Wolf ’s Claw or Club Moss - Botanicals

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

Wolf ’s Claw or Club Moss

(Lycopodium clavatum)

Common club moss has an amazing number of evocative folk names. In English it’s known as devil’s claw, wolf’s claw, snake moss, witch’s dust, witch’s dance, or Earth Sulfur. In German, it’s called Hexenkraut, “witch’s herb.” Long considered a sacred plant according to the Roman Pliny, its harvest first required a sacrifice of bread and mead. Wolf’s claw was then gathered with the left hand, while adorned in white robes standing barefoot beneath a New Moon.

Although the plant has various other magical uses, the dust from its spores made wolf’s claw an important shamanic tool. This yellow spore dust is known as witches’ flour, druids’ flour, elven flour and perhaps most accurately as lightning powder. It’s oily and if tossed onto flames explodes with a burst similar to thunder and lightning. Today it’s perceived as only a special effect; magical illusionists remain enamored with it, but once upon a time it was considered magical and used to great effect by shamans. (The spore powder also has medicinal use.)