Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) can reach heights of up to six feet in the garden, and produce more leaves and flowers than a single person could ever use in a year. But if you have friends who are herbalists or magically minded, you might endear yourselves to them by sharing the wealth. Mugwort is drought tolerant, disease- and pest-resistant, and easy to grow, making her an excellent choice for the magical garden, but be aware she can be invasive in some regions.
Here in Oregon, she grows vigorously but behaves herself in the home garden. She is one of my top four magical herbs, and to me she is the most witchy of all the herbs. While she's been used in many ways, both magical and medicinal, for centuries, to me her top three powers are protection, enhancing psychic abilities, and purification.
She is famous (or perhaps infamous) for her ability to grant intense, even prophetic, dreams to the sleeper who tucks her into their pillow at night. Sometimes the dreams she brings are frightening or disturbing, but usually there is a message buried in the nightmare that the dreamer needs to understand.
I find mugwort to be very generous and eager to work with those who approach her respectfully. She is a mischievous, magical plant who straddles the line between domestic and wild, and she's definitely worth getting to know.
Here are some common ways to work with this magical plant:
Make wreaths or bundles of mugwort for the home or car
Take a mugwort bath
Make a tea or infusion of the dried leaves
Burn or smolder dried leaves
Stuff a dream pillow with dried leaves
Be aware wormwood (Artemisia absynthium) is sometimes called mugwort. And while accidentally drinking tea with wormwood in it won’t kill you, it could make you feel ill, as wormwood is a strong purgative. I also don’t recommend burning wormwood and inhaling the smoke, since it is potentially more toxic than mugwort. This is an example of why learning the latin names of plants is so very important. Fortunately the two plants look very different. Wormwood is pale green all over, while mugwort leaves are dark green on top and pale silvery-green underneath. Wormwood tends to have softer, smoother foliage than mugwort as well.
Also be aware some people have unpleasant reactions to plants in the artemisia family. Before ingesting the plant, take some time to handle the fresh leaves. If you suffer any kind of reaction like a rash or skin irritation that indicates sensitivity, it would be unwise to inhale the smoke or consume the plant. You could, however, still enjoy her energies in preparations that don’t require you to inhale or ingest the plant, like dream pillows, or you could use the plant to decorate your altar or to cleanse divination tools.
Even if you don’t experience any negative effects from handling mugwort, explore internal use of the plant with caution. Consume only very small quantities at first to be sure you aren’t allergic.
In other words, remember your intelligence and common sense are essential tools in your magical practice. Always use them.
More detailed information on the magical uses of Mugwort, including instructions for a safe travel talisman and a psychic awakening bath, can be found in the printable Book of Shadows / Grimoire pages available in our shop.
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