In the Garden
*Also known as armoise, felon herb, Saint John’s plant, and wild wormwood
With reddish-brown stems, this shrubby plant reaches two to six feet tall. Its deeply lobed leaves are dark green on top and silvery underneath. Small, greenish-yellow to reddish-brown flowers grow in clusters and bloom from July to September. It is similar in appearance to motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) and its cousin wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). In fact, during the Middle Ages, mugwort was known as motherwort. Mugwort’s leaves have a sage-like odor.
Regarded as an herb of great power, mugwort was used for a wide range of medicinal and magical purposes by the Greeks and Romans. Its genus, Artemisia, was named after the Greek goddess Artemis. The Egyptians used this plant to honor Isis. Medieval pilgrims used mugwort for a range of medicinal preventatives and for protection against beasts and demons. Circlets and crowns were made with stalks of leaves and worn for protection against evil. In England, mugwort’s uses ranged from making beer to keeping moths out of clothes.
Mugwort is instrumental in honing divination skills, especially scrying, as well as for purifying and consecrating divination tools. Make a tea with mugwort leaves, let it cool, and then strain it. Use the tea to cleanse scrying balls and other tools. For items such as tarot decks that you do not want to get wet, make a sachet with dried leaves and wrap it in a cloth with your tools when not in use. Alternatively, burn a few leaves and pass your tools through the smoke.
With strong defensive powers, mugwort protects against dark magic and provides excellent protection for the home. Make a wreath with several stalks of leaves and flowers to hang on your door or over your altar, and visualize it repelling all forms of negativity. To enhance the energy of full or dark moon rituals, place fresh leaves and/or flowers on your altar. Use them to call on the energy of the Goddess.
Mugwort is associated with the elements air, earth, and water. Its astrological influence comes from Venus and the fixed stars Algol, Capella, Deneb Algedi, Polaris, and Regulus. This plant is also associated with the goddesses Artemis, Diana, Hecate, and Isis.
Figure 22. Mugwort is associated with the rune Raido.