Wednesday, July 14, 2010


"The pretty herb of Venus' tree,
Thy true name it is yarrow,
Now who my bosom friend must be,
Pray tell thou me to-morrow."

J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps, 1820-1889

Having spent the better part of the last two weeks working daily in my witch's garden, so named because I grow in it only those flowers and herbs that serve my magickal and/or medicinal purposes, I thought it a good time to talk about one of my favorite plants to work with, and one I use all the time. To anyone who visits my home, this garden looks just like a big, beautiful and very colorful field garden but it is, in fact, a very practical plot of land. So much is in bloom right now: hyssop and valerian, bergamot and echinacea, false indigo and heliopsis, thistles and poppies, and yarrow, to name a few. And it's the yarrow I'd like to talk about today as this is one very versatile and potent little plant.

As yarrow vibrates to the energy of both air and Venus, it is best used in spells that are spoken aloud. Speak loudly and clearly and let your intentions be carried on the wind. And any herb that is influenced by Venus is most potent for love spells and any spells that involve the emotions. Hanging yarrow over your bed will draw to you the love of your life and if you're getting married, hang a bundle over your bridal bed to ensure your love stays strong for at least seven years (though hopefully it will last a lifetime!).

Yarrow is said to increase your psychic ability and powers of perception when drunk as an herbal tea. Burn the flowers themselves and the direction of the smoke will predict your future: smoke that rises means good luck will come your way, smoke that floats downward indicates the opposite. Dried yarrow sticks made from the woody stems of the plant have been used for centuries in divining the I Ching. Because yarrow is such a spiritual plant, it was considered perfect for this purpose.

If you're in need of protection, yarrow is your herb. Want to purify your home or circle or cleanse a negative situation? Burn yarrow in ritual or carry the plant on your person in a small talisman or conjure bag. Even just a small sprig in your pocket will work, too. Yarrow wards off fear, evil and negative energy and is a powerful and dynamic element to include in any spells cast to work this magick. It can protect you from hexes and black magick aimed at you. Throw yarrow stems and flowers across the threshold of your home to protect your house from evil or tie a swag of it over your front door to do the same.

Please note that for some individuals, yarrow can be a skin irritant. If you have sensitive skin, handle with care or wear gloves when working with this plant. Likewise, unless you are sure that you are not allergic to yarrow, do not drink a tea made from it. Please use common sense and care.

Photo courtesy of doglington on flickr.


Robur d'Amour said...

As you probably know, Yarrow is the name for the genus, and there are several plants which go under that heading.

The yellow one in that photo is probably Achillea filipendulina. The common native yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is white.

The native yarrow was introduced to America by European settlers, and was adopted by the Native American Indians because of its healing properties. Another common name is Carpenters Herb because it's good for cuts.

I've got a couple of yellow ones, and a couple of white ones. Modern hybridists have also created red and orange ones. These are actually the ones that seem to be the most popular in garden centres. Red doesn't seem quite right to me.

The leaves on the native white variety are very small and fern-like, much finer than some of the cultivars. I believe that it will tolerate mowing, and its fern-like leaves make a fine lawn, though I've never seen such a thing.

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