Vervain - Botanicals

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005


(Verbena spp.)

Vervain is associated with the positive power of magic, witchcraft, and women’s wisdom. Unlike other witchcraft plants whose temperaments are volatile and dangerous, vervain is friendly. No other plant is believed to have as much affection for people as does vervain. Vervain’s magical uses include providing love, luck, health, and protection, changing bad luck into the best luck and transforming enemies into friends. All one has to do is touch vervain—no elaborate brews are required—to begin to receive its gifts. Vervain, however, is not a “goody-two-shoes” plant; it is a powerful and vigilant protector that may be used to smash hexes and reverse malevolent charms.

Vervain is sacred to Isis; it is believed to have sprung from her tears. Isis was once dependent upon human mercy and learned to love people deeply. Vervain shares her essence and so reflects her feelings.

In Northern Europe, vervain was associated with smithcraft and ironworkers. (Many of the spirits presiding over metal-working are female.) Allegedly vervain was incorporated into the ancient formula for hardening steel. Because of these associations with iron, vervain is also believed to magically encourage the male member to remain as hard and firm as that metal. The Druids harvested vervain with an iron sickle.

Some believe that vervain’s name derives from two Celtic words: fer “to take away” and faen “stone” or “weight.” According to Druid tradition, vervain was gathered at night, during the Dark Moon. The Druids of Cornwall and Devon incorporated vervain into divinatory rituals, inhaling its fumes.

European colonists brought vervain seeds to the Western Hemisphere, where naturalized it now grows wild. At its peak, at Midsummer’s Eve, vervain can reach heights of about five feet. It is used in love potions and aphrodisiacs.