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Aster novae-angliae Michaelmas Daisy
asters or starworts are named for Astraea, the virgin goddess of justice who left the earth and became the constellation Virgo (her scales became Libra) when the world turned too violent and degenerate for the gods to bear. She was often depicted holding a sheaf of wheat or sometimes a bundle of lightning bolts (the latter probably to indicate some subordination of this older aspect of the divine to the upstart Zeus). In the constellation Virgo, this sheaf or bundle is designated by the fixed star Spica. Asters and other
star-shaped flowers are sometimes referred to as Astraea's tears. The depiction of Justice in the tarot deck is thought to be based on Astraea, so consider Michaelmas
daisy in connection with causes of justice. Top
This North American native plant was introduced in England in 1710 and became naturalized there. It gets one of its common names from the feastday of the Archangel Michael (Sept. 29), which is right around the time it flowers. This was one of the four days in the year when rents were paid (quarter days), and so the harvest had to be finished by that day. Thus, this flower can also be seen to signify a time of reckoning, which coincides nicely, I think, with the connection to Astraea as justice. Michaelmas also marked the beginning of hunting season in Ireland, which ties it to the use of Michaelmas daisy as a hunting charm in North America. And of course, since it is associated with the Archangel Michael, it can be helpful for angel magic. Top
This is a nice plant for cottage gardens, working well at the back of shorter pink, white, or yellow flowers (especially goldenrods, which bloom just before they do). The flowers are usually a bluish-purple but rarely can be pink or even white. Michaelmas Daisy is also a nice dye plant. Without mordant, it makes a pale yellow-green; with alum, yellow-green; with chrome, gold; with tin, yellowish gold; and with iron, grayish green. Goldfinches and sparrows like to eat the seeds, and the flowers attract bees and butterflies, especially because it blooms in the fall, when there isn't much forage. It also makes a good cut flower. Deer won't eat the mature plants (too hairy), but they will eat the shoots, as will rabbits.
Michaelmas daisy is also known as starwort, blue chamomile, blue daisy, New England aster, fall-rose,frostweed, and Symphyotrichum novae-angliae.
Uses in Witchcraft & Magic
© 2007, 2018 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction of any part without permission.