In magic, daturas have been associated with both Saturn and Venus--Saturn no doubt because of datura's deadly properties and because some of these plants bloom at night--and Venus because of the large, lush, sweet-scented flower shaped much like the entrance to a womb (and because of the plant's common name, loveapple). In my opinion, the connection with Saturn is made only because of datura's dark nature (Saturn is the trashcan for darkness in many correspondence schemes). But Venus is not a cartoonish force that is all hearts and roses; it has dark aspects, and datura is part of that. In his book, Psychedelic Shamanism, Jim DeKorne noted that datura and other tropane-containing plants are often associated with an aggressive feminine force (he references Kali) that has been viciously repressed in the West and that this might well be the reason so many people have negative experiences with these plants. Certainly something to think about.
Datura has been used to hex and to break hexes, to produce sleep and induce dreams, and for protection from evil (perhaps in the fire against fire sense). It has also been used for divination in Native American milieux, to find one's totem animal, for communing with birds, to allow one to see ghosts, and like all the tropane-containing plants, is said to have gone into flying ointments. I have had very profound experiences with daturas, but this is not an easy plant to work with magically. It can make contact through dreams. There is no reason to ingest it. I never have. I believe it actually does not want to be ingested but still desires to be around people and have contact with them. It's just not a warm and fuzzy puppy--more like an ex with a sharp tongue. I think that's the key, though--Datura has been thrown over by number of cultures in favor of other, much less demanding and basically harmless plants. Perhaps it was always this way; I don't know. I only know that the best way I have found to work with this plant is simply to grow it and allow it to approach you in dreams if it wishes. Even then, don't expect Yoda.
Daturas, much like its siblings
belladonna, mandrake, and henbane, contain dangerous
tropane alkaloids--atropine, hyoscyamine, and
scopolamine. The flowers are extraordinarily
beautiful and often have a very powerful,
lily-like or lemony fragrance; people who sleep in the
presence of the blooms can have intense nightmares
caused by psychoactive properties of the flowers'
scent. The honey of these plants can be poisonous
(tropanes apparently have no effect on insects).
Generally, datura is an annual herbaceous plant
(doesn't produce wood), although some varieties can
be perennial in some areas.
How to grow daturas.
This plant likes
it hot; if you've been successful growing peppers
or eggplants, you know how to grow this plant.
Daturas like rich soil and full sun. To help with
seed germination, do a warm water soak. Fill a thermos (one
dedicated to seed germination, not for food!) with hot water (from the tap
is fine). Put the seeds in to soak for 24
hours. Change the water for clean hot water
every 6 hours. I usually then wet a paper towel
with a mixture of water and liquid kelp solution, wring it out,
sprinkle the seed over it, and fold it closed, pressing gently to
ensure good contact between the seeds and the paper towel. I put
it in a cheap baggie (thin plastic), leaving the top open. Put that
on a heating pad set on low or anywhere you have low heat. Lots
of people use the top of a water heater, although a lot of them
are so wel insulation these days that this doesn't work. Of course,
you can always use a propagation mat.:) Check daily for germination,
which you can see by holding up the baggie to the light. Then carefully
remove the germinated seeds, holding by the seed and being careful
not to tear the root (it will not grow if you do). Make a little
hole with a pencil or such in your planting medium, and tuck the
root in there. Firm gently, and the seeds should be put in indirect
light or under shoplights, but they will quickly be ready to set
out. Don't put them out too early, because frost will definitely
damage them. D.
inoxia (Toloache) seeds can take one to eight weeks to
germinate and like warmth, but pretty much nothing will
prevent D. stramonium
(Jimsonweed) from growing. You can give them
liquid kelp solution from day one, or once they
get the second set of leaves (true leaves), you
can give them half-strength fertilizer. Transplant
to full sun and rich soil with no standing
water. They are great for growing in tubs.
They can also be grown in containers indoors as
long as they get plenty of sun, but the foliage does
not smell good and the plant is of course poisonous, so you might
not want to do this. Flowers are fragrant and last one to several days;
pollinated at night by moths, although these
plants are self-fertile (don't need a pollinator
to make seeds). If you snap off the pods, you will
get more flowers, but if you want seeds to make
more daturas, let the pods remain. When the pods
open, the seeds are ripe. I usually leave the pods on
the plant until the pods turn brown, then harvest and empty the
pods for the seeds. Right now I have seeds for two varieties each
Toloache) and Datura
stramonium (Jimsonweed). Top
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