Wort-Lore: the Craft of Witches
By Hemlock, Mandrake & Adder’s Tongue
Compiled by Melusine Draco
Hundred eyes (periwinkle – Vinca major) as incense, infusion sprays, sachet. Use: Reduces anger and anxiety and is ideal for use in binding spells. It was a favourite flower with cunning folk for making charms and love-philtres and was one of the plants believed to have power to banish evil spirits. In Macer’s Herbal we read of its potency against ‘wykked spirytis’, while Apuleius, in his Herbarium (1480), gives elaborate directions for its harvesting:
‘This wort is of good advantage for many purposes, that is to say, first against devil sickness and demoniacal possessions and against snakes and wild beasts and against poisons and for various wishes and for envy and for terror and that thou mayst have grace, and if thou hast the wort with thee thou shalt be prosperous and ever acceptable. This wort thou shalt pluck thus, saying, “I pray thee, vinca pervinca, thee that art to be had for thy many useful qualities, that thou come to me glad blossoming with thy mainfulness, that thou outfit me so that I be shielded and ever prosperous and undamaged by poisons and by water”; when thou shalt pluck this wort, thou shalt be clean of every uncleanness, and thou shalt pick it when the moon is nine nights old and eleven nights and thirteen nights and thirty nights and when it is one night old.’
Also known as: big-leaf periwinkle, large periwinkle, greater periwinkle, blue periwinkle and sorcerer’s violet.
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