In the House
Focus on Roots
Roots should be harvested in the autumn or early spring when they are the focus of plant energy, which makes them more potent for medicinal and magical purposes. The roots of annuals can be harvested anytime after the plant is finished blooming or producing seeds. Roots of biennials can be harvested in the autumn of their first year or the following spring. The roots of perennials can be harvested in the autumn or spring. Information for harvesting other parts of plants is covered in “August.”
On a day when the soil is moist, not wet, use a shovel, spading fork, or trowel (depending on the size of the plant) to loosen the ground around it. Get the shovel under the roots and gently pry the whole plant from the soil. Trim off stems to within one inch of the root and wipe off any excess soil.
After roots are harvested, wash and scrub them with water, and then cut them into small, one- or two-inch pieces for drying. The cut roots can be kept in the fridge up to forty-eight hours before drying. Small roots that you want to use as amulets can be left whole to dry. Because they are dense, roots take longer to dry than other parts of plants. However, the process can be jump-started by using the oven.
Place a layer of paper towels on a cookie sheet and then spread out the root pieces in a single layer. Set the oven at the lowest temperature for three to four hours. Leave the door ajar to allow air circulation and to keep the roots from baking. Check them every hour and turn them over for uniform drying. Transfer the roots to a screen and place it in a warm room to complete the drying process. Once dry, the roots can be ground into a powder with a food processor.
*Also known as angelic herb, archangel, common angelica, garden angelica, and masterwort
At five to eight feet tall, angelica is best described as statuesque. Its hollow stalks are round and purplish with branching stems. The large, bright green leaflets have coarsely-toothed edges. Tiny honey-scented, white or greenish flowers grow in globe-shaped umbels that bloom mid to late summer of the second or third year. Although angelica is a biennial, it can live for three years. Ribbed on one side, the seeds turn pale brownish yellow when ripe. The yellowish-gray root is long, thick, and fleshy.
In medieval Latin this plant was called herba angelica, “angelic herb,” because it was believed to be powerful enough to protect against the plague, enchantments, and evil spirits. Angelica was used in spells and rituals and it was worn for protection against spirits and witches. This herb was believed to be especially useful against dark magic. Over time, the use of angelica was adapted from Pagan festivals into Christian celebrations of Saint Michael. It was a prized medicinal herb for centuries and a valuable commodity during the Renaissance.
First and foremost angelica is a protector, a guardian angel so to speak. Burn pieces of dried root to protect against hexes, to break hexes, and to banish all forms of negativity. Angelica also provides protection during dream work and divination. Hold pieces of root after ritual or magic work to aid in grounding your energy. It also aids in keeping secrets. Smoke from the burning root is ideal for consecrating ritual and magic tools, and altars.
Angelica is associated with the element fire and the goddess Venus. Its astrological influence comes from the sun.
Figure 41. Angelica is associated with the rune Algiz.