“Widdershins go when the Moon doth wane,
And the Werewolf howls by the dread Wolfsbane”
Rede of the Wiccae- Lady Gwen Thompson…
Today the Supermoon is visible in South Africa. The Supermoon is when the moon rides closest to the Earth, as its orbit is elliptical rather than circular and therefore appears larger than normal .
The moon is often associated with female sexuality and fertility, particularly due to the cyclical nature. It is also related to lunacy and that dreaded monster -the werewolf. Werewolf lore is often quite interesting, and is itself associated with animalistic desires, uncontrolled feelings like rage and coming of age or puberty. But it is not the werewolf which I will be focusing on in this blog but rather the delightfully deadly Aconitum napellus, sacred to Hekate and Cerberus.
Wolfsbane or Aconite is part of the Ranunculaceae, or the buttercup family. It is a Saturnine herb, like many poisonous plants and can be used for consecration, protection and cursing.
” Wolfsbane is so toxic it has developed a fearsome reputation. It is said that Celtic hunters dipped their arrowheads in the plant’s juice, and in medieval times it was linked with murder and sorcery. Witches were believed to dip flints in Wolfsbane and hurl them at their victims. These ‘elfbolts’ could administer the poison by simply scratching the skin.” p113 Druid Plant Oracle
Wolfsbane is linked to the Werewolf and lycanthropy, as it was thought that encountering Wolfsbane on a full moon would create a werewolf. Others thought Wolfsbane would kill or cure a werewolf. Wolfsbane with its fearsome reputation was used to poison wolves and to aid in hunting. In folklore it is also thought of to protect against vampires and used in invisibility spells.
Otherwise known as Monkshood, this really beautiful flower was also notoriously said to be a constituent of Witches flying ointment. Wolfsbane poisoning can feel as if you are growing fur or feathers, although the practical application of it is outweighed by its dangerous propensity to kill.
“It was used to represent the dangerously alluring witch, the femme fatale, whose beauty masked her innately poisonous nature” p 184 The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft
This herb is sacred to both Hekate and Cerberus, from whose drool this herb is said to have come from. It has also been linked to Prometheus, having come from his dripping blood. It is one of the plants I ache to grow in my dream poison garden.
As a Cursing herb, Wolfsbane would be a wonderful ingredient to add to a poppet. It can be used for Hedgeriding, and one of my dream experiences which has now become part of a Pathworking for Baba Yaga, required me to dig up aconite and other poisonous herbs to be mixed as part of a shamanic death ointment. As such Aconite can both help us confront our shadow “monster” werewolf that exists inside of us, and heal that part of ourselves through the transformation shamanic “death”. .
So on this particularly large full moon, let’s loosen our hair and run wild with the wolf, let us become that dreaded “monster” so that we can confront it and heal our shadows, let us experience fear so that we may learn and grow from it…
Scott Cunningham Cunningham’s encyclopedia of magical herbs
Judika Illes Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft
Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm The Druid Plant Oracle
For more on Wolfsbane: Wikipedia
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