Right now I have a very limited supply of hand-picked and dried belladonna herb, which I grew organically myself, some dried roots pictured below, and one fresh belladonna root 9"/23cm long. The fresh root should be either dried by you or stored in alcohol (I have found this is a good way to add belladonna to incense and rituals without using up the material itself--just use some of the alcohol, which is infused with belladonna). Makes a nice display, too. This is all the belladonna I will have until next fall, most likely.
This deadly poisonous herb is associated with Water, Saturn, and Mars (because of its connection with the war goddess Bellona, not because it is a typical Mars plant). Some say the name, "belladonna" [beautiful lady] came about because Italian women used a tincture of it to dilate their upils and thus appear more attractive, but "Belladonna" also contains the name "Bellona" in it, so the name might just be a way of naming the goddess without naming her. Bellona was a favorite of Roman soldiers; her priests used belladonna in religious ritual. Bellona represented the frenzy of battle and was variously identified as the wife, sister, or daughter of Mars. Her festival was June 3. In West European magick, this crone herb has been used for astral projection and is allegedly an ingredient in flying ointments; even now it is considered a witchcraft essential. It was once used medicinally in minute doses, but reaction to it was too variable for safety. Top
Our disconnection from nature and our refusal to take responsibility for knowing the natural world mean that we often have very distorted reaction to things like deadly plants. Some people seem to discredit all warnings about poisonous herbs, and others act as if a poisonous plant is as dangerous as plutonium. Neither is a helpful response. This herb is dangerous to life, but that does not mean it cannot be used in ritual at all, only that it must be used with caution. Don't allow it to rest against your skin. If including it in a charm bag, make sure the fabric is tightly woven so that plant dust cannot get through. Wear gloves when handling it and do not touch your eyes or mouth without washing them first. If censing with this baneful herb, burn it in a well ventilated area. "Baneful" means that this is a deadly poison. People have died from ingesting it, so please don't do anything stupid with it. If you suspect belladonna poisoning, go to the emergency room. It is also known as banewort, dwale, and deadly nightshade. You must be at least 18 to purchase it. Top
Unfortunately, I did not get enough belladonna to harvest and sell in 2013. I hope for a much bigger harvest in 2014.
© 2004, 2014 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission