Jun 30, 2014

St John's wort use in herbal magick

St John’s wort ( Hypericum perforatum ) is a plant of/in the family  Hypericaceae,  which is native in Europe and Asia, but exists as introduced, sometimes invasive species  in America, Australia, and in general, in all warm and temperate  climate zones.

The glabrous stalk can grow up to 1m high, branches in upper parts, bearing yellow flowers in terminal corymb/bostryx  ( type of cymose  inflorescence  )  .  Leaves are opposite, oblong, without
St John's wort botanical illustration
stalk , bearing  translucent dots, which are actually oil- containing glands, and can easily be noted when the herb is held  against the light, hence the species latin name “perforatum” ( lit. perforated )  .

Flowers are actinomorphic , with 5 petals  ( corolla ) and 5 sepal ( calyx ), petals  bearing black dots, mostly on the edges, which are , like those on leaves  oil glands.   They are around   2.5 cm in diameter.

Due to contents of hypericine, and hyperforine, it’s clynicaly proven to be efficient in treating mild to moderate depression, as well as some other neurological conditions such as anxiety, OCD and insomnia. [1]  Infused oil of St John’s wort is a traditional  European herbal  medicine for first degree burns, cuts and smaller bruises, and is proven to  have antibacterial effect. However, it also phototoxic , which means it causes  skin photosensitivity in some people, though in much lesser degree than Angelica essential oil or Rue.

Use in herbal magick

“ To drive away “phantastical spirits,” according to Robert

Burton’s 17th-century work, The Anatomy of Melancholy, St.

John’s wort should be gathered on a Friday and then “hung

about the neck.” “

  Gerina Dunwhich  in : “Herbal magick – a witches guide to Herbal folklore, enchantments and divination”

St John’s wort is a traditional Midsummer plant , and is thus   traditionally     plucked / harvested  on Midsummer / St John’s feast day which also happens to be the Holy day of Voodoo  .

It’s associated with St. John the Baptist through various Christian legends. One of them speaks how upon the beheading   of St John ,  the plant started excreting  red oil.  The Latin name for the genus “Hypericum” comes from old Greek “hyeprikon” which means “over apparition/icon”   reffrencing the custom of  hanging the dry plant wreaths  and bundles over Saint’s Icons among the Orthodox  Christians, who firmly believe that the plant has extremely strong apotropaic powers, that can repel even the Dev*l himself.

It’s no wonder then, that one of the names for it is also “Fuga daemonium” ( Latin, lit. chase away –demons ).  Another common name for the plant,  “Sol terrestis”  ( Latin lit. Sun of Earth,  or Earthly Sun , also Sun on Earth ) speaks of plant’s association with Solar power, and symbolically also the power of light to chase away darkness.  

When placed in a jar and hung  by a window St. John’s wort protects  against thunderbolts, fire, and evil spirits” [2] says the Cunningham’s encyclopedia of Magical herbs . St John’s wort is particularly powerful  when picked on Midsummer and dried over Midsummer fires, it’s said to provide prophetic dreams about  Your future spouse ( when placed bellow pillow ),  and to repel ghosts, evil spirits, and hinders necromancers, and keeps them away from home.  It’s often burned to repel ghosts and evil spirits in form of incense.

According to Cunningham, the herb was in  ancient times used to detect witches, or rather force them to admit that they are of such, by holding it against their mouths.  [3]

It’s also a power herb,  that infuses practitioner with energy, both life energy ( “chi”, “prana” ) and the magickal one (“mana” ) hence it’s good for practitioner that feel drained or tired, or need extra “boost” for their work. It’s often mixed with Frankincense tears for this and burned as incense.  To make a power oil, You can combine St John’s wort  gathered on Midsummer, Frankincense tears and Heliotrope harvested during August. Mind though, that is an extremely  powerful stuff that will amplify spells strength and all the good, but also the bad that may come as a result of it.

St John’s infused oil can be used in funerary rites and mysteries, as well as in exorcism. Herb hung over bed of several people in the same house, can be used to fortel which of them will die first. It’s the person who’s herb has wilted  overnight , who was taught to be the first among the group to die.

In Balkan peninsula folklore, the herb is associated with Virgin Mary, but retains the same properties, as elsewhere in Europe. Additionally, it’s believed to be able to magickally cure infertility. For this purpose the herb must be gathered and not bought, oftentimes a child is sent to do it, and then blessed by Christian priest.  Then it’s used to make an infusion ( tea ) which women drink to cure infertility, particularly when the Moon is full or waxing.  The tea is drunk for a couple of consecutive days, and some of the herbs women should carry with her ( as a talisman ) at all times [4]

Recipes and formulas

Double John and evil’s gone oil

Just an idea that occurred to me when I was writing this. St John’s wort is not traditionally used  in Hoodoo, but this formula, containing it,   references Hoodoo symbolism and terminology  and uses High John the Conqueror root.


·         High John TC root and

·         St John’s wort

In some base oil, like Olive oil, macerate until it gets quite red in color, and then it’s ready to use.

Use to conquer evil, to defeat long standing or persistent curses, or defeat and exorcize demons, and adverse conditions. 

Some St John’s wort herb would make brilliant addition to “Run Dev*l run” Hoodoo oil, both as a dying agent and a powerful magickal adjunct to the formulae .

Power lifting incense

·         St John’s wort gathered at Midsummer

·         Frankincense tears

Burn during rituals or waft oneself with smoke for magickal empowerment, strength and endurance.

Herbal charm to hinder witches and render them unable to harm You

Combine Trefoil, Vervain, St. John’s wort and Dill, and carry in a mojo bag when You have to face, or fight evil witches. 

According to an old English saying : “Trefoil, vervain, St John’s wort and dill, hinder witches of all their will” [5]
NOTES:  This article was written/created by myself, therefore,  If You wish to use any part of it elsewhere   online feel free, but do add credits: Shadow of the Shadows magick place,     Shadow-333@hotmail.com  , or a direct link to this post.
[2] “Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs” Llewellyn publications,  pg. 224th and 225th   
[3] As under [2]
[4] Veselin Cajkanovic “Recnik Srpskih narodnih verovanja o biljkama”  pg.10th
[5] Rhyme retrieved from “Witchcraft and Black magick” by Montague Summers , page 179th, used here for educational and explanatory purposes
IMAGE CREDITS:    St. John's wort illustration  is from  https://middlepath.com.au/plant/img/StJohnsWort_botanical-illustration.jpg used here for illustrative and explanatory, and educational  purposes  without any  ill will, or intent of copyrights infringement

1 comment:

ioana musat said...

Cool! Like your references. Keep going ;).