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Helleborus niger flower Hellebore Info
Associated with Saturn, Water, and Mars, this classic ritual magick herb is used for banishing and in necromancy. This is one of the baneful herbs and very dangerous, so approach it with respect.  Despite that, it seems to really enjoy keeping people company, and has been cultivated since at least the Middle Ages. It grows well in temperate areas, especially in woodlands. As a Saturn plant, it prefers the kind of dappled shade found in deciduous forests where it can get sunlight in winter. It is in the Buttercup family, one of the most poisonous, but like its siblings, it burns the mouth when eaten, so people and other animals rarely die of it. However, always wear gloves when working with it. Top

Helleborus niger Black Hellebore (Helleborus niger)
This is the oldest garden type of hellebore, a classic magick herb, and a wonderful addition to the witch's garden, especially those dedicated to the Crone. The flower color depends on the environment but is usually white or pink. Cattle were once blessed with this baneful herb to protect them against malign influences and evil spells, and apparently a ritual was involved in digging it up; it is too bad that the knowledge of it has been lost. It is also an ingredient in an incense for consecrating talismans of Saturn. Agrippa recommended it as part of a fumitory for raising spirits of Mars, and it goes into the Cauldren of Cerridwen Brew.  Grows 1 ft/35 cm. How to grow hellebore.  Top

This is the hellebore traditionally used in magick, as opposed to what is normally sold as hellebore, which is Veratrum viride (green or false hellebore) or Veratrum album (white hellebore).  Black hellebore is a perennial woodland plant of Middle and Southern Europe in the buttercup family, which is one of the most poisonous of plant families.  This herb is called "black" hellebore because of the dark color of its roots.  Associated with Saturn, Water, and Mars, this magick herb is used for banishing and in necromancy. Cattle were once blessed with black hellebore to protect them against malign influences and evil spells, and apparently a ritual was involved in digging it up; it is too bad that the knowledge of it has been lost. Black hellebore is also an ingredient in an incense for consecrating talismans of Saturn. Agrippa recommended it as part of a fumitory for raising spirits of Mars, and it goes into the Cauldren of Cerridwen Brew. Top

Toxicity

This is a dangerous (baneful) herb, so approach it with respect. Its root contains aconitic acid, which is used in perfumery, but its principal active chemicals are glycosides (poisons).  As far back as the ancient Greeks, a tincture of black hellebore was used in single drop doses as a drastic purgative in mental illness (it is a CNS depressent) or to slow a rapid heart, but in larger doses it causes death by convulsions and heart failure, so it was not much employed, especially since foxglove and dogbane are less dangerous.  Top

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I no longer sell Hellebore seeds because they are extremely short lived & very difficult to germinate

Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Banishing
Necromancy
Saturn/Water Herb

2004, 2014 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission

Incense for consecrating talismans of Saturn

Combine alum, scammony, asafoetida, sulphur, cypress, black hellebore, and ash leaves.  Burn in an earthen dish and hold the talismans in the smoke.

How to grow hellebores: The seed needs warmth and then cold treatment to sprout. Plant and keep at 72F/22C with constant humidity for at least 6 weeks.  You can use bottom heat from a waterproof heating pad for this (see general growing tips).  Put them in the freezer for 6-8 weeks (0C/25-39F).  Then raise temps to 50F gradually (keep in fridge for a while).  Then take out and they should germinate.  If the cold treatment was not long enough, they will not germinate until the following year.  You can also just plant them outside in pots when you get them and leave them outside through the warm weather and then the cold until after Winter Solstice (see special directions on the Solstice Sowing page), making sure that they have moisture but are not soaked. They will germinate in February. The seedlings should be transplanted to their permanent site when they are about two inches tall. Plant out in dappled shade.  Extremely heavy shade will mean a leggy plant--long stalks and stems.  It likes deep, fertile soil (use plenty of Black Cow) that is well drained (no standing water or clay) and no competition with tree roots.  These plants take two years to bloom, although some will bloom the first fall.  However, they will self-sow prodigiously.  Once they get growing, mulch them before it gets too cold.  Plants can be flattened by very cold weather but will spring back up. The farther south they are, the more shade they like.  Pick off dead leaves to keep disease from getting hold.  When they get established, you can make root divisions in July or just let them self-sow, which they do readily. General growing info.  Top