Plant spirit magic series #1
Mistletoe Viscum album
Irish- Drualus 'herb of the druids'.
Welsh: Uchelwydd. 'high trees'
Writing of the Iron Age druids, the Roman writer Pliny tells us that druids cut branches of mistletoe with a golden sickle, on the sixth day of the moon after the Winter solstice. The mistletoe, known as ‘all-heal’ was a powerful magical talisman for healing, fertility and magic; its sticky white berries perhaps signifying the seed of the sun god himself, ready to impregnate the land with new life. The mistletoe has always been of such deep significance around the time of the winter solstice that the practice of finding a place for it in our homes remains to this day, surviving as part of traditional Christmas celebrations. The fertility magic it embodies is still recognised, albeit in a more civilised form perhaps, in the tradition of kissing beneath it.
Mistletoe grows mostly on apple trees, and it can be a common sight in orchards and even suburban gardens. The ancient druids considered it especially sacred when it grew on an oak tree- the oak also being sacred to the god of the sun. However, apple trees are wonderful spirits in their own right, and mistletoe from an apple tree works just as well to bring a little fertility magic into the home during the winter.
Mistletoe should never touch the ground. Should it touch the earth the magic will dissipate into the soil- good for Mother Earth perhaps, but not for the individual trying to work with it. Cut it using sharp secateurs with as much respect as possible, and never take all of it, asking that it give some of itself to bring the gift of life into your home. When you have cut it, place your hand over the cut and thank the mistletoe spirit, lending some of your care as an exchange. Wrap the mistletoe in a white cloth, before hanging it in special places around the home, tied with red or white ribbon. Hanging mistletoe over the bed with a simple prayer for a child is an ancient charm to enhance fertility, whereas placing over the hearth or over the front
door encourages kinship and goodwill, and other kinds of fertility for creative projects and a happy home. When the solstice is passed, either leave it in its place or find another respectful place to hang it over the coming year, and then burn it at the following winter solstice, replacing it with a fresh branch.
Mistletoe spell for creativity or fertility.
You will need a fresh white candle, some mistletoe berries and a small white pouch.
First you may wish to create a sacred space to do this work, in any way which suits you. Performing this spell on a clear and tidy kitchen or dining table is fine, just ensure you will not be interrupted for at least 15 minutes.
Begin by taking a few deep breaths, and ask aloud that all good spirits aid you and bless your work. Then light the candle, and in your own words, ask aloud that you may draw greater creativity or fertility into your life. Be specific- what sort of fertility or creativity are you asking for? What do you want to draw to you? Do you want to learn new skills like painting or playing music? Or do you want to
bring a child into the world? Creativity and fertility can also help to find new ways of being or handling situations, as well as bringing healing into your life. Hold the berries in your hand, and again, in your own words, ask the mistletoe spirit to help you. State aloud what you wish to bring to you; confide in the mistletoe like a trusted friend. Imagine you can see the berries glowing with golden light. With every deep breath you take, the light grows stronger, and the two of you begin to set the magic to work. When you are ready, thank the mistletoe and place the berries in the pouch, and either carry them with you or place them somewhere safe, for the next three months. Snuff out the candle, and relight it each evening until it burns down.
Parts used: Dried leafy twigs
Caution- Mistletoe berries are poisonous.
Mistletoe is a powerful nervine, a plant which strengthens the nervous system. Traditionally used for centuries as a relaxant and herbal remedy for sleep, the chemical components of Mistletoe impact the release of neurotransmitters that calm down and soothe the nervous system. Classed as “hypotensive”, meaning it can lower blood pressure, this herb can be very useful but if you have any heart conditions or low blood pressure you should seek the advice of a qualified medical herbalist before use. one of Mistletoes other names in Irish and Scots Gaelic is Uil-ioc meaning 'all heal'.
Mistletoe Tincture Take 1ml to 4 ml up to 3 times a day or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner Mistletoe Tea 1-2 teaspoons cut herb per 1 cup of boiling water, leave to infuse.
Do not give to children or pregnant women. Do not take if using MAO inhibitor medication, such as some anti-depressants. Consult your doctor and a medical herbalist if you are taking any prescription medication before using Mistletoe.
with extracts from The Magical Year by Danu Forest ( Watkins 2016)