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Datura Family

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; they are 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 of Datura inoxia (El Toloache) and Datura stramonium (Jimsonweed). Top

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