Herbal Grimoire: St. John’s Wort

Image source: botanical.com

*Please note: this is not a monograph, and I am not an herbalist. This is an excerpt from my herbal grimoire, and the writings of a Witch. It is intended to supplement your own research and studies.*

Name

Who is Saint John?

St. John the Baptist Preaching in the Wilderness by Anton Raphael Mengs

Saint John, also know as John the Baptist, was a Jewish preacher in the 1st century AD. Christian scholars believe he baptized Jesus, and the Gospels portray him as a precursor or forerunner to Jesus. According to the New Testament, he was beheaded by Herod Antipas sometime between AD 28 and 36 for rebuking Herod for divorcing his wife and unlawfully marrying the wife of his brother.

Saint’ John’s Wort is named after this religious figure because the flowers usually bloom on or around June 24th, which is believed to be Saint John’s birthday. The crimson liquid exuded by the plant is believed to be a symbol of the blood spilled from his beheading, and the five yellow petals resemble a saintly halo.

Scientific name: Hypericum perforatum

Hypericum comes from the Greek word hyperikon, which means “over an apparition”, referring to the belief that this herb warded off evil spirits. Perforatum refers to the pinhole perforations found in the leaves and petals.

Identification

Image source: Wikipedia

“…the leaves bear pellucid, transparent dots along their green surfaces…” – Michael Moore

An herbaceous perennial found in uncultivated ground, woods, hedges, roadsides, and meadows. May be found blooming throughout summer. The flowers are bright yellow, an indication of the healthy virtues of this herb. If you crush the flowers, they exude a crimson-purple liquid. The leaves have tiny pinhole perforations, which you can see if you hold one up to the light.

Remedial Qualities

Energy and flavors: cool, bitter

Systems affected: liver, nervous system

Properties: sedative, anti-inflammatory, astringent, antidepressant

Saint John’s Wort is used to treat pains and diseases of the nervous system, and can relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is one of the best herbal therapies for those experiencing depression and numbing frustration, as a result of feeling “stuck in a rut.” Topically it works well as an all-purpose ache and pain reliever.

Magickal Qualities

Gender: masculine

Planet: Sun

Element: fire

Powers: health, protection, strength

Saint John’s Wort is considered an Herbe of Protection, which history dates back to the early Greeks. It may be tossed in the hearth or fireplace to bring protection to the home (it would also be an excellent addition to an incense blend created for use in protection magick). It may also be placed in a jar and hung by a window or doorway to prevent malevolent spirits from entering the home. It may be used as an amulet to be worn on the body for protection and/or good health – also to attract love, and cure melancholy. It is associated with the element of fire, and may be used in magickal works to commune with fire spirits. Gather and dry the herb over a midsummer bonfire as part of your seasonal celebrations.

Preparations

“A tincture of the flowers in spirit of wine, is commended against melancholy and madness.” – Culpeper

For depression: combine equal parts powders of St. John’s Wort, red rose petals, and lemon balm. Take two “00” size gelatin capsules every two hours for no more then three days in succession, tapering off to three times daily as symptoms subside.

To make a tincture: Gather the flowering tops, chop these up and fill a glass jar with as much herb as possible. Cover herb with 100 proof vodka (fill jar til almost overflowing). Screw on the cap, store in a cool, dark place (such as a kitchen cabinet). Strain after six weeks. Take 20-30 drops, up to three times per day.

To make an oil: Gather flowering tips, set them loosely in an open paper bag for a day, then chop them well and pack them into a jar with olive oil. Store away from sunlight in a warm place for 2-3 weeks. Strain well, squeezing with a cloth to extract as much oil as possible.

To make a salve: melt one cup of infused oil with one ounce of beeswax in a double boiler. Pour into jars, allow to cool and cap. Combines well with Arnica and Poplar Bud oils as an all-purpose ache and pain reliever.

Additional notes:

Do not ingest if you gather this herb from roadsides. Instead, you may dry it, to be used in incense, amulets, witch bottles, etc.

Infused oil for cold sores: apply one drop to affected area to prevent cold sores from developing, or to manage nerve pain and speed recovery.

Anointing oil for Protection (infused oil) – in my experience, when anointing yourself with St. John’s Wort oil, it will bring about protection in unexpected ways (as is often the case with magickal workings), but in exactly the way you need it. St. John’s Wort is an herb of blessing and healing, and when worked with respectfully, will bring profound transformation when it comes to inner strength and boundaries.

You may also purchase St. John’s wort salve and anointing oil from my shop.

St. Johns’ Wort Salve

Sources

Moore, Michael. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1993.

Beyerl, Paul. The Master Book of Herbalism. Blaine: Phoenix Publishing, 1984.

Tierra, Michael. The Way of Herbs. New York: Pocket Books, 1990.

Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1990.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_the_Baptist

https://www.herballegacy.com/Nelson_History.html

https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sajohn06.html

Green Blessings,

S.

Tools of the Witch

The object you see hanging around my neck is a flint striker, which I use along with my magickal knife to start fires for ritual, cooking, dye pots etc. What started out as a somewhat mundane novelty (starting fires with a flint striker is pretty fun) became, over time, a more significantly magickal practice for me. Building the foundation for the fire with paper, kindling, and then firewood – ensuring the structure has good airflow to catch, then creating a small nest of dryer lint at the very center, striking the flint to create sparks – getting the angle and pressure just right to do so, waiting patiently for the lint to catch.. it’s an incredibly meditative process. It has taught me about patience and the importance of good bones. It has taught me about energy exchange and transmutation. It has brought me to experiencing a stronger connection to my ancestors. And there is still more to learn from this humble skill. So now I adorn myself with this flint striker, and feel the true weight of it as a Tool of the Witch. ⚔

Blessed be,

S.

Full Moon :::ABUNDANCE:::

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Gustave Dore (1870)

For this Full Moon, my focus is on :::ABUNDANCE::: 🌙🌙🌙🌙🌙


Imagine you are a night traveler, a figure of the Shadow Realm traversing the Greenwood under a cloak of stars every night, opening your senses as your visibility is diminished, listening acutely for any dangers of beast or man. The night is your home, yet it is a crooked path and the way is often unknown. Then, one night, you begin to notice more clarity in your vision – the stones and foliage around you begin to take shape. Everything takes on a progressively silver hue, and you are starting to see the world around you. Finally, one night you look up and see something that takes your breath away – a giant glowing orb in the sky, radiating light beyond your imagination. Everything is bathed in this glowing light, the path is clear, your step becomes more swift and assured as you can now see the way without doubt. The beauty of the Greenwood around you is remarkable, it is all illuminated now in the generous moonlight. 🌙🌙🌙🌙🌙

This is ABUNDANCE , the light of the full moon reminds us of the generosity of Nature. With ABUNDANCE we are filled with a sense of gratitude, to the point of awe – it is something to celebrate and appreciate. It allows us to see our way more clearly, to walk a bit more confidently, to see the beauty around us, and more of the big picture. And just like the light of the Full Moon ABUNDANCE comes and goes… and with the Dark Moon we are once again turned inward, to rely on more subtle senses and take in the splendour of the stars…✨✨✨


Blessed be,

S.

Nine Basic Components of Ritual

This is the framework I use for formulating all of my rituals:

  1. Purification of self
  2. Purification of space
  3. Creating sacred space
  4. Invocation
  5. Ritual observance (on sabbats and esbats)
  6. Energy raising (during magick)
  7. Earthing the power
  8. Thanking the Goddess and God
  9. Breaking the circle

Source: Cunningham, Scott. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practicioner. Woodbury: Llewellyn Publications, 2019. (First edition, revised)

Blessed be,

S.

Definitions of Magick

What is Magick, anyways?

“Magic is the art and science of causing change to occur in conformity with will.” – Aleister Crowley

“Magick is the art, science, and practice of producing ‘supernatural’ effects, causing change to occur in conformity, and controlling events in Nature with will.” – Gerina Dunwich

“Magic is the art of effecting changes in consciousness at will.” – William Butler

“We do not affect fate by our magical operations, we affect ourselves; we reinforce those aspects of our nature which are in sympathy with the powers we invoke.” – Dion Fortune

“Magic is a comprehensive knowledge of all nature.” – Francis Barrett

“Magic is making something happen that you want to happen.” – Raymond Buckland

“Magic is the act of using your will to cause change, by focusing and directing your psychic energy.” – Jennifer Hunter

“Magic…is the art of obtaining results without resort to the ordinary mechanism of cause and effect.” – Serge Hutin

“The work of magic involves transformation, and the first transformation is the shift of perception.” – Marion Weinstein

“In its true sense magic is a high art and science itself, that should release the powers of the imagination for the benefit of any other part of life.” – Gareth Knight

“Magic is the science of the control of the secret forces of nature.” – S.L. Macgregor-Mathers

“[Magic is] the mastery of occult forces and their use in order to produce visible effects.” – Frank Gaynor

“Magick is the art and metaphysical science of manifesting personal desires through the collection and direction of energy.” – Raven Grimassi

“Magic is concerned with the conversion of universal energies into practical frequencies that can be utilized according to the needs of the occasion.” – Murry Hope

Source:

Buckland, Raymond. Wicca for One. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp., 2004.

Blessed Be,

S.