May 17, 2011

Hoodoo Herbalism Wood Betony

Wood Betony or Bishopwort is a common, yet neglected magickal plant. While “imported” in Hoodoo Herbalism from European, American people did use plant Pedicularis canadiensis as Wood Betony, prior to the introduction of the aforementioned. In this article I will be speaking of Stachys officinalis, and while some authorities will claim they are used interchangeably, and that such practice is justified I beg the difference, well regarding the justification of equal use of plant. They are not even botanically related, let alone magickaly, well according to my knowledge that is, and I will elaborate on that later in the article.

Bishopwort or Lousewort is very common in Europe, where it’s native ( occurs naturally in some parts of Asia and in Northern Africas ) and it’s easy to distinguish, even to those without proper botanical taxonomy, morphology and systematic knowledge.

It can grow up to , about 60cm ( sometimes slightly more ) , and it can be recognized by purple inflorescence ( S. officinalis and S. betionica ) . Flowers have 5 teeth calyx and a corolla with anthers that stick straight out, making a positive taxonomic marker for Lamiace family. Being a skyophyte, it like’s grasslands and open wood, or meadows. In magick we use the two mentioned species S. officinalis and S.betonica. A species S.subernata is quite resembling, but yellow color of the flowers helps differentiate it, as they tend to occur together sometimes.

Use in European based magick

Old Roman entries are consistent with later European ( mostly British, Wells and German sources ) that prescribe the plant against sorcery and ghosts. It’s a typical plant to be used in Beltaine and Midsummer bonfires, and is found in various purification and protection mixtures. It’s often grown or sprinkled nearside homes to provide a sort of “protective barrier through which no evil can enter” [1] as a late occult herbalist stated. My experience taught me that it has brilliant evil repelling, banishing and vanquishing properties, hence it’s a ingredient in a potion recipe against evil spirits that I composed, and that calls for combining :

• St John’s wort
• Wood Betony
• Blackberry leaves
• Garlic cloves
• Basil
• Salt and
• Pepper

Europeans make similar mixtures with Wood Betony to treat notorious “Elf’s shoot” a mysterious condition belived to be caused by Elven arrows. Depending on sources recipes differ, some containing only the key ingredient, being Lousewort, while other common ingredients include Garlic, St John’s wort and Nettle.
It’s still common to found in some churchyards, to calm or banish the angry ghosts.
Anglo Saxon works on Herbalism suggest placing it bellow pillow, around neck or the juice of the plant ingested prior to going to bed to “prevent dreaming” and “nightly visions” and some modern authors assure us that it protects body and soul during astral journeys.

Hoodoo uses of Wood Betony

As I stated before, Hoodoo people use also “another” Wood Betony ( Pendicularia canadiensis ) but they use it interchangevly with Wood betony ( S. officinalis ) mostly to shield from spirits and diseases, and can be found in some “Reversing” incense recipe alongside Agrimony. Here is my personal formula of such incense “genre” :

• Wood Betony
• Agrimony
• Hyssop
• Patchouli Leaves ( optional )

It’s used in a bath to undo witches curses and to protect from same, along with 8 other herb , according to Miss Catherine Yronwode ( among other ingredients Wood Betony, Whitw clover, Nettles etc )[2]

I myself find it useful in countering unnatural diseases ( brought by magickal work ) and in a form of oil such as my formula I like to call “Vigoro oil
• Wood Betony
• Self Heal
• Boneset
• Samson snake root
• Camphor essential oil
All to base oil or Almond or Olive, with a vit E capsule.

NOTES: This article was composed and writteb by me, therfore should YOu desire to use it elswhere, feel free, just add the credits Shadow of Shadows magick place, or or give a direct link to this post
CREDITS: While no consulted literature or sources were quoted, I do want to note sources ofr specific information, as indexed in the text
Cunnungham Scott, "Encyclopedia of magick herbs", entry on "Betony, Wood"
[2] "Hoodoo herb and root magick" Catherine Yronwode


Ocean Delano said...

Good post, Shadow! Lately I've been looking for something that I can use to break a non-harmful spell over someone else...I think I'll keep Betony in mind for such a use.

Shadow said...

Glad You liked it :)