom Grimm identified with Frige (Frigg), and other goddesses linked to spinning and weaving. Flax has close ties to household affairs, and is thought to promote prosperity and fertility, as well as beauty. Naturally, flax came to symbolize the successful marriage of true love and troth. In the Middle Ages, its leaves and blooms were worn by single wermen and women. If the leaves and blooms didn't wilt, it meant you were to meet your true love. The Unholden (evil wights believed by the Germans of the Middle Ages to oppose Frau Holda) fear the sight of flax and its product linen, and won't go near either. Tea was once made from flax seed to purify the blood, and poultices made from crushed seeds was thought to fight inflammation. Good runes to use with Flax may be Os, Giefu, Beorc, and Ing.

Garlic Allium sativum

Garlic literally means the "spear leek," named so for its stalk that grows straight up from the root. Garlic is hallowed to Thunor (Thor), and symbolized courage, strength, and rapid growth. It was a wort eaten by warriors for courage and hung over doors to keep away evil. Like any other plant held holy by Thunor (Thor), it kept one safe from lightning. Throughout the Middle Ages, garlic was used as a cure all in a variety of ways. Modern research has confirmed that garlic contains allicin and sulfur, two in antibiotics today. Garlic is a natural antifungal and antibacterial agent and should be eaten by anyone fighting an infection. Powered allum (an extract of Garlic) is useful in healing cold sores. Thorn and Lagu are good runes to use with garlic.

Hawthorn Crataegus oxyacantha

According to folklore, Thunor (Thor) created the Hawthorn in a bolt of lightning, and such being so, it was said to protect against lightning, storms at sea, and unwanted wights. It was said to keep women looking youthful, and was one of the nine woods used in funeral pyres. Its flowers were displayed on W‘lburges, and used in wreathes at that time. A decoction of the flowers and berries was once used as a cough syrup, and the flowers soaked in wine were once given to ease stomach pain. Good runes to use with hawthorn might be Os, Thorn, and Cén. It must be pointed out that the "Thorn" of the Old English rune poem may refer to the hawthorn and be sort of a kenning for Thunor (Thor).

Hazel

Like the hawthorn, rowan, and oak, the hazel was hallowed to Thunor (Thor), and its wood may have once been used for rune lots. The nidhstong set up by Egil Skallagrimsson against Eirikr Bloodaxe and Queen Gunnhild was made of hazel, and hazel remains a favorite for divining rods to this day. The leaves, nuts, and branches were used in marriage processions during the Middle Ages. Good runes to use with Hazel may be Thorn, Giefu, and Eh.

Holly Ilex aquilfolium

Forever linked to Yule, it was once believed that holly harvested on the Twelfth Night protected one from evil wights. Holly remains a favorite Yule time decoration, and as such is symbolic of steadfastness, rebirth, and renewal. Good runes to use with holly might be Os and Beorc. Note: holly berries are extremely poisonous, so by no means try to eat them or use them in any form of herbal remedy.

Houseleek/Thorsbeard/Thunderbeard Sem pervivum tectorum

The houseleek like most leeks has a lot in common with garlic, and can be interchanged fro magical purposes. Houseleeks were planted on roof tops to defend against lightning, and was thought to keep away all kinds of woecraft and evil wights. The juice of the houseleek was thought to be good for burns. Thorn and Laaguz are good runes to use with the houseleek.

Juniper Juniperus communis

This evergreen like the oak is hallowed to Thunor (Thor), and according to several Icelandic tales cannot be mixed with rowan (another tree favored by the thunder god), or a too much heat will be generated. The juniper was thought capable of restoring life, and its oil had a variety of uses in elixirs and poultices. It also makes a very good incense. Thorn and K‚n are good runes to use with juniper.

Lilly-of-the-Valley/Mayflower/Freya's Tears* GENUS:Convallaria

According to Norwegian folklore, the Mayflower was created when a goddess (Freo, Frige, or others dependent on locale) found winter so bleak that she tore up her green dress and with a handful of snow created these flowers. It is thought unlucky to transplant these flowers (as it is with many plants seen as belonging to a deity), but in some areas they were gathered to pay rent or for W‘lburges decorations.Mayflowers were thought to strengthen the mind and clear one's complexion. Feoh and Os, are good runes to use with Mayflowers.
*Adapted after the name "Our Lady's Tears"

Linden GENUS:Tilia

Linden trees were known for their wood which made such fine shields and bucklers, that the name of the tree, linden came to mean also "shield." Thus "under linden" in old Germanic poetry meant to be behind a shield. Such qualities make it a tree of protection and defense. In Sweden, magistrates passed judgment under its limbs, and the linden was thought to house the home's domestic spirits. Germany, though had the linden a home of dwarves, where it was also thought of as a tree of immortality. As a tree of judgment, it is probably hallowed to Tiw (Tyr), and the painting of the rune Tiw on linden shields makes such a thought plausible. Good runes to use with linden may be Eolh-secg and Tiw.

Maple GENUS:Acer

Maples can be found throughout North America and Europe, and its wood is said to make good divining rods. In England, it was once believed that passing a child through a maple's branches insured long life. One of the maple's names in Anglo-Saxon was Hlin, and the Old Norse cognate for this word was used as another name for Freo (Freya) indicating the tree may be hallowed to her. The sugar maple is known for its syrup and is said to be good for an upset stomach or as a cough syrup.

Mistletoe Viscum album

Mistletoe seems to have played an important role in most European culture and a special one in the Germanic and Celtic cultures. Amongst the Germanic Heathens, it was harvested on Midsummer's Eve, and was not allowed to touch the ground. In many areas, it was shot down with a spear or arrow, as it was bad luck to cut it with a knife or other blade. Mistletoe taken from the oak was thought to be the most powerful, and was believed to ward against evil witches, have powers over life and death bestow fertility, extinguish fire, have the healing powers of an allheal, and work as an aphrodisiac. Divining rods made of mistletoe were even thought capable of finding gold. Scandinavians once believed mistletoe came to a tree in a flash of lightning, suggesting a link to Thunor (Thor), though its name means "little mists" suggesting it may have condensed from fog in the night air. While not as important to Asatru as it is to Celtic religion, Mistletoe still plays an important role. Note: Mistletoe berries are extremely poisonous, and should not be eaten.

Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris

Mugwort is one of the nine herbs mentioned in "The Nine Wort's Galdor," and was seen as a general cure all. Simply placing a sprig of it in one's pouch was supposed to prevent T*ring. Mugwort gathered on Midsummer Eve and placed in a grain bin was thought to keep mice away from the grain, while wreathes of mugwort defended against thunder and thieves. If made into a girdle, mugwort was thought to protect one from witches, ghosts, and general misfortune. Mugwort in modern Asatru and Heathen practice is used as a journey herb to fare forth and as an aid in trancing for spae and seidhr work. Good runes to use with mugwort would be Ur, Os, andGéar.

Nettle GENUS: Urtica

Nettle is hallowed to Thunor (Thor), and wearing it in the face of danger was thought to inspire bravery. Like many plants hallowed to Thunor (Thor) it was said to keep lightning at bay. Strangely enough though, its name is related to the word needle, both having derived from an Indo-European root meaning "to sew." This is not surprising as nettle fibers were once used to make household linens before cotton was brought to Europe. Many believe nettle to be the herb "Stithe" mentioned in "The Nine Worts Galdor," although this is not certain. Nettle can be used in tea and was thought symbolic of new life. Good runes to use with Nettle may be Thorn and Daeg.

Oak GENUS:Quercus

The Oak was an important tree to nearly all the Indo-European cultures, and thought hallowed to their thunder gods. The Germanic Heathens were no different as they held the oak to be hallowed to Thunor (Thor). The oak was also linked to the souls of the dead. It along with the yew could be found in graveyards, and coffins were often made of oak wood. Oak served in the creation of need fire, as the Yule log, and in the Midsummer bonfires. It was probably also one of the nine woods used in funeral pyres. The oak was seen as having great healing powers, in England and Germany, one merely had to walk around one to get rid of an ailment. The oak then gave the ailment to a passing bird. It was also thought of as a tree of strength and justice, and both Elves and Man gathered under its branches. In Scandinavia, m‘thels were held beneath oaks, a tradition carried over to America, where the grass beneath an oak served as a courtroom in pioneer days. Rods made of oak were used to collect herbs, and according to Kveldulfr Gundarsson in Teutonic Magic the hlaut-teinn was used to sprinkle the blood of sacrifices were usually oak. The oak itself was often worshiped, and gifts were sometimes left at its base for its guardians. To cut down an oak meant to bring on great misfortune. The oak may have been one of the "nut bearing" trees Tacitus spoke of in "Germania" as lots having been made from. We do know acorns were used in various forms of divination in the Middle Ages. Good runes to use with oak are Thorn, Géar, ans Sigel.

Orpine/Midsummer Men Sedum telephium

The Midsummer men were used in a form of love divination. A pair of the plants would be planted side by side. If both grew and leaned towards each other, the couple planting them would marry. If one slip dies, one of the couple will die before marriage. Orpine also found its uses in the decorations of Midsummer and was one of the herbs gathered on Midsummer's Eve. Good runes to use with orpine may be Giefu, Géar, Sigel, and Daeg.

Parsley

Parsley was thought hallowed to Woden (Odhin), especially in his role as leader of the Wild Hunt. If one meets the Hunt, it was once thought, they could avert death or injury by asking the Huntsmen for Parsley. It was also believed that Parsley could treat the side effects (blindness, head injuries, knife and claw wounds) of having seen the Hunt. Many superstitions surround parsley. It should not be cut by those in love, nor should it ever be given away, for with it one was thought to give away their luck (maegen or main). Neither should it be accepted as a gift. It could, however, be stolen without harm. It was thought bad luck to transplant parsley, unless, of course, it was stolen, for it could cause a family death. Most of these beliefs were linked to parsley as a plant hallowed to Woden (Odin), and therefore it was also said the souls of babies came from parsley patches, although this may show a link to the German goddess Holda, sometimes leader of the Hunt, and warder of the souls of the unborn. Parsley said to improve one's memory. Good runes to use with parsley may be Os and N*ed.

Rose GENUS:Rosa

The rose, flower of love and life, hallowed to dwarves and elves was considered the German goddess Holda's flower, and was called Frau Rose or Mother Rose. To pick a rose, one was thought to have to ask permission of Holda or the King of the Dwarves, failure to do so could result in great misfortune. The rose has long been a symbol of love, joy, and sweetness in both life and death. In England it was a custom to plant a rose bush as the head of a lover that died before marriage. The rose and its thorns were thought to possess many powers useful in love divination, charms, and potions. The "sleep thorn" that puts Sleeping Beauty to sleep in some German versions is a Rose thorn. As early as 477 BCE the Romans used a red rose above a council table to indicate a meeting was confidential, and this usage has carried over somewhat in Teutonic culture. According to modern florist lore, each color of rose has its own meaning. Red roses are a symbol of true, undying love, while yellow roses symbolize only friendship, and white roses, purity. roses hips (the fruit of the European red rose) have some medical uses, and contain more than twenty times the amount of Vitamin C than an orange. G‚ar and Beorc may be good runes to use with roses.

Rosemary

While Rosemary is not native to Northern Europe, the Romans carried it north with them, and it earned a place in Germanic culture. It was used in bridal wreathes to guard against early pregnancy, and it was also used in funeral wreathes. Its odour was supposed to keep away all kinds of evil wights, although in the Netherlands, it was once called Elf Leaf, and said to be a favorite of the Elvenkind. Rosemary was also thought to promote remembrance, fidelity, and friendship. A sprig of Rosemary under one's pillow was thought to prevent nightmares in many parts of Europe.

Rue

Rue was used for warding against evil wights according to early English Common Law, but was also found in the "witch's brews" or "flying ointments" of the medieval witch. This would make it a likely herb to use in faring forth or second sight. Some herbals state it was useful against wolvesbane and other poisons but this is very doubtful.

Sow Thistle Carlina vulgaris

This thistle like the others of its family is hallowed to Thunor (Thor), and was thought to have many special powers. It was thought one could use it to steal the thoughts and m`gen of another to the point they would waste away and die, and that if one tied it around a cat's neck, the cat would become a better mouser. Sow Thistle was also said to be able to cure the Black Plague, although this is doubtful, it could be the thistle was used to lance the boils and ulcerations caused by the plague, and improve one's chances of survival. See Thistle.

Strawberry

Strawberries were thought hallowed to Frige (Frigg), and folklore says she (in Germany it was Holda) concealed children that died as infants in strawberry fields in order to smuggle them into the afterlife. These were probably the souls of exposed infants that were thought to haunt this world, having no means to reach the great beyond. Perhaps they were members of the Perchtenjagd, which was made up of the souls of unbaptized children that made up Frau Holde's ground based variant of Woden's Wild Hunt. The Elvenkind are said to be fond of srawberries, and like many of the plants they are fond of, they can be bribed with them. Good runes to use with strawberries may be Géar and Beorc.

Tansy Tanacetum vulgare


Tansy has been used in Easter cakes and puddings for hundreds of years, and as such can be linked to the imagery surrounding the goddess Eostre and her holiday. It is a plant of rebirth and new beggings as well as the spring time of life. This can be seen in one belief that by placing a leaf of Tansy on her navel a pregnant woman could induce childbirth. Good runes to use with Tansy may be Géar, Beorc, Sigel, and Daeg .

Thistle Cnicus acaulis carduus Benedictus cirsium vulgare

The three varieties of plants called thistle all share the same spiritual characteristics, and all are thought hallowed to Thunor (Thor). They were used in love divination much as Midsummer Men were and found several uses in charms. Thistle appears frequently in the Anglo-Saxon herbals and apparently had several uses in healing. Thorn is a good rune to use with thistle.

Teasel Dipsacus sylvestris

The seed head of teasel was once fastened to spindles, and then used to "tease" the nap of woolen cloth in lieu of a teasing comb, and it is from this use whence its name comes. Considering this use of Teasel ing spinning it may have be hallowed to any of the "spinning" goddesses such as Frige (Frigg) or Holda. Therefore one should expect teasel to reflect many of the qualities of Flax, and perhaps aspects of love in marriage, knowledge, household affairs, and so forth. teasel also has a link to the goddess Eostre though, for water collected from the base of its leaves on Easter morning was considered holy. Good runes to use with teasel may be Beorc, Sigel , and D‘g.

Thyme


After Clover, thyme was the favored plant to place near bee hives to improve the taste of honey. Bees are not the only ones to like its flavor however, as the Elven kind also are said to favor Thyme. Thyme was once used on house floors to give the home a pleasant odour, and has served as a food additive for years. Thyme was once believed to stay off depression and to give one courage.

Valerian/Wayland's Wort


Wayland's Wort was thought hallowed to the great smith Wayland, and it is said to allow one to commune with the dead, and inspires love. It is also loved by cats. Good runes to use with Wayland's Wort may be Os, C‚n, and Giefu.

Vervain/Feverweed

Vervain was once used by the Druids, the priests of the Celtic tribes, who used only an iron tool to harvest it, much as they did a silver tool to harvest mistletoe. It had to be harvested when neither the Sun nor the Moon were in the sky, and when Sirius was rising. Honey was then poured into the ground to replace the loss. Germanic Heathenry seems to have revered vervain as well, as it found its way into most witch's brews, and is frequently mentioned elsewhere. Bathing in vervain's undiluted juices was said to allow one to see the webs of Wyrd, fulfill their every wish, cure disease, be a friend to all, and be warded against all charms and enchantments. Needless to say it was used in love potions and bridal wreathes. Modern followers of Asatru have not really used vervain much... perhaps we should. Good runes to use with Veravin may be Os, Giefu , and Wynn.

Walnut


The name of this nut bearing tree in Anglo-Saxon means "foreign nut," and indicates the Anglo-Saxons were unfamiliar with it. This seems doubtful as the tree can be found in most parts of Europe. Witches, Elves, and Dwarves were once said to gather beneath the Walnut's branches, and a branch from a Walnut tree singed in the Easter bonfires were believed to ward houses from lightning.

Willow

Willow has been seen as a tree of life, not to mention water, but more often it has been associated with funerals, sadness, and heartbreak. Of course, sadness and heartbreak often accompany funeral rites. It was once believed, one could, by tying knots in a branch of a willow, bind or kill an enemy, and this, along with its uses in funeral rites calls to mind Woden (Odin) and his boasts of knowing spells to bind his enemies. Thus the willow may be hallowed to Woden (Odhinn) and his Waelcyrgien (Valkyries). Torches made of willow were once used in parts of Europe on Whitsuntide, though this may be a Slavic practice. Os and N*ed may be good runes to use with willow.

Yarrow/Milifoil Achillea millefolium

Yarrow was yet another herb used in love divination, though the methods varied. Supposedly, Yarrow picked from a young man's grave was best. Hung up at Midsummer it was said to prevent illness year round. Yarrow is also said to give strength to plants around it, and if a leaf is held against the eye lids, it was thought to allow one to see another's thoughts. Good runes to use with yarrow may be Ur and Eolh-secg.

Yew, European

Many believe the World Tree is a yew, and not an ash, and therefore is linked to Woden (Odin). It is a tree of the dead, and can be found in many ancient European grave yards. Its leaves were placed in shrouds, and to dream of yew meant an aged person would die, leaving much wealth for their heirs. Yew was used in rune wands and bows and Wuldor's (Ullr's) home is named "Yew Dales." The yew as an evergreen symbolizes eternal life in death, for this tree is also deadly poisonous, and yet it is "ever green, worldly representative of the World Tree". These qualities made the yew good for defensive magic for just as it could endure all, so could the one that bore it. The thirteenth rune is named ihwaz which in proto-Germanic means "yew." In the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem, the Yew is described as a powerful tree, the "watcher of fire," and called a "joy on the estate." These lines describe the World Tree as tall and strong, ever watchful for the all consuming fire, while bringing joy to many. Yew was the favored wood for bows. Os and Eoh may be good runes to use with yew.



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