Since we talked about the very masculine High John yesterday, today I thought we’d look at its feminine “counterpart,” Angelica. The main plant bearing this name is Angelica archangelica, appropriately enough, and it has strong associations with angels and holiness. It is often associated with the Archangel Michael, and has much of his same protective power.
Culpepper, in his medieval herbal manual, writes of this herb: “To write a description of that which is so well known to be growing in almost every garden, I suppose is altogether needless; yet for its virtue it is of admirable use” (Culpepper 8). This plant has been grown commonly for hundreds of years, for its medicinal, culinary, and magical properties. It’s one of the common flavorings found in liqueurs such as Chartreuse and it has a highly aromatic quality that runs from root to leaf.
Botanical.com describes it thusly:
“The roots of the Common Angelica are long and spindle-shaped, thick and fleshy – large specimens weighing sometimes as much as three pounds – and are beset with many long, descending rootlets. The stems are stout fluted, 4 to 6 feet high and hollow. The foliage is bold and pleasing, the leaves are on long stout, hollow footstalks, often 3 feet in length, reddish purple at the much dilated, clasping bases; the blades, of a bright green colour, are much cut into, being composed of numerous small leaflets, divided into three principal groups, each of which is again subdivided into three lesser groups. The edges of the leaflets are finely toothed or serrated. The flowers, small and numerous, yellowish or greenish in colour, are grouped into large, globular umbels. They blossom in July and are succeeded by pale yellow, oblong fruits, 1/6 to a 1/4 inch in length when ripe, with membraneous edges, flattened on one side and convex on the other, which bears three prominent ribs. Both the odour and taste of the fruits are pleasantly aromatic.”
The root of the plant has potent estrogen-like compounds, which is likely one reason it has a strong connection to women. It’s also supposed to be good for helping to break fevers and expel disease, particularly diseases of the lungs.
Magically, this plant is female, through and through. That’s not to say men can’t use it, of course. I bound up an Angelica root in white linen and placed it beneath our bed when my wife was pregnant to protect her and the developing baby (all turned out quite well, by the way). But Angelica is renowned for its power to protect women and undo harmful magic. Some of the various spells one can do with Angelica include:
- Carrying the root to protect from harm (in general)
- Women can carry the root, along with a picture of St. Michael the Archangel, to protect from unwanted advances (or worse) from men
- Dress Angelica root with Blessing oil (or just olive oil over which prayers have been said, such as Psalm 23) in order to protect a newborn baby (place the anointed root in a white cloth under the baby’s bed).
- Ground Angelica root can be mixed with salt and another protective herb, like rue, rosemary, or sulfur (not an herb, I know, but I think you follow me) and kept in a small white mojo bag to guard against hexes. Alternatively, the mixture can be sprinkled across doorways or mixed into an Uncrossing floor wash to remove jinxes placed on one’s household.
- A strong tisane (or tea) of the root can be made and used to sprinkle a new home or a home where negative spiritual activity has occurred in order to make the home calm and peaceful.
Additionally, Cathreine Yronwode mentions that “Angelica stem candied in sugar is an old fashioned treat said to keep children healthy” and that “When buying Angelica, be aware that its occasional alternate name Masterwort more truly belongs to Imperatoria ostruthium…Also, Hercules Club, a plant in the Aralia family, is called Angelica Tree by some, but is not related to Angelica” (Yronwode 30).
Thanks for reading!